The road has become that of successors
Who will give up this fight?
Adorned by their courage, we flow into tomorrow
We are the Phoenix, we are born from our ashes
I will never go back
I am the woman, I woke up
I became the storm over my children’s burnt bodies
I found my way, and I will never go back
(Meena Keshwar Kamal)
Thousands of women have fallen victims of the brutality of capitalism, the invention of men’s minds. But they never stepped back, they could not be discouraged from their path. If we had stepped back, from the time of Olympe de Gouges and Madame Roland’s execution by the guillotine, all the heroic women who had bravely confronted death would not have made their mark on history. Women continue to be slaughtered by the brutal system of states because they continue to resist. Women have taken over the tradition of struggle, their dignity, and most importantly their courageous determination from one another for thousands of years. Just as they inherited traditions and cultures that kept sociality alive. Thousands of noble women, just like Hevrin Xelef more recently, never gave up their search for freedom in the last five centuries. (Hevrin Xelef was a Kurdish-Syrian politician and civil engineer, who was brutally killed by the Turkish military operation in North-East Syria on 12 October 2019). In the memory of hundreds of thousands of ‘witches’ who were burned, women have resisted against thousands of masked attacks by the system. They have become our courage to take on new fights. They were in their hundreds, thousands, maybe millions. Some had names, some didn’t. They were fearless in the Kurdish uprisings and Armenian genocides. They were mothers, sisters, loved ones, loving ones. In the face of wave after wave of fascist oppression, they burnt like flames in the darkness, setting other hearts on fire with the same flame. They became hope, courage, foresight, determination, they became socialism, peace and ecology. Through their smiling eyes, life began to bravely swim in the sea of fascism’s fear. For them living was to carry the excitement of freedom in their minds, to leave a legacy of struggle that thousands of women take over, to inspire women in the struggle for freedom, and if needed to lay their life for their struggles. They continue to flow as a mysterious force at the forefront of the struggle and to draw people into this flow of energy.
Rosa couldn’t be forgotten
They thought Rosa Luxemburg would be forgotten as her body was thrown into the canal in Berlin. Thousands took her name, and hundreds of thousands of women still feed off her emotions and brave mind. Rosa and her comrade Karl Liebknecht were very conscious targets in order to prevent the wave of revolution in Russia. Rosa bravely challenged death, and even after 100 years, the women succeeding her resist with the same courage. Countless female guerrillas marched fearlessly in the face of death, hundreds of woman freedom fighters and politicians became Rosa. Her heart that sprinted in defiance of her limping leg continued to beat in that of millions. Meena, who was massacred by the oppressive forces of the dominant male mind, has no grave, but her path is clear. Her comrades have kept her alive by fighting on the path she laid down through RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan) for the past 40 years.
Berta Cacares was a Honduran native, she was their voice, conscience and heart. The army had her name on the death list. She received 33 death threats for her campaign against the building of a dam. ”…I want to live, there are many more things I want to do in this world, but I didn’t once think to stop fighting for an honourable life, for our natural environment, because ours is a legitimate war…” She was not afraid of speaking the truth. She was noble and brave. She had the power to instil the love of struggle in those around her, without yielding, without a single break, without a millilitre of gap, from where others have left off. Who gives up after the struggle, the blood, this goddess of ecology shed for the Gualcarque River that is so sacred to the indigenous people?
The women who threw a spanner at the works
“Fearless and outspoken journalist” Indian Gauri Lankesh criticized the Indian version of nationalism, a disease of capitalism, and she was massacred. The government didn’t find the killers. Thousands of people gathered at the scene where she was shot and their slogans “You can kill people, but never their ideas”, and “I am Lankesh” prove that women did not take a step back from her path. In India, where the dominant male mentality wants to create a merciless life, the resistance of women against patriarchy, the stem cell of capitalism, continues.
Brazilian Marielle Franco was an advocate of life and a councillor in the city of Rio de Janeiro. She was killed a few days after she condemned police violence. Franco, who had shown the importance of local governments in democratic politics and the leadership of women in it, caused thousands to take to the streets, protesting her death. These women are just a few examples. So many women freedom fighters were massacred because they threw a spanner in the works of the capitalist system. However, they became the guiding path of their successors and the determination of their struggle.
