Zîlan Festival will be celebrated today in Duisburg

A varied program awaits participants at the Zîlan Festival of the Kurdish women's movement today in Duisburg's RheinPark. In addition to music and dance, there will be an open microphone for young women and opportunities to get involved.

The 18th Zîlan Women's Festival will take place today in Duisburg's RheinPark under the motto "With Jin, Jiyan, Azadî to the women's revolution". The festival is the largest annual event of the Kurdish women's movement in Europe and is organized by the Kurdish Women’s Union in Germany (YJK-E) in cooperation with the Women's Cultural Council Kevana Zêrîn and women's organizations from all parts of Kurdistan.

The festival will kick off at 12pm, and the stage program starts at 2 p.m. with music and dance performances by Xecê, Sîmav Huseyîn, Suna Alan, Firmêsk, Zarok Ma, an Afghan children's group, Koma Zarokên Rojê and bard singers (Dengbêj).

The organizers want to bring women from the four parts of Kurdistan together and strengthen the global women's movement. In order to make women's work visible, an "art street" will be built on the site. Women will present their work at various stands and invite people to join in. The range of topics is wide, with offerings ranging from literature and photography to Kurdish music and a sewing workshop.

Open microphone for young women

The program also includes discussion events in two side tents and one main tent. In one of the tents, young women are specifically invited to join in the discussion at an open microphone. Another event will focus on the topic of "women and migration". In the third tent, the Kurdish women's movement will present the philosophy behind the slogan "Jin, Jiyan, Azadî".

Children's and stage program

There will be a separate program for children throughout the festival, organized by Şerko Kaniwar and the MA Müzik team.

Zîlan Women's Festival: Kurdish tradition since 2004

The first Zîlan Women's Festival took place in Gelsenkirchen in 2004 under the motto "Women cross borders". The following year, the women's movement dedicated the festival to the internationalists Uta Schneiderbanger (Nûdem) and Ekin Ceren Doğruak (Amara), who died in a car accident in southern Kurdistan on 31 May 2005. In the following years, the focus was on central themes of the women's movement, such as the fight against the prevailing concept of honor ("We are no one's honor, our honor is our freedom!") and against femicide ("Women are life, don't kill life!").

In 2013, thousands of women declared their determination to continue the fight of the revolutionaries Sakine Cansız (Sara), Leyla Şaylemez (Ronahî) and Fidan Doğan (Rojbîn), who were murdered by the Turkish secret service in Paris. Further festivals were dedicated to the fighting women in Kobanê and Shengal. After the Turkish invasion of Afrin, the motto in 2018 was: "Defending Afrin means defending the women's revolution". In 2019, the festival took place under the motto "Women's resistance liberated". After a two-year Corona virus break, the 2022 festival in Frankfurt was under the motto "Defend yourself! Organize yourself! Live your freedom!".

Last year, the Kurdish women's movement dedicated its festival under the motto "From Kurdistan to the world: Jin Jiyan Azadî!" to the Kurdish woman Evîn Goyî (Emine Kara), who was murdered in Paris on 23 December 2022.