Havva Kıran, a 62 year-old Kurdish activist – known as ‘Mother Havva’ – has been detained five times and has had 106 investigations launched against her in Turkey. Jin News reported her story.
Kıran is known for her appeals for “peace” during protests on the streets and her insistence on the continuance of the peace struggle, despite all the state pressure, investigations and detentions she has been subjected to. The Turkish state has never stopped hounding her, but she has never given up in her struggle.
Mothers came together with the demand of “peace” in Turkey in 1996 and established the ‘Mothers of Peace Initiative’. Havva Kıran joined the initiative and has been in solidarity with the Peace Mothers since 2009. She has been a spokesperson for the Peace Mothers Council for six years in Diyarbakır (Amed).
‘I never accept pressure and opposed violence’
Mardin (Merdin) is one of the cities that has faced intense state repression. Havva was also born in the midst of male oppression and conflict. She resisted her father’s patriarchal attitudes from an early age.
Havva was born in a family of six children. She spent her childhood in Derik. She worked in vineyards and gardens at an early age, because her father wanted it that way. “My father was a very tough person”, she said, adding: “My mother was subjected to violence”. Obviously, her anger at this grew within her.
“I never accept pressure and opposed violence. Whenever they needed something at home, no one could ask my father. They would always tell me and I would pass on messages to him”, she said.
“I have never accepted male pressure. A man comes with violence”, she noted.
‘I have been subjected to violence for years and have not submitted’
Havva gave birth to five children and has been struggling in poverty for years. She does not accept violence of any kind and she supports Kurdish women’s consciousness and transfers this knowledge and assertiveness to her children. She also participates in party political activities whenever she gets an opportunity.
“I have been subjected to violence for years and have not submitted. After a long time, I managed to recover economically. This time, my husband started gambling and he bet our all earnings and it started all over again. We were bankrupted and my husband ran away. I don’t hear anything from him”, she said.
“I raised my children alone. I started working in several jobs. I had to move to Denizli. One of my children got married there. At that time, his father contacted him and he asked me to forgive him. I forgave him in order for my children to not be upset. But he turned around and started gambling again just six months later. I was working and going to party political meetings. I could no longer accept him like that”.
‘Through the struggle, I could see my freedom’
Havva faced state repression as a child and she participated in the Kurdish movement and struggle from an early age. She also visited political prisoners when her children were young, also secretly participating in linked actions calling for justice.
“There were hunger strikes in the 1990’s and I participated in an event where I made a statement in Dağkapı Square. My husband did not know. I was there in a photograph published in the newspaper. His friend told him: ‘Your wife is in the newspapers’. He came home and we argued. He warned me, saying: ‘I won’t accept this: it’s me or your work”. I said: ”I will never give up my struggle”, she said.
After living in the city of Denizli, Havva became active in politics supporting the Kurdish parties. “I was conducting women’s studies. Because I clashed with male mentality the most. Everyone tried to dissuade me. I did not listen to them. Because through the struggle, I could see my freedom. I recognised myself, felt my presence. I never said: ‘I have worked hard enough’. I always thought I could do more. I’ve been detained, dozens of investigations have been opened against me, but none of them matter. My struggle is for peace, equality and freedom and that makes my life meaningful”, she said.