No alternative to the guerrilla life

YRK fighter Şaho Dersim comes from Eastern Kurdistan and has been with the guerrilla for five years. Living in the mountains means for Şaho to become one with nature. Meanwhile he can't imagine anything else but the guerrilla life.

Şaho Dersim comes from in Sewllawa (Sarvabad), a village between Meriwan and Sine (Sanandaj) in Eastern Kurdistan. In 2004, the "Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan" (Partiya Jiyana Azad a Kurdistanê - PJAK) was founded and guerrilla actions started to take place in the region. There was sympathy for the guerrilla among the population and every action became a topic of conversation the next day. Thus Şaho’s interest was also aroused. His family was not particularly patriotic, they adapted to the politics of the Iranian regime. As Şaho himself says, he was taught that one must serve the state. For this purpose he was set to become a teacher or doctor.

Şaho’s life changed when he met Dersim Tolhildan (Raûf Şêyxi), who later died in the mountains of Rojhilat. He studied the philosophy of Abdullah Öcalan and gained a completely new perspective on the guerrillas. And he realized that something was missing. The conversations with Dersim Tolhildan opened new horizons in his thinking. He questioned himself, the system and the society in which he lived. He wanted to live differently than before and decided to take to the mountains and join the guerrillas. In 2015 he joined the East Kurdistan Defense Units, YRK (Yekîneyên Parastina Rojhilatê Kurdistan).

Now he loves the people of his country, its mountains, stones, rivers and the whole nature more than ever before. He says that his love for nature has brought him closer to his mother: "When I was still at home, I could not really understand my mother's way of dealing with nature. Housework for me was women's work. My mother had a small garden. When she was not busy with something else in her daily life, she spent her time in the garden. One day I saw her talking to herself. I became curious and approached her. And then I noticed that she was talking to nature, just as she talked to us children. I didn't understand it then, but since I've been here I can understand it. I've only just begun to question my life and to think self-critically about the relationship with my mother."

For Şaho, life in the mountains means becoming one with nature. Meanwhile he can't imagine anything else but guerrilla life: "The guerrilla is a new way of understanding life. To understand life and the enemy and to fight, the guerrilla is the best place. For my life I can say: Either guerrilla or nothing."