Women as the face of blossoming hope
The three revolutionary Kurdish women assassinated in Paris, on January 9 2013, were representatives of the Kurdistan liberation movement, which flourished as a new wave of hope, 30 years after the suppression of the Kurdish rebellions. Sakine Cansiz was the female face of this hope, the female spirit, the female heart. She was born 20 years after the 1938 uprising in the sacred land of Zarife and Besê, the city of Dersim, where thousands of heroic women fought until their last moments.
When talking about the date of her birth, she notes “I wonder whether being born in the coldest time of the year is a matter of luck? I think one is lucky to be born in the new year, in the middle of winter, when the snow covers the land.” Just as she saw her role in the blooming Kurdish freedom movement as matter of luck in defiance of the dark winters Kurdistan was subjected to.
Her parents were living witnesses of the rebellion. That is why her execution is another massacre extending from 1938. ”Sakine Cansiz is the resilient life force of the women who played a leading role in the Kurdish rebellions. She is the one who took over the fight left by Rindêxan, who jumped off the Mala Badê bridge in Kurdistan after crying “Let me look at the land of my country for the last time.” She is the one who created the legacy of bravery in the prison of Diyarbakır, so mother Gülnaz was able to demonstrate such tenacity and resilience as she looked at the lifeless bodies of her beheaded son and brother. She is the one who spits on the face of her executioner with the bravery of Keça Neqadayî and Leyla Qasim seeded in her heart. With her courage she intensifies women’s fire of freedom, the fire that could not be extinguished for thousands of years.”
They belonged to a better time
While Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan and Leyla Şaylemez were the targets, the objective of their assassinators were to prevent the page of peace from being opened in the lives of the people who have endured the destruction of war. It was to sabotage the steps taken towards a peaceful solution in the hundred years of Kurdish-Turkish war.
Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan’s statement that “Sakine represented peace in Europe” illustrates the tradition they were representatives of. Fidan Doğan and Leyla Şaylemez, along with Sakine Cansiz, who was one of the two founding women of the Kurdish Liberation Movement, were representatives of the struggle and mothers of the goddess tradition and of Kurdistan. They represented the tradition of women’s resistance in national liberation struggles.
As Sakine Cansiz put it, their life “was always a struggle”. At the same time, they were representatives of socialism and heartfelt believers of a dignified and peaceful life. They embarked on the noble path of European women who resisted German fascism. They were massacred in Jeanne D’arc’s home-country. The fingerprint that was on the trigger that ended their life is the same as the print on the guillotine that took the lives of Olympe de Gouges and Madame Roland. They, as Olympe said herself, did not belong to this age but to the later ages. These three brave women, who fought for people to live in a culture of peace, for their honourable unity, were massacred to topple the table of peace.
They are the path and light to our future
Like all their female comrades and sisters murdered before them in Europe, Latin America, India, Africa, the Middle East; in squares, mountain tops, and dungeons, these three brave women passed on a flag of resistance and struggle, being carried by millions of women.
Sakine Cansiz continues to live on as our history of women’s liberation. She is the path and light to our past, present and future. The creation of democratic relations and alliances, which Fidan Dogan spent endless efforts to realise, has reached its peak with the Rojava revolution, all over the world. The women and peoples of the world have not left Rojava to surrender. Leyla Şaylemez continues to live in the joint actions and unlimited energy of Kurdish youth who meet the youth of the world and continues to smile at us all.
We carry their courage into tomorrow
Neither the killers nor the unsolved murders, nor the treacherous bullets, the treacherous ambushes, the cold guillotines and barrels, nor the blazing fires could set back the implacable resistance of women in any century, continent and country. Our sovereign, lively, brave, productive and poetic bodies, souls and hearts could not be taken hostage by the dominant male mindset. We are daughters of goddesses! We have the seal of love, war and justice that holds death and life! We are the phoenix reborn from our ashes!
We will continue to be the pulse that beats in the resistance, and we will continue to be the path and light on the way even if we have to burn in our struggle. Yesterday we were shot at in the bodies of Sara-Fidan-Leyla, Sêve-Fatma-Pakize, and today in the bodies of Hevrîn-Dayê Aqîdê-Amara, but we have not died. We have adorned ourselves in their bold and creative energies and we flow in to tomorrow. Sakine Cansız, Fidan Doğan and Leyla Şaylemez, who were massacred in the city where feminism was born, through a dirty alliance and conspiracy, will continue live through the new victories of the women’s liberation movement.
I bow with respect before their memories.