Besê Erzincan: Women must strengthen their struggle

Besê Erzincan of the KJK points out the importance of Abdullah Öcalan's ideas for the international women's liberation struggle, calling on women to fight even harder.

In an interview broadcast on Jin TV, Besê Erzincan, a member of the coordination of the Kurdistan Women's Community (Komalên Jinên Kurdistan, KJK) spoke about the importance of Abdullah Öcalan's ideology and its practical implementation in the PKK for the development of an international women's struggle.

Above all, it is important to understand Abdullah Öcalan's philosophy of freedom even better and to spread it further. This, too, is primarily a task for women, said Besê Erzincan in the programme "Xwebûn" on Jin TV. According to her, it is important to recognise and analyse the machinations carried out on the backs of women and to show a way out of this spiral.

Humanity developed into a society through women, and through this society evolution progressed to modern times. This historical reality was distorted by men. By force, women's achievements and the values they created were stolen from them. The system created by women was transformed by men into a hierarchical class system in which women no longer played a role. Women have been degraded to powerless objects and made invisible, said Besê Erzincan.

Breaking through the walls

Erzincan pointed out that high walls had arisen between women and men. The reason for this lies in backwardness, in the mentality of ruling, in despotism, power, state, hierarchy. The higher the walls, the more pronounced the separation between women and men, inequality and exploitation. Where this mentality spreads, freedom is suppressed. And where there is no freedom, there can be no affection and certainly no love.

“Abdullah Öcalan has always been strongly committed to abolishing this inequality and exploitation. With the struggle he developed, he wanted to tear down the walls that had grown higher and higher for thousands of years. His life is similar to the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods in order to enlighten people. Through his struggle, Abdullah Öcalan gave back to women what had been stolen from them by men. And like Prometheus, who was bound to a rock by the gods as punishment, Abdullah Öcalan was abducted in an international conspiracy and has been imprisoned in total isolation in a high-security prison for 23 years. There are indeed similarities. Abdullah Öcalan has given a lot back, from patriarchy to women, from the state to society, from the powerful to those who have the real right.

The patriarchal mentality takes away women's breathing space

From day one, Abdullah Öcalan had a very courageous approach to women, Erzincan continued. “The Middle East has a very conservative, dogmatic and reactionary attitude towards women. This mentality has deprived women in the Middle East of breathing space. After the introduction of Islam, women were oppressed in the name of Islam. However, the situation is somewhat different for Kurdish women. Being a woman from a people without a recognised identity means being doubly exploited and ignored. Kurdish women are thus in the situation of being a colony of the colonised. Abdullah Öcalan dared to fight for women's liberation under these difficult social conditions.”

Freedom is not possible without women's liberation

“It is important to wage national liberation struggles. The Kurdish people need national liberation, but the question of how this liberation should be achieved is extremely important, said Besê Erzincan: "Of course, it cannot be a real struggle for freedom if women continue to live as slaves in a liberated country. Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan] has repeatedly raised the question of what a free Kurdistan should be like. On this topic, he wrote the analysis 'How to Live'. His main aim was to create an alternative to this existing system. His approach was very radical compared to other revolutionary movements. He said, 'Our revolution is the revolution of women'."

The revolution of the PKK is a revolution of women

Erzincan continued, “The PKK based its struggle from day one on the understanding of women's liberation and tried to educate and prepare the society it wanted to build based on the paradigm of a gender-free social model. With this aim, the PKK trained experienced, militant cadres who believed wholeheartedly in women's revolution and worked for it. Without organising, no revolution can be realized. This is why Abdullah Öcalan founded a unique women's organization.”    

Breaking out of millennia of exploitation and patriarchal mentality

It was a bit difficult for us in the beginning, said Besê Erzincan, recalling how women took up the authentic struggle for women's liberation. "For thousands of years we had grown up with the exploitation and mentality of patriarchy. For the first time in history, someone wanted to achieve something for women. This was problematic for us at first. Later, when we realised our own reality and threw off the chains of slavery, we started this struggle. Through our practice, we were able to gain new experiences and make improvements. For Rêber Apo, women were very valuable and precious. In the 1990s we were very young and inexperienced, yet he valued us very much. He made great efforts for us to develop. Each of us was given a big role and responsibility. He always treated women with great love and respect. His attitude towards women was always one of sublimation. He always warned against male-dominant approaches and clarified."

Women carry a millennia-old passion for freedom

"Women are the ones who should understand me best and apply my theories," Abdullah Öcalan repeatedly stressed. He insisted on this because he knew that women carry a millennia-old passion for freedom, said Erzincan. "This passion makes women more militant.Women have thousands of years of revenge to take against this system. For this reason alone, women must work harder than anyone else to spread Rêber Apo's philosophy of freedom. As women, we must educate ourselves in the light of Rêber Apo's paradigm and spread this paradigm to all humanity. This is our task, more than anything else. We are still inadequate in this regard. Yes, we love Rêber Apo very much, but we do not understand him sufficiently and do not implement his ideas."

In conclusion, Besê Erzincan stressed that although the philosophy of Abdullah Öcalan originated in Kurdistan, its aim is the liberation of all humanity.