The 2nd Paris Kurdish Cultural Festival started with a festive atmosphere as Kurdish dancers, theatre players, and musicians took to the streets in Paris’s popular 10th arrondissement.
The event was co-organised by Bobigny, Sarcelles, and other communes in the Paris suburbs. The program included Kurdish dance, theatre, documentaries, paintings of the Woman, Life, Freedom movement, and a final concert of Kurdish music at the end of the week.
However, a last-minute change had to be made to the programme due to the arrest of one of the Kurdish artists by the Turkish government in Diyarbakir (Amed) on 25 April. “We had to find an alternative, but they will not stop us!” said Berfin, one of the organisers.
Participants of the Kurdish cultural parade in Paris were also affected by Turkey’s election fever. French MPs and city councillors said that voting against the current president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would mean promoting cultural diversity in Turkey and be possitive also for the diaspora.
“Many people are mobilised and organised towards the same goal, which is to fight Erdoğan and to beat him in the next elections,” said French MP Hadrien Clouet. Elie Joussellin, vice-mayor of Paris municipality, 10th arrondissement, stressed that defeating Erdoğan in the coming elections would “develop a Turkey open to the world.”
“Erdoğan is not a friend of culture,” Joussellin continued. “The far-right and the fascists have always wanted to defeat culture.”
Paris Senator Rémi Féraud expressed his honour at hosting the festival in the municipality, stating, “Paris 10 is a home of Kurds,” during his speech at the opening ceremony.
The Kurdish participants were welcomed inside the city hall by French political representatives, including senators, city councillors, and members of civil society. The official inauguration of the second Kurdish Cultural Week continued with the slogans “Martyrs will never die” and “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi” (Woman, Life, Freedom) and ended with Kurdish dances.
The festival will continue until 12 May, featuring various events celebrating Kurdish culture and commemorating those who have been lost.