Sunday, October 25, 2009

PKK returns to Turkey

Kurds have been fighting against the government of Turkey for a seperate state and their rights since long. Recently in a historic development, the people from Kurds who have been involved in guerilla fight with the Turkish army returned from Iraq after several years. You can read about it here
The interesting aspect is that, this gesture by the Kurds is aimed at not adopting a seperatist stance but they are now extending their hand towards the democratic government of Turkey. This surrender may lead to immense advantages for the Kurds for generations to come. Atleast we should pray for that!
But why am I writing about this all of a sudden?

In my recent trip through the IVLP program, one of our colleagues (now a friend) was a Kurdish social leader who is working for the rights of Kurds in rural Turkey. We received a mail from her and realized that it was a matter of extreme joy for her since she never anticipated that this development towards conciliation would happen in her lifetime! The challenge for her was to the extent that she could not give a Kurdish name to her son and expect him not to get discriminated in educational institutions. When she would excitedly speak about politics in her country, it would be evident that some day she might be able to enter into the corridors of power and take her efforts towards the rights of Kurds to the next level. Not seen a lot of women speak so passionately about local politcs backed by understanding of history.

I was so happy to share this joy with her for the simple reason that now the development was no more a political event in some distant corner of the world. There was a person who was happier because of that development and hence that news becomes even more valuable to me.

I always feel that for us who are part of groups whose rights are well defended, it gets very difficult to relate to situation of people who are marginalized and are reeling under the battle for political space or personal freedom. Be it Maoists, Ultras from North eastern part of the country, erstwhile Punjab militants, Tamils in Ceylon, Kashmiris in PoK etc. Its just so important to have an understanding of the legitimacy of these demands and may be even try to see is some support can be mobilized at any point in time.

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