YJK-E confirms this year's Zilan Festival will be held in Germany

The Association of Kurdish Women in Germany (YJK-E) will organize the 18th edition of the Zilan Festival. This year the venue chosen is Duisburg. The slogan of the event to take place on 15 June will be: “With Jin-Jiyan-Azadî to the women’s revolution”.

This year, the Zilan Women's Festival will take place on 15 June in the city of Duisburg in the Ruhr. The Association of Kurdish Women in Germany (YJK-E) said that the focus of the festival will be the topic of organized self-defense for women.

The women's festival will be held in Germany for the 18th time and this year the slogan will be “With Jin-Jiyan-Azadî to the women's revolution”. The program is once again diverse as usual and, in addition to musical performances by artists such as Xecê, Sîmav Huseyîn, Suna Alan and Firmêsk, also includes a performance by Kurdish bard singers (Dengbêj) and a children's group as well as dance performances by Kurdish and Afghan ensembles.

There will also be interesting panel discussions on topics such as self-defense and self-organization, the effects of digital networks on young people and women, and women's liberation and peace. The organizing committee also plans to decorate a street with motifs from Kurdish culture and an exhibition of female photographers who will present their work on women's struggles.

"This year, like every year, we want to unite our organizing and our struggle with the philosophy of ‘Jin Jiyan Azadî,’" said Ayten Kaplan, spokesperson for the Kurdish Women’s Movement in Europe (TJK-E). Some innovations will be introduced into the festival, said Kaplan, adding: "We will bring in and reflect different cultural and social views so that all women can present their works, art and political messages."

According to YJK-E spokesperson Kezban Doğan, preparations for the event are in the final stages. "Our festival is an important source of inspiration for the development of our struggles and our networking. We invite all women to decorate the festival grounds with their colors and patterns." The YJK-E has yet to announce the exact location of the event.

Zilan Women's Festival

The first Zilan Women's Festival took place in Gelsenkirchen in 2004 with the slogan "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 South Kurdistan on 31 May 2005. In the years that followed, the focus was on central issues of the women's movement, such as the fight against the so-called 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) murdered by the Turkish Secret Service in Paris. Other festivals were dedicated to the fighting women in Kobanê and Shengal. In 2018, after the Turkish invasion of Afrin, the slogan was: “Defending Afrin means defending the women’s revolution.” In 2019, the festival took place with the slogan "Women’s Resistance Liberated". After a two-year suspension due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the 2022 festival in Frankfurt was held with the slogan "Defend yourself! Get organized! Live your freedom!"

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