"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."
~ The Declaration of Independence.
~ The Declaration of Independence.
First let me ask if you've seen it? The latest video from Hakkari? Here it is:
Okay. That was a Special Operations police beating a fourteen-year-old Kurdish boy last week.
Do you remember last year, during Newroz, what the police did to another fourteen-year-old from Hakkari? Here's a refresher:
Both were violent actions of Turkish police, which has enjoyed impunity for such actions--and worse--in North Kurdistan for decades.
Now, here's Ahmet Altan channeling what most of us have been saying for decades:
It's Easy to Say "PKK Is a Terrorist Organization"
Have you watched it?
In a wide, rural area fifty or sixty kids were "demonstrating", so they say they were throwing stones at Special Operation police with heavy weapons.
What will happen if the police never go there?
The kids will shout for a while, then disperse.
These are kids, aged thirteen or fourteen, the place where they "demonstrate" is a huge rural area.
Oh, no! Kurdish kids cannot demonstrate; they cannot shout in rural areas.
The police, with weapons in hand, are attacking the kids with pressurized water.
One of the police is capturing a skinny fourteen-year-old boy and knocking him on the ground. . .
And is starting to hit the boy's head with the butt of his weapon.
He is hitting to kill.
There is no reason to hit the boy, however.
Since the police cannot control his own anger, he is hitting the boy violently with the butt of his weapon.
Then another police is congratulating the police who beat the boy.
This is not the violence of one or two police.
In the Southeast the entire state is like this.
How can a state rule there while having such hatred and abhorrence toward a people?
Besides, why should it rule there?
Why should Turkey resist ruling a people that it hates so much?
If you see them and their small children as "enemies" that much, to knock them on the ground and crack their skulls with the butt of your weapon, then you cannot stay there.
Whoever watched those scenes remembered the Israeli troop who smashed and broke a Palestinian's arm with a rock.
They remembered the English who coldly raked demonstrators with machine guns in India.
This state does not see the Kurds as its own.
For that reason, it behaves like an "occupying force" there.
It is killing and throwing them into wells, burning the villages, and filling jails with [Kurdish] children.
In the "calm" times when we are closest to peace, it is knocking them down on the ground and trying to smash their heads with the butt of a gun.
We saw these scenes because there were cameras there. They are behaving like this in front of the cameras.
You can imagine what they are doing in the mountain villages, towns, streets in the middle of nowhere, where they don't have cameras.
If they act like this to you, they hit your children's heads with the butts of their weapons, what would you do?
Who is going to protect those people?
Do you understand why this war continues for twenty-five years?
Do you understand why those Kurdish children go to the mountains knowing consciously that they will die?
They do go.
What can they do?
If you do not give them the opportunity to protect their lives, their honor, and their children, what are they going to do? Who are they going to trust? Where are they going to shelter?
They go to the mountains.
The newspapers write, "PKK is a terrorist organization" and politicians say so.
Many people, including me, say "PKK should finish the war".
It is easy to say "PKK is a terrorist organization".
Then what is JİTEM that shoots people in the back of the head?
Then what is Special Operations [police] that smash children's heads with the butt of a weapon?
Isn't what they're doing "terrorism"?
If you terrorize a people, without discriminating children or anyone, what is that people going to do?
How will these people defend themselves?
You tell me . . .
Tell me how this people will protect their children.
If you label a people as an enemy, you burn their villages, you insult their women, you imprison their men, you hit the children's head with the butt of a gun, that people will go to the mountains.
In fact, they did go . . .
Then you will fight for years and be the cause of the death of more people.
After watching those scenes on TV, that horrible violence, the satisfaction those police derived from that violence, I thought that the state cannot rule there and also I thought that it does not have a right to rule there either.
You are going there, saying "I am your state"; is this the way to be their state?
Is making armed soldiers walk in the provinces that are 90% Kurdish, stressing "Turkishness" and giving the message that "We will smash you with weapons," the way to be their state?
What does this state want?
By torturing an entire people, you cannot win a war. Throughout history, no one won.
It is possible to win wars against armies, but it is impossible to win against people.
Do you want peace?
There cannot be any "peace" by hitting children's heads with the butt of a weapon.
Savages can win neither war nor peace.
I saw how they hit that boy's head with the butt of their weapon . . .
What difference is it if that land belongs to you or not?
That land might be yours but that people is not.
The people, that you hit their child with the butt of your gun, neither will be yours nor will be with you.
That land will belong to the one who can provide them an environment where their children can run without being shot, without being beaten, without being hit with the butt of a gun, and where they can laugh and can play.
Then you will not be afraid of saying that land's name, which is known for centuries; you will say Kurdistan with great comfort. You will sit with those children and sing a song, and read a poem from Ahmet Arif.
The breaking of an arm, the smashing of a skull, the "voiding" of votes, the mass arrest of DTP politicians and political workers . . . these are the actions that send new recruits to the mountains in streams.
And let me remind you that the state bears the greater responsibility because it has failed miserably to live up to its responsibilities as a state. Here is the principle:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
Furthermore, from UN Resolution 3103 of 1973, the UN:
Solemnly proclaims the following basic principles of the legal status of the combatants struggling against colonial and alien domination and racist régimes without prejudice to their elaboration in future within the framework of the development of the international law applying to the protection of the human rights in armed conflicts:
1. The struggle of peoples under colonial and alien domination and racist régimes for the implementation of their right to self-determination and independence is legitimate and in full accordance with the principles of international law.
2. Any attempt to suppress the struggle against colonial and alien domination and racist régimes is incompatible with the Charter of the United Nations, the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples21 and constitutes a threat to international peace and security.
3. The armed conflicts involving the struggle of peoples against colonial and alien domination and racist régimes are to be regarded as international armed conflicts in the sense of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and the legal status envisaged to apply to the combatants in the 1949 Geneva Conventions and other international instruments is to apply to the persons engaged in armed struggle against colonial and alien domination and racist régimes.
4. The combatants struggling against colonial and alien domination and racist régimes captured as prisoners are to be accorded the status of prisoners of war and their treatment should be in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, of 12 August 1949.
5. The use of mercenaries by colonial and racist régimes against national liberation movements struggling for their freedom and independence from the yoke of colonialism and alien domination is considered to be a criminal act and the mercenaries should accordingly be punished as criminals.
6. The violation of the legal status of the combatants struggling against colonial and alien domination and racist régimes in the course of armed conflicts entails full responsibility in accordance with the norms of international law.
So when Ahmet Altan says, "I thought that the state cannot rule there and also I thought that it does not have a right to rule there either," he is right. And when HPG fights a defensive war from the mountains, it is not only right, it is obligated.