Dr. Thoreau Redcrow, in an exclusive interview with MedyaNews, illuminated his path towards supporting the Kurdish cause and the Freedom for Öcalan campaign. “I didn’t know who Kurds were, but … I could tell that there were these police and the village guards abusing the guys in the baggy pants, shalwars. So even as a young child, I could see the dichotomy taking place there in Turkey and that Kurds were denied their rights,” he recalled about his childhood in Adana during the late 1980s.
🔴 An exclusive Medya News interview with Kurdish rights advocate Dr. Thoreau Redcrow offers a fresh look at the role of Abdullah Öcalan in achieving a peaceful solution to the Kurdish conflict.#FreedomforOcalan | #Interview | #ThoreauRedcrow
— MedyaNews (@1MedyaNews) December 6, 2023
This early exposure to the plight of the Kurds profoundly impacted Redcrow, fostering a long-term commitment to the Kurdish struggle. Extensive travelling across Kurdish regions and research for a doctoral thesis further deepened his understanding of the Kurdish issue.
Redcrow expressed frustration regarding the Turkish state’s approach towards imprisoned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan, saying, “I regret that the Turkish state is missing a great opportunity to take advantage of someone with Öcalan’s wisdom and weight within the Kurdish community to bring a lasting peaceful solution to the Kurdish question.”
He added, “I fear that if they don’t take him up on his offer, then there will be no other offer in the future for this, and this conflict will continue on for decades and decades,” warning of prolonged conflict if Turkey fails to engage with Öcalan.
Critically examining Turkey’s adherence to international norms, Redcrow stated, “[The] Turkish state needs to withdraw from all of these European institutions because they are flagrantly disobeying them in their treatment, by keeping İmralı [Prison] Island as, basically, a dungeon. And ironically, this is the same island on which the Turkish state killed one of their ex-presidents [Prime Minister Adnan Menderes] in the 1960s. This island has a long history.”
Redcrow highlighted that Turkey’s treatment of Öcalan on İmralı amounts to torture, a violation of international law. “Pretty much all of the civilised democracies of the world have agreed that every human being should have contact with another human being, that putting someone in complete isolation and complete solitary confinement is itself an act of torture. It’s the same as dumping water over someone and making them think that they’re suffocating. It’s the same as hanging someone by their legs or arms or beating them. This kind of isolation is torture, and the European institutions must acknowledge this.”
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rhetoric, which he feeds to the public, contradicts Turkey’s military actions, Redcrow stressed, proposing that Erdoğan suppresses the Kurdish movement and intentionally smears Öcalan’s campaign for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue.
“The Turkish State fears [that] especially people in the West will research and look at [Öcalan’s work] because if they did, they would say: ‘I believe in these things. These are the ideals that I believe in.’ So, the Turkish State doesn’t want that.
“What the Turkish State needs is the idea of Öcalan as a terrorist or someone who’s a fanatic, someone who can’t be reasoned with, somebody who’s unreasonable, that they can’t speak with, because they’re actually doing psychological projection. That is them.
“They are describing themselves when they describe him. What they’re really doing is holding up a mirror and describing themselves. So, if you watch this in almost every one of Erdoğan’s speeches, he is psychologically projecting all of the states that he’s attacking and the actions that he’s attacking.
“They’re all things that he is doing. We recently saw him lecturing the world about not attacking civilians and not bombing hospitals, right as the Turkish state was using armed drones to bomb Rojava [Kurdish-led North and East Syria] and bomb all of the electrical plants and the water facilities and the hospitals and terrorising Rojava for weeks and weeks with armed bombings. Then he will go in front of the world and say, ‘No civilian should be attacked.’ So it’s really a hypocrisy.”
Redcrow went onto draw parallels between Öcalan’s freedom fight and political imprisonment with that of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
“The parallels are very similar if you look at the way that the British state described Nelson Mandela throughout the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. He went through this evolution that he was a terrorist, that he was a killer, he was brutal, he was someone that we can’t speak with, someone we can’t talk with, someone that was evil.
“Then, as apartheid began to fall apart, as South African apartheid began to lose support and they realised now Mandela is the only person who can sign this eventual peace agreement, all of a sudden, he became a world leader and he became a bringer of peace.”
Redcrow was optimistic over the potential success of the Kurdish movement to achieve its aims. “The Kurdish resistance movement is stronger today than they have ever been. They have more manpower, more women power, more resources, more weapons, more support throughout the international community, they control more territory than they ever have,” he noted, reiterating that a peace agreement, conducted with Öcalan’s participation, would significantly benefit Turkey in economic and social terms.
The interview concluded with Redcrow expressing hope for the future of the Kurdish movement, and the critical role of international bodies in ensuring Öcalan’s welfare and the facilitation of dialogue for a peaceful resolution to the Kurdish issue.
“As far as the Öcalan campaign goes, I believe that it’s gaining support throughout the world. Many Western politicians, especially European politicians, have taken up this campaign, many artists, many members of collectives. Every time Öcalan’s books are translated into English, his message spreads further throughout the world,” he said.