Abdullah Öcalan, the founder and leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (the PKK) made a speech on the occasion of 8 March International Women’s Day in 1997.
Being imprisoned in a high security prison complex on İmralı Island, Turkey, since February 1999, Öcalan paid attention to the relation between woman, life and freedom (Jin, Jîyan, Azadî).
“Jin, Jîyan, Azadî – Woman, Life, Freedom stresses the women’s liberationist character of the movement and is among the most important outputs of Kurdish political thought. The concepts of ‘jin, jîyan’ are quite meaningful. Women must be powerful, free, and they must have agency,” Öcalan wrote in his notes.
“‘Jin û jîyan’ already mean the same thing. Life in Kurdistan, the concept of ‘jin û jîyan’, is similar. Jin means life, but in your hands now it appears dead. We now want woman to find life,” he continues in his notes in August 1998.
In his speech in 1997, he started by celebrating the 8 March International Women’s Day. Then he appeared to link women, life and freedom based on his observations on his mother.
“I deduced from my mother that the life had ended, the family had died, the country had never existed, the people had never existed. Then I concluded that I want to be the child of that free mother, and know the value of her. To make her the owner of that free country, the owner of life…” he says.
The feminist slogan “Jin, jîyan, azadî” that emerged from the Kurdish movement has shaped several decades of political thought among Kurds, and has been spreading globally after the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Jîna Mahsa Amini in Iranian morality police custody sparked nationwide protests.