Remembering with anger and hope Şehîd Nagihan Akarsel
“Fighting Together” Feminist Organizing for Self-Determination and Democratic Autonomy and the Jineolojî Committee Germany wrote a text to pay tribute to Nagihan Akarsel.
This text has been written by “Fighting Together” Feminist Organizing for Self-Determination and Democratic Autonomy and the Jineolojî Committee Germany to pay tribute to Nagihan Akarsel.
"I have used learning to express anger for growth." Audre Lorde has written about the importance of anger in the face of racist attacks against her as a lesbian, black, woman.
It is important to give expression to anger, to grow in the process, and to take action. Grief also needs expression and we must not dig it in. We are angry and saddened by the murder of Nagihan Akarsel. She was a fighter in the construction of free life and the collectively developed scientific basis for it with the Jineolojî. For us she was like a flower, she was a Kurdish woman and a freedom fighter.
With her person, a pioneer of the organization of women and the intellectual basis of the movement for radical freedom thinking and research from a women's perspective was targeted. Nagihan Akarsel was a pioneer of Jineolojî science and the women's revolution. In times of upheaval, the comprehensive global crisis that we all feel and that sometimes makes us feel crushed and hopeless, those people, especially those women, who work with clarity and determination to build the way to a liberated form of society, are a threat to the existing system.
The woman who puts life and caring social as well as ecological relationships at the center, who liberates all genders from patriarchy, who does without the state, without militarism, and without divisions and hierarchies between people in their diversities or between people and all other forms of life. Nagihan Akarsel has done research and established research centers for these social changes, she has done educational work. She helped establish the Jineolojî Journal and served on its editorial board. She has spent many years in Turkish prisons for her critical research and reporting as a journalist and women's fighter. Most recently, she established a women's library with an archive and research center in Silêmanî, where she was murdered in the morning on her doorstep, and continued to build the Jineolojî.
She was on her way to the women's library on foot when she was deliberately shot. Nagihan Akarsel was - together with many and with the Kurdish Freedom Movement - in search of another science for a free, just life and has developed and spread it concretely with the Jineolojî in the last more than 10 years. The profound global crisis – of militarism, imperial wars, climate, hunger and poverty, of loneliness, of the destruction of nature and the social basis of life, also of hatred of women and other oppressed genders, feminicides and increasing fascism – is, with the inevitable upheavals, also a chance for free, democratic and gender liberating alternatives. This requires to develop the power for it very strongly with knowledge and organizing, because the dictatorial, imperialist side is prepared. Science is also in crisis. The entanglements of science with colonialism, male domination, capitalist growth dogma, subjugation of nature, military and state are extensive and deep.
The problem is already in the foundations for finding truth, in epistemologies and methods, in the divisions, claims of control and universality, in the model of thinking that makes the world, nature, society an object. On this basis, no good solutions can be found for a dignified, just life and the preservation of life, yet most research contributes to the perpetuation of the existing disaster. Therefore, Nagihan Akarsel was convinced science on new foundations is needed.
There is a need for a paradigm shift and for research that, together with a democratic society, reveals again and recreates the knowledge that strengthens and supports selfdetermination as social coexistence in a community of diversity and in ethical-political self self-responsibility. A science that seeks knowledge in relationships, in complex connections and on an ethical basis, rather than in divisions and objectifications - not with distance, control, distant from life, emptied of life and destructive. Nagihan Akarsel has lived connections on many levels and has been a pioneer in laying the foundations for a science of relationships for free, political-moral, democratic society.
The project of building a science from the experiences of the Kurdish Freedom Movement and against the background of the history of Mesopotamia, the cradle of civilization, this project Jineolojî, which became central in the life of Nagihan Akarsel, has also reached and inspired us in Europe. For some years now, the scientific approach of Jineolojî, its methods, concepts, theories and analyses, has become an important point of reference or even the basis of their own way of working for many leftists, democrats, internationalists and feminists in Europe and other parts of the world, also for the Feminist Organizing “Fighting Together”.
At a large international conference in 2014 and at many events since then, Jineolojî has been made known and discussed in Europe. Since 2017, numerous multi-day educational camps with a total of many hundreds of participants have taken place in various countries and regions of Europe, including five in Germany so far, with more to come. Two conferences, "Gender Studies meets Jineolojî" have been held with about 100 participants each. The next one will follow in 2023. Jineolojî is integrated into many other educational programs, including at German universities.
