Ateş Alpar – Adana
This year, millions of people gathered in squares, dancing around bonfires and celebrating Newroz throughout Turkey. People celebrating Newroz in Adana spoke to Medya News about the importance and significance of Newroz for the Kurdish people.
Newroz events last year were cancelled in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, but this year many cities staged massive Newroz celebrations, especially the cities mostly populated with Kurdish citizens, who accord special value in their cultural and political history to Newroz.
The Newroz fire has been re-ignited every ’21 March’ since the uprising of Kawa against the cruel Assyrian tyrant Dehaq, 2,633 years ago. Peoples of the Middle East attribute different meanings to Newroz, but for the majority of Kurdish people, it has been celebrated as a day of resurrection, rebellion and resistance.
Despite prohibitions, Kurds have celebrated Newroz publicly on a significant scale since the early 1990’s and they have lit ‘Newroz fires’ every year in Kurdish cities. Adana, the largest city of Çukurova, is one of the key cities where Kurds have migrated since the 1990’s. Every year, thousands of people participate in the Newroz celebrations in Adana with great enthusiasm.
Participants in this year’s Adana Newroz celebrations spoke to Medya News.
‘Newroz represents resistance, an uprising and even above all, a celebration’
Hamdiye Aktaş stated: ”For us Kurds, Newroz represents resistance, an uprising and even above all, a celebration in which we join together against the oppressors”. Aktaş observed that the massive participation in the Newroz events sends the message that the participants are opposed to fascism. “Let them understand that even when fascism is at its most intense stage, as long as there are Kurds and women, we are together and we will win through resistance. Newroz is a chance for peace, brotherhood and being and acting together”, she said.
Kemal Özen, a Kurdish citizen from Adana stated that participating Newroz events is a “tradition” for him. ”Today we are in the field, as usual. And everyone should understand, you cannot silence us”, he said. “As long as I live, as long as I breathe, we will resist with our lives. Newroz fires shine a path for people. Long live Newroz! (‘Newroz piroz be’)”.
‘Those in power in Turkey cannot subjugate us’
Newroz means “peace and fellowship”, Halime Tekin added. “We are here to struggle against the ‘war policies’ targeting Kurds in Turkey. We stand by all the oppressed peoples. And everyone should know very well that this cause will not end as long as there are Kurds. We Kurds, Armenians and Turks will stand side by side: we will eliminate fascism”, she said.
For Şerife Yadigar, Newroz means “resistance” for Kurds. “For us, it is the day when we present the power of rebellion and Kawa’s uprising against the oppressors. They think they will defeat us when they jail and kill us. They have been in a futile struggle in this country for a hundred years. Not only in Turkey, we exist all over the world. We exist: nobody can deny this”, Yadigar said.
Salin Sorar expressed deep support for the hunger strikers in Turkey’s prisons who are campaigning against the prison isolation conditions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan. ”Newroz greetings to the hunger striking prisoners. Revolutionary prisoners have been on hunger strike for months against fascism”, Sorar said. “Those in power in Turkey cannot subjugate us. The Kurds – we – are Kawa. The oppressors know very well how we light the fire. Long live Newroz!”