“If Rêber Apo, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdish liberation movement, was a gardener, I would expect his garden to be colourful and wild, spilling out beyond its borders, a glorious mixture of vegetables, trees, flowers and vines. Drawing on his writings on political transformation, I imagine him to be a permaculturalist, creating gardens based on the wisdom of nature.”
– from “Reber Apo is a permaculturist” (Make Rojava Green Again blog, July 2019)
4th April marks the birthday of “Rêber Apo” or Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdish Freedom Movement. (“Rêber” is a respectful term for teacher in Kurmanji, and “Apo” is an affectionate name for Abdullah Öcalan, meaning “uncle”).
The founder and leader of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) has been imprisoned on the Turkish State prison-island of Imrali for more than 22 years. In 1999, his abduction was the result of an internationally planned NATO-conspiracy and as he remains captive in an unprecedented situation, even his most basic human rights as a prisoner are denied. Öcalan has no visiting rights and is allowed almost no communication with the outside world – just one five-minute conversation with his brother in the past 12 months, after an enormous wave of hunger strikes in the prisons.
Yet, despite all isolation measures, Abdullah Öcalan’s ideas continue to break the boundaries of his physical conditions. The revolution in Rojava Revolution in North and East Syria is led by women, and is based on the Ocalan’s paradigm of democracy, ecology and women’s liberation. His sophisticated and developed criticism of state-civilisation, power and capitalist modernity today inspires not only the people of Kurdistan and the Middle-East, but people all over the world. His philosophy of freedom, and the Kurdish Liberation Movement’s struggle against all forms of oppression, is the quest for the freedom of all.
Celebrate the struggle for a new life
On 4th April, the Kurdistan Solidarity Network Ekoloji working group, with the Kurdish Assembly in London, would like to invite all those who are struggling for freedom to participate in planting a tree in their local area in honour of Rêber Apo’s birthday.
We call for a celebration of hope and environmental inspiration with the planting of new life!
We urge groups to arrange a space that could support the on-going growth of a tree, and invite small groups to come together for this activity. Finding a local green space could be a wonderful way for your group to connect with the local area and community. Plus, tending to and looking out for a tree is something everyone should experience in their lives!
We recommend seeing what is available from local garden centres and to go for trees in containers/pots that can be shifted directly into the ground without disturbing the roots too much.
We can help groups potentially source a sapling, or young tree plus compost and materials for the job. The Kurdish Assembly has also generously said there may be money available to buy any materials or items required.
Get in touch with us at email@example.com and we will do all we can to support you before or after the event.
Education nourishes the soil for our movements
Key to the political vision and strategy of the Kurdish Freedom Movement is an understanding that overcoming the system is not simply about changing the regime but creating a mentality for bringing the revolution to society. Collective education is one way in which we do this, and coming together for discussions in which both ideas and the reality of our conditions can be examined is a way to strengthen our ability to think freely and resist the negative psychological effects of capitalist modernity.
As part of the activities to mark Abdullah Öcalan’s birthday, Women Weaving Future are organising a series of webinars that will explore, from a women’s perspective, Abdullah Öcalan, his philosophy of freedom, and the Kurdish Liberation Movement’s struggle against all forms of oppression in the quest for the freedom of all. The first will be on 4th April, 7pm UK time and will be streamed live.
We also recommend sharing and discussing an article that explores the themes of capitalist modernity, ecology and the need for connecting our struggles. This piece looks at the conditions of the capitalist mode of agricultural production faced by Kurdish hazelnut pickers in north-west Turkey and workers in the so-called UK, further emphasizing the need for international solidarity.