Kurdistan Alliance Work Group issued a declaration to kickstart the celebrations, saying, “Kurdish people, having created themselves over again with Newroz, are locked on to victory and are closer to achieving freedom than ever before.”
Politicians and activists from the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), Free Women’s Movement (TJA), Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) attended the reading of the declaration, accompanied by chairs of Kurdistan Communist Party (KKP), Kurdistan Democratic Party-Bakur (KDP-Bakur), Azadî Party, Human and Freedom Party (PİA), Revolutionary Democratic Kurds Association (DDKD).
Newroz is celebrated in Kurdistan and throughout the Middle East, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Traditions for the spring equinox celebrations vary, and the diverse peoples who celebrate the holiday imbue it with diverse meanings.
For Kurds, Newroz on March 21 is the day that the fire of resistance is rekindled. According to legend, Kawa the Blacksmith killed tyrant king Dehak on this day. The story has been central in Kurdish rebellions throughout history. In the 20th century, Kurds have turned the day into a day of resistance and revival as a people. As the saying goes, “Kurds have become Newroz, and Newroz has become the people”.
“The awakening of nature has become a cry for freedom for the Kurdish people,” the workgroup said in the declaration. “With this historic consciousness, we salute another Newroz on these beautiful lands under chains that smell of blood and gunpowder.”
“Fascism and colonialism work to imprison Kurds in the dark,” the group said. “We are also going through a historic period of resistance with all its glory.”
The declaration touched on current developments in the region and globally, including Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
“The capitalist system manufactures wars to find a way out of its fundamental crisis, and wars are devastating for peoples. We are calling on peoples to weave the barricades of peace against their states’ policies of war. The solution lies in ending the war at once and Ukraine building a neutral bridge of peace between the West and Russia.”
The Turkish government wages a total war against Kurds in pursuit of Neo-Ottoman pipe dreams, and continues the policy of invasion and annexation of Rojava and Bashur, officially part of Syria and Iraq, respectively, the group said.
“(Turkey) is using chemical weapons, committing a crime against humanity in front of the world. It continues with constant airstrikes against Bashur and Rojava. We condemn these attacks and call on (Turkey) to stop.”
The Kurdish people demanded unity from politicians, the group continued.
“These attacks also draw on the fragmented state of Kurdish politics. The prior demand of our people is for Kurdish forces and political parties to refrain from policies and attitudes that don’t comply with national sensibilities and interests. We are calling on our parties and movements to establish national unity and protect our gains against colonialist, chauvinist aggression, with the motto, ‘Today is the day for national unity’.”
The group also called for the release of Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Öcalan has been incarcerated in the İmralı Island Prison for 23 years and subjected to severe isolation despite his efforts for a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish question.
“This is a crime against humanity,” the group said. “Prisons have turned into houses of death with the implemented isolation policies, and all political prisoners have been left to die.”
Most affected are prisoners with medical conditions, the group said. Meanwhile, parole requests for political prisoners are denied without reason. The Forensic Medicine Institute issues report that sick prisoners can remain behind bars, which has led to the death of at least 28 people in Turkey’s prisons in 2021.
“The Forensic Medicine Institute’s rulings are political and unlawful. We are calling on the government to take steps so Mr. Öcalan and all sick prisoners are released,” the group said.
Another issue on the Kurds’ agenda is language rights, as it is every year.
The group spoke of “genocidal policies against Kurdish language, identity and culture”, saying the assault was exacerbated by government proxies appointed to replace Kurdish mayors elected by landslides.
Kurdish, one of the oldest languages of the Middle East, has been banned for a century.
“Education in the mother tongue is the Kurds’ greatest demand and a red line that we will never give up, under any circumstances,” the group said.
“We demand education in the Kurdish language from elementary schools to universities. We declare once again that we will continue our fight for this cause.”
The group concluded:
“We are calling on all to unite the resistance spirit of women, manifest on March 8, with the spirit of freedom in Newroz and achieve victory. Let us take to the streets and squares and celebrate Newroz.
This historic Newroz of freedom and victory will be celebrated by Kurds, Kurdistanis, and all peoples.
Long live the festival of revival and resistance for Kurdish people.
Newroz pîroz be!”