Internationalist march: Another dimension of self-defense

The Long March will take place from 9 to 15 February. The slogan this year is "Freedom for Öcalan - shoulder to shoulder against fascism".

Internationalists will march from Luxembourg to Strasbourg in February. The slogan of the multi-day demonstration organized by the "International Freedom for Öcalan Initiative" is "Freedom for Öcalan - shoulder to shoulder against fascism".

ANF German service spoke to the organizers about the event, their goals and content and talked about the current process.

You are organising a long march from Luxembourg to Strasbourg from 9 to 15 February. What is the aim?

Abdullah Ocalan is in prison since 15th of February 1999 after international conspiracy against him. His ideas have spread today to different continents and many solidarity committees have been established to support him and the Kurdish people’s rights. His paradigm Democratic Confederalism is a solution model which has already made a revolution in different level in the region. Today where diverse people like in Rojava have managed to live in peace between themselves, until the Turkish state with their proxy partner ISIS attacked them. As long as he is kept in prison, peace will not be achieved in the region. Internationalists are marching to make awareness in the international community to condemn the conspiracy, demand his release, tell the community about the Turkish state’s atrocity in the region and show the Kurdish society and the world that they are defending Ocalan’s ideas. 

How many years have these long marches to Strasbourg been going on?

The first internationalists long march started in 2017, but before that the Kurdish youth have marched for many years.

How many participants do you expect?

We expect 150 participants from different national background. Most of them from Europe, but some of them comes from Australia, Canada, Latin America and USA

The meeting point on 9 January is Saarbrücken, where does the march start from?

The march starts in Luxembourg with a press conference in front of European Court of Justice in Luxembourg the 10th of February.

How many kilometres do you want to walk in one day and how do you organise your daily routine?

We expect 10-15 km daily walk. Each day the marchers will wake up early, have breakfast, get ready to march with their banners and flags. The march will be through the cities planned and meet up the officials of the municipalities to speak about the marchers demands. Lunch will be organized on the lunch break. Dinner in the saloons where they are going to sleep.

Where will you stay overnight? Is there a special program for the evenings? And what should the participants bring along?

Halls in each municipalities have been organized. Evenings will be seminars, panels about Ocalans ideas, cultural events, exchanges between different groups. They marchers shall bring warm clothes and their sleeping bags.

How can you register?

By sending mail to: [email protected] 

In the past years there have been long marches of the Kurdish youth movement and Kurdish politicians in exile parallel to the march of the internationalists on other routes. Will there be simultaneous actions this year as well?

Like in the past, the youth, the politicians and the internationalists will be marching from different routes. All three have their own program and actions. But the 14th of February all three will meet in Strasbourg and march together towards Council of Europe. And there will be cultural event in the evening.

In your call for the long march, the connection is made between the beginning of the international conspiracy of October 9, 1998, which led to the abduction of Abdullah Ocalan to Turkey, and the Turkish invasion of Rojava, which started 21 years later on October 9, 2019. In the appeal you quote Abdullah Öcalan with the words: "From the rose, which protects its enchanting beauty with thorns, we all can still learn something". Is the long march of the internationalists* also about self-defence?

The long march is also a declaration of accepting and supporting the philosophy of Abdullah Ocalan. Self-defense is a part of a peoples natural reflection to protect their universal values. These values are democracy in a diverse society, self-governing, freedom for women, freedom of direct participation in political platforms and ecological society. These internationalists finds Ocalan’s ideas about how these values can be achieved in a society also as their own solution model. To defend these solutions and ideas is form a self-defense because they feel this is the only way we can achieve justice in a society. The form of self-defense can be achieved in different levels which we are ready to discuss how that can be done.