Millions of Kurdish people have been expressing their respect and love for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party leader Abdullah Öcalan as he approaches his 74th birthday on 4 April.
Having been jailed in strict isolation in Turkey’s Imralı Island for over 22 years, Öcalan has been a prominent figure in modern political thought in the Middle East and around the world.
“After twenty years in prison — he was abducted from Nairobi, Kenya, on February 15, 1999 — Abdullah Öcalan is as present as ever through his ideas, even more so than twenty years ago. He continues to inspire many people, including, but not limited to, countless revolutionaries in Northern Syria or Rojava,” said the International Initiative for Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan – Peace in Kurdistan in a statement they issued on the occasion of Abdullah Öcalan’s 70th birthday.
“When Öcalan was abducted, imprisoned and sentenced to death, around his 50th birthday, he was already a symbol for the Kurdish rebirth and the Kurdish liberation struggle,” the International coalition said, noting that Öcalan has been a “symbol of women and of oppressed people for liberation and self-determination in the Middle East and beyond.”
Medya News shares the translation of a recently published Kurdish poem written to mark Abdullah Öcalan’s 74th birthday:
“His name is Abdullah
Means the servant of God
But he was never a servant to anyone on earth
Always chasing his dreams
Spreading seed to the dead lands with love
The seed for the lands
The water for the seed
He himself became
He has been a picture to be seen at all times
He has been a voice to be heard at all times
He has become the hope
For his lands
For his people
For the world
Your birth, is our birth.”