KJK: May is the month of martyrs

In the Kurdish freedom movement, May is a month of remembrance for the martyrs. The KJK has published a statement on the origin and meaning of this month.

May is celebrated in the Kurdish freedom movement as the month of martyrs. The Kurdistan Women's Community (KJK) issued a statement pointing out the origin and meaning of this month and the remembering the fallen. The statement said that although the liberation movement “writes with heroism every month, every day and every hour,” May was declared the Month of the Martyrs and Heroes following the death of PKK cadre Haki Karer.

The statement said: “The martyrs fought and lived using their lives, their dreams, their hopes, their will and their desires. They owed that to their people. All of them set out on this path to live a free and honorable life. With their struggles and their lives, they have become this path themselves. These heroic comrades gave us the strength and will for our struggle, which has been growing for fifty years. As Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] said, our struggle is, in a sense, about doing justice to the fallen.”

In the statement, the KJK addressed the martyrs of May of the past fifty years and named, among others, Deniz Gezmiş, Yusuf Aslan and Hüseyin Inan, who were executed in Ankara on 6 May 1972 as important representatives of the Turkish student and youth movement until the very end, committed to the brotherhood of the Kurdish and Turkish people.

Haki Karer

Haki Karer came from Ordu in Turkey and was the first martyr cadre of Abdullah Öcalan's group, which was formed before the PKK was founded. He was murdered on 18 May 1977 in Antep (Dîlok) as a result of a plot by the rival group “Stêrka Sor” (Red Star). Abdullah Öcalan described Haki Karer as a soul mate (“my secret soul”) and decided after his assassination that only the founding of a party could do justice to his memory. At the founding party conference of the PKK on 27 November 1978 in Fîs in the province of Amed, May was proclaimed the Month of the Fallen and Heroes and 18 May the Day of the Fallen.

Ferhat Kurtay, Eşref Anyık, Mahmut Zengin and Necmi Öner

Ferhat Kurtay, Eşref Anyık, Mahmut Zengin and Necmi Öner died by self-immolation in Amed prison on 17 May 1982, sending an anti-fascist message against the Turkish military junta. The KJK said about the four revolutionaries that they resisted attempts to extinguish the fire with great determination and shouted: “Let the fire burn!”

Massacre in Hewlêr

On 16 May 1997, 83 members of the PKK were killed by the KDP in a massacre in Hewlêr (Erbil). Heavily armed militiamen attacked a hospital for war wounded, a women's office, newspaper offices, a cultural institution and other institutions associated with the PKK. In the hospital alone, the KDP murdered 62 war-wounded and ill guerrillas. The song Hewlêr by Hozan Serhat is dedicated to the victims of the massacre.

The KJK in its statement remembered the dead and said that the KDP continues to betray today.

Kasim Engin, Hozan Mizgîn and Leyla Qasim

The KJK also remembered Kasim Engin, Hozan Mizgîn and Leyla Qasim. Qasim was executed by the Iraqi Baath regime in Baghdad on 12 May 1974 at the age of 22. Her last words in court were: “You can kill me, but you must know that after my death, thousands of Kurds will awaken from their deep sleep. I am happy to die proudly for an independent Kurdistan!”

Shirin Alamhouli

On 9 May 2010, Kurdish revolutionary Shirin Alamhouli was executed along with Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heidarian and Farhad Vakili in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison. Alamhouli was an activist in the Kurdish women's movement, Kamangar and his two colleagues worked as teachers. They were convicted of “endangering national security” and “enmity against God” in connection with the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK). “Our comrade Shirin Elomholi was captured by the enemy while she was sowing the seeds of freedom in the hearts of women against the reactionary Iranian regime,” said the KJK.