The Emden/Leer University of Applied Sciences has maintained a university partnership with the Jineolojî department of the Rojava University in the self-governing region of Northern and Eastern Syria for more than four years. The University of Bremen has made Jineolojî part of a transnational summer university, and other universities have had guest lecturers from the Jineolojî. Some of those who today in Europe refer to, work with and carry forward the Jineolojî have also become acquainted with it in direct contact with Nagihan Akarsel, among other occasions, at the Jineolojî Academy in Northern and Eastern Syria, at a meeting with the international peace delegation to Başur/Southern Kurdistan in June 2021 or in connection with the building-up of the women's library in Silêmanî.
The murder of Nagihan Akarsel continues the series of murders of pioneers of women's liberation from the Kurdish movement and other movements worldwide. The Community of Women of Kurdistan (KJK) stated, "This shows that we are facing a global counterattack of capitalist misogyny that seeks to prevent our century from becoming an era of women's liberation." (10/4/2022) Against these femicides of women's revolution activists, as against all femicides and practices of misogyny and anti-feminist efforts to maintain dominant male power, we must put our anger, solidarity and strong organizing for women's revolution.
On the occasion of the femicide of Jina Mahsa Amini in Iran, the Kurdish Women's Office for Peace Cenî writes: "Today, when [the shout of] 'Jin Jiyan Azadî' makes the streets tremble and women all over the world gather in the streets in solidarity, it is another common step of the revolution. By transforming the pain and anger from mere emotions into a revolutionary force that drives us forward, we ensure that these uprisings live on and on." (9/29/2022)
With the deadly attack on women's rights activist Nagihan Akarsel in Silêmanî, all those who have been on the streets worldwide for weeks with the slogan 'Jin-Jiyan-Azadî' are also under attack. This slogan comes from the Kurdish Women's Movement and expresses women's freedom, thinking that Nagihan Akarsel has helped to shape and put into living practice. The uproar that has not subsided since the femicide of Jina Mahsa Amini is now intensified by the protests against the femicide of Nagihan Akarsel. In Southern Kurdistan, where Nagihan Akarsel was murdered, the Turkish military and the Turkish secret service, in the interests of NATO, are waging an imperialist war of extermination against Kurds and their hopes for liberation, the PKK guerrillas.
In the mountains, deadly chemical weapons, forbidden by international law, are used en masse against guerrilla positions. Forests are destroyed and people are forced to leave their villages. Targeted drone killings are carried out against leaders of the Kurdish movement. Bombings are directed against places of self-organization such as the Ezidis in Şengal and the Mexmur refugee camp. In the city of Silêmanî, the murder of Nagihan Akarsel is the fifth killing of Kurdish activists in just one year. Most recently, a historian who worked with the Kurdish grassroots movement Tevgera Azadî was also shot on his doorstep at the end of August. The Turkish intelligence service MIT is suspected of being behind all of these murders. The fact that the MIT can monitor, investigate and murder with impunity in the territory of the Kurdish Regional Government in northern Iraq, that at least 60 Turkish military bases exist there and that bombings, drone assassinations and poison gas attacks can take place continuously, is made possible by the cooperation of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which is dominated by the KDP and de facto controlled by the Barzani family, but also by the USA, without whose approval nothing can happen in northern Iraq.
The KDP sides with the anti- Kurdish, anti-democratic, anti-women and imperialist policies of the Turkish state and strengthens its war by supporting military measures such as military intelligence, road building, but also ambushes. Murders like the one in Silêmanî are possible because the MIT can act freely everywhere. Even the second KRG ruling party, the PUK, which governs Silêmanî, apparently no longer opposes this. After the femicide of Nagihan Akarsel, the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) declared that, in addition to the PUK, the Iraqi central government, NATO, the EU and the Council of Europe are also called upon to stop the extrajudicial executions by Turkey, with which a partnership is being conducted.
A "feminist foreign policy" as claimed by the Green Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, among others, becomes more than a farce in the face of such a partnership with this state, which has withdrawn from the Istanbul Convention on Violence against Women, which motivates murderers of women in its own country with impunity, and which is most likely responsible for the secret service execution of Nagihan Akarsel. Let us never again silence the uprising with the cry of "Jin-Jiyan-Azadî" and come to rest. Let us make Jineolojî and women's liberation the basis of our research, thinking, practice, future society and the world of democratic confederalism. Nagihan Akarsel lives on in us. Şehîd namirin!