Guerrillas celebrate Newroz, vowing to crown their struggle with victory

For the Kurdish guerrillas, Newroz means the beginning of a new year of struggle. Fighters of the YJA Star and the HPG wish Abdullah Öcalan and all peoples a happy New Year.

On Newroz 1982, PKK prisoner Mazlum Doğan lit three matches in the notorious torture prison in Amed (tr. Diyarbakir), put them on the table in his cell and took his own life. He left behind the message "Surrender is betrayal, resistance leads to victory" and thus set a beacon against the systematic annihilation of the Kurdish freedom movement by the Turkish military junta. For the Kurdish movement, he is therefore considered the "Kawa of the modern era". Kawa the blacksmith from the Newroz legend was the leader of the resistance against the despot Dehaq, who had two young people killed every day to feed their brains to his snakes. The people of his kingdom therefore fled to the mountains. There, Kawa managed to persuade the people to resist Dehaq. The young blacksmith made weapons for himself and his comrades-in-arms. They rebelled together and Kawa slew the tyrant and the snakes with his blacksmith's hammer. He then built a fire on the roof of the palace to announce the end of tyranny and the beginning of a new day.

Newroz, the Kurdish New Year and resistance festival on 21 March, has also been celebrated among the guerrillas in the mountains of Kurdistan. Guerrillas from the YJA Star (Free Women's Troops) and the HPG (People's Defence Forces) spoke to ANF about what Newroz means to them.

HPG guerrilla Rojhilat Qehreman: "I especially wish Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] and all peoples a happy Newroz and remember Mazlum Doğan and all revolutionary martyrs.  I bow with respect to the memory of the Newroz martyrs and repeat my promise of victory to them. 2023 will be the year when the physical freedom of Rêber Apo will be achieved. May all peoples have a joyous Newroz. We will achieve victory with the spirit of Newroz.”

YJA Star guerrilla Tekoşîn Cûdî: "We are going through a very hard time. It is a time when great resistance is taking place and a high price is being paid. With the spirit of resistance of Mazlum Doğan and others, the struggle is relentless. The resistance of the guerrillas shows that the fighting spirit of Mazlum Doğan and Kemal Pîr cannot be destroyed. We have the aspiration to take our struggle to the highest level this year. It is finally time to offer Rêber Apo and our people a free life. It is on this basis that we fight as YJA Star against the enemy. We are ready to fulfil all the tasks that this time requires of us. It is Rêber Apo who made us aware of the significance and importance of Newroz. As women, we welcome Rêber Apo's resistance. For fifty years, a relentless struggle has been taking place against an enemy who wants to destroy the Kurdish people. This struggle is led by Rêber Apo. Our goal is to crown the struggle he has initiated with victory."

YJA Star guerrilla Rûken Kobanê: "2023 will be a year of the greatest resistance and struggle for us. I hope that Newroz will bring freedom to all the peoples of the Middle East and give hope to our people affected by the earthquake. We share the pain of the earthquake victims. We wish a happy Newroz to the mothers of all the martyrs. The mothers of our fallen comrades are our mothers too. Let everyone know that we will take revenge on the enemy."