"You can't separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom."
~ Malcolm X.
~ Malcolm X.
A million people turned out for Newroz in Amed (Diyarbakır), the Kurdish capital. They listened to Ahmet Türk, Osman Baydemir, and Leyla Zana, who condemned Talabanî's new attempt to disarm the PKK. Five hundred thousand gathered to hear Emine Ayna, Sebahat Tuncel, EMEP chief Levent Tüzel, and ÖDP's Ufuk Uras in Istanbul. Thirty thousand gathered in Şirnex to hear Hasip Kaplan, Ahmet Ertak, Ramazan Uysal, and Halil İrmez. Seventy thousand gathered in Adana to hear Osman Özçelik.
Everywhere mention was made of PKK's şehîds, especially Mazlum Doğan, and Emine Ayna also mentioned Deniz Gezmiş and his companions.
For the most part, Newroz this year was peaceful because AKP is desperate due to the upcoming elections. There was an exception to this in Colemêrg (Hakkari), Şemdinli, and Wan. Youths clashed with police in these cities and one nine-year-old boy was hit with a gas canister that was fired by the police. The boy was taken to the Şemdinli State Hospital and was later transferred to the larger state hospital in Gewer (Yüksekova).
Turkish security forces killed Kurdish children with tear gas canisters during the Amed Serhildan. Turkish police fired tear gas canisters into a hospital in Istanbul last May Day.
Whoever thinks that getting hit with a gas canister isn't so bad needs to check out what is going on in the Palestinian areas with them:
The condition of American citizen Tristan Anderson, wounded by IDF fire during demonstrations Friday against the security fence in Naalin, remains critical. According to reports from Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, Anderson is still unconscious and is connected to a respirator.
A demonstration was staged on Sunday in front of the Rabin army base in Tel Aviv by dozens of left-wing activists against what they claim is the security forces' excessive use of force against weekly Friday protests in Naalin.
The activists claimed that an illegal gas canister developed for dispersing crowds, and which was deemed forbidden for use by the military prosecution in 2001, was used during the protest during which Anderson was injured. They also maintained Anderson was shot at intentionally, and not hit by a stray bullet.
If that's what the condition of an adult is after being hit by a tear gas canister, imagine the impact on a nine-year-old. It would also be nice to know if Turkey gets its canisters from Israel. Here's something on the ones the IDF uses:
The Israeli army began using to use a high velocity tear gas canister in December 2008. The black canister, labeled in Hebrew as “40mm bullet special/long range,” can shoot over 400 meters. The gas canister does not make a noise when fired or emit a smoke tail. A combination of the canister’s high velocity and silence is extremely dangerous and has caused numerous injuries, including a Palestinian male whose leg was broken in January 2009.
But don't expect anyone to get worked up about Kurdish kids getting shot with tear gas canisters.
In the meantime, here are a few Newroz photos from North Kurdistan and lots more at Özgür Gündem.