In an effort to break the more than two and a half years of incommunicado detention of Abdullah Öcalan in Turkey’s İmralı Island Prison, 10 December has been declared Öcalan Books Day as part of the wider international initiative ‘Freedom for Öcalan – A Political Solution to the Kurdish Question’.
The organisers of the event encourage people to engage with Öcalan’s writings, saying: “Start reading a book by Öcalan to find methods to solve our common problems and create a future of freedom”. The website, Öcalanbooks.com, provides access to Öcalan’s books in at least 16 languages and encourages a global dialogue about his political philosophy.
The Freedom for Öcalan campaigners reported a widespread response to their appeal, noting that despite Öcalan’s total isolation, his ideas continue to influence various social forces worldwide.
Öcalan Books Day 2023 – you can’t imprison ideas!
On December 10th 2023, World Human Rights Day, our call for a Day of Books to break the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan found a wide echo around the world. pic.twitter.com/TRbjyLMxfw
— Freedom for Öcalan Worlwide Campaign (@Vigil4Ocalan) December 9, 2023
Organisations in Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and Germany have actively participated in the Öcalan Book Days throughout the month, organising stalls where collective readings and discussions of his philosophy take place.
Peace in Kurdistan, a UK-based organisation that campaigns for the rights of the Kurdish people, also supported the Öcalan Book Day. They stressed the importance of Öcalan’s ideas, which address issues ranging from new forms of democratic and social organisation to ecological crises and cultural differences.
In a statement, the organisation said: “Öcalan’s ideas have been circulating for many years in various publications in many different languages. While Öcalan is the outstanding political leader of the Kurdish people, his ideas are relevant to everyone”.
The organisation encouraged everyone to read and study Öcalan’s ideas, saying “Öcalan Books Day is a celebration of a great individual and a celebration of our common humanity”.