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bese hozatThe Kurdish Liberation Movement made up of a group of Kurdish and Turkish youths,

 The Kurdish Liberation Movement made up of a group of Kurdish and Turkish youths, known as pro-Apo (Öcalan) and -national liberation groups till 1978, became a party following the first congress held in the house of the Zoğurlu family, which supported the organization since its formation, in the Fis village of Diyarbakır's Lice district on 26-27 November. The PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party, Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan) has become a public movement addressing millions during the 35 years that have passed since the first congress which had been attended by 22 delegates.

             How does the PKK define itself?

The PKK is no doubt a strong insurrection movement against cruelty and the exploitation of people and society, and for a people who were deprived of all their rights, denied any kind of fair defense, their language banned and their land occupied and exploited. The PKK is a contemporary insurrection movement with a program, ideology, philosophy and struggle strategy, not an ordinary one for a people greatly exploitated and enslaved. The PKK has the power to change the balances in the region and the world, as well as a strategic and tactical leadership, an army of thousands of guerrillas and an organized grassroots of millions of people.

In line with all these facts, it remains inadequate to define the PKK as an insurrection movement because of the fact that the party has presented the democratic nation paradigm, improved the democratic confederal system of peoples, built an alternative project of democratic peoples' system against the five thousand years old statist government system and is leading the building of this project now. The democratic, free and equal form of life and the democratic ecological system the PKK has built is the only system that will liberate the peoples. The Kurdish people are today giving a struggle to build this system on the basis of their own will. In the current state of affairs, the PKK has gone beyond a movement and become a social living system.

PKK has made a great mindset revolution for the Kurdish people, clearing their minds of slavery and fear which it replaced with the sense of freedom. This is the greatest revolution the PKK has achieved, for the liberation of a people relies on a mindset revolution and the attainment of the sense of freedom.

The party has on the other hand placed women at the center of the social liberation, and women's struggle at the center of the national struggle. This has introduced a new context and depth to the sense of freedom, because of the fact that a people can never be free without free women. Thousands of women assured by this reality in theory and in practice have taken to the mountains and assembled an army, bravely fought against the exploitative system and destroyed the mindset which defends that war is a man thing. The liberation struggle the Kurdish women are giving on mountains is not against the Turkish army alone, it is also against the male-dominant mindset and the cruel and exploitative system it has created.

This war has led to a great social change and transformation, it destroyed the ordinary perspective against women, changed the gender based morals and culture, and enabled the Kurdish women to become subjects in all areas of life, to take an active part in the social life and politics, and to lead civil commotions and public resistance. Women became the symbol of resistance and the liberation struggle, changed the social fabric of the Kurdish society, transformed the feodal culture and displayed a determining stance in the democratisation of the society. This is a women's revolution the PKK and Kurdish people have achieved by creating a free society with free women, and a sense and culture of democratic nation against the culture of tribes, which is at the same time a human revolution.

The struggle the Kurdish people are giving today under the leadership of the PKK plays a crucial role in the democratisation of the Middle East region and is the greatest hope of the peoples in the region. Kurds are taking to the stage in the history with the building of a democratic autonomous and confederal system.

The PKK defines itself not only as a Kurdish movement but also as a liberation movement. What has the PKK done for the peoples in four parts of Kurdistan, what kind of a culture has it created?

The PKK movement has never given an ethnic struggle. Those claiming the PKK to do so were the enemies of the party and the people. The PKK ideology sides with freedom and equality. PKK is a democratic socialist movement against nationalism, religionism and sexism which all are ideologies that lead up to fascism, nationalism and militarism. As an organization for the struggle of the peoples in the Middle East, the PKK has fought for the freedom of peoples and represented the human values in the region. PKK is the follower and contemporary representative of the democratic civilisation tradition in the Middle East. All these prove that the Kurdish question is not related with Kurds alone, it is an issue which concerns the entire Middle East region.

http://www.pkkonline.com/en/

Chronology of Ceasefires:

After years of fighting, the Kurdish liberation movement sought to find a political solution of the conflict. These efforts of the PKK, Kurdistan Worker’s Party, were underlined by the declaration of its first unilateral ceasefire in 1993. This truce however was undermined and sabotaged by gangs of war profiteers within the PKK and the Turkish state.

Being committed to and convinced of the necessity of a peaceful solution of the Kurdish question, the leader of the PKK, Mr. Abdullah Ocalan, repeatedly declared ceasefires such as in 1995 and 1998. The last truce became impossible to sustain due to concerted action against it by many different states. KCK Presidency of the Executive Council and the Kongra-Gel Presidential Board announced the unilateral cease-fire from 13 August 2010 to 20 September 2010

The peace initiatives of the PKK are in chronological order as below;

INDEX

March, 17 1993 General Secretray of the PKK declared the first ceasefire

December, 14 1995 Mr. Abdullah Öcalan Declares Unilateral Cease-Fire to Test Turkey for the Cause of Peace

September, 2 1998 PKK Announces Ceasefire in Turkey

February, 15 1999 On the 15th of February, 1999, the President of the PKK, Mr. Abdullah Öcalan, was handed over to the Republic of Turkey

August, 25 1999 PKK Begins Withdrawal from Turkey

October, 1 1999 As a sign of goodwill the first peace group was send to Turkey.

October, 29 1999 The second peace and democratic solution group was send from Europe to Turkey

December, 10 1999 PKK declares its support for the EU-membership of Turkey.

January, 202000 Peace Project

December, 4 2000 The Urgent Action Plan for Peace and Democracy

June, 19 2000 Urgent Demands in order to prevent the war and to promote the peace process

April, 16 2002 Duties on Democratic Liberation on the 8th Congress of the PKK

December, 22 2002 Urgent Peace Proclamation

April, 15 2003 Proclamation for A Way out of Turkey’s Impasse

August, 2 2003 Road Map for a Peaceful and Democratic Solution, of The Kurdish Question In Turkey, Declaration of KADEK Executive Council

November, 15 2003 Final Declaration of the Foundation Conference of the People's Congress of Kurdistan (KONGRA GEL)

June, 1 2004 ’We didn't declare war we are in self-defence’

March, 20 2005 The declaration of Democratic Confederalism

20th of August to 20th of September 2005: Way for peace and a democratic solution hence contributing to the development of resolution process.

September, 30 2006, Decision for a Ceasefire by Kongra Gel 2nd Interim Session Assembly Meeting

October 17, 2007, The war decision was accepted by the Turkish Parliament, the occupational operation started

February 21, 2008, The Turkish army bombed the Medya Defense Areas many times and carried out an invasion operation against the South Kurdistan and the Medya Defense Areas

April 13, 2009 KCK decided for a cease-fire

June, 1 2010 KCK declaration of the self-defence

August 13, 2010 KCK declared the unilateral cease-fire from 13 August 2010 to 20 September. 2010.

1993

17 March 1993

On 17 of March 1993 General Secretary of the PKK declared the first ceasefire.

On April 17, 1993, Mr. Abdullah Öcalan, extended the cease-fire indefinitely.

Among the conditions were:

a) Immediate halt to Turkish military operations.

b) Abolition of the regional governorship system