Medya Haber TV spoke to ex-General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) Christine Blower who is now Co-Convenor of the Freedom for Öcalan Campaign.
Blower has been a strong supporter of the Kurds for many years and was instrumental in achieving one of the first international resolutions regarding the Kurdish question in a western trade union and organised and participated in solidarity delegations to Turkey to meet and forge links with the teachers union Eğitim Sen.
Speaking on the Freedom for Öcalan Campaign in the UK of which she is a co founder she said: “The state of Mr Öcalan’s incarceration is not just immoral and unacceptable it’s also a breach of international law. To have been held incommunicado without visits from his family, from his lawyers for so long is clearly a breach of international law, it’s inhumane and simply has to change.“
“Of course this is both an international question and it is also a question for the Kurds, but it’s clear to me as an observer and someone who has been engaged in the Kurdish question that the Freedom for Öcalan is central to the question of a resolution to the Kurdish question,” she added.
She called on all peace activists to “redouble” their efforts to make sure not just that the peace process gets back on track but that Öcalan is central to it. “He is the great thinker about the Kurdish question, he is a philosopher, he is a politician and he is held by certainly the Kurds whom I know, to be the leader of the possibility of there being a resolution. So he is absolutely critical,” she said.
Blower shared her views of the ideas of Abdullah Öcalan and specifically his ideas of Democratic Confederalism. “It is remarkable that Democratic Confederalism has been developed by Öcalan in his present conditions,” she said.
She went on:“I think it’s quite extraordinary, I mean, people who don’t know as much even as I do about Abdullah Öcalan and of course I know very little compared with many people, the idea that he has been able to develop this notion of Democratic Confederalism while he has been in prison is utterly remarkable and it seems to me having read about it and having thought about it that this is absolutely a new way forward and is something which should be given deep and serious consideration by anyone who thinks about the importance of peace not just for the Kurds but in the whole region.
The co-founder of the Freedom for Öcalan Campaign finally expressed how she measures the success or otherwise of the campaign. “Many will be downcast by the fact that even though this is a campaign that has been going on for two decades that it hasn’t achieved it’s resolution which would be of course to have peace for Öcalan but the fact is that the Turkish state has not managed to silence Abdullah Öcalan and has not managed to silence the international initiative for his freedom,” she said.
“So we must keep continuing to raise the issue because I believe that Abdullah Öcalan is central to the question of a resolution of the Kurdish Question and therefore I will continue to work with the international initiative and the campaigns in Britain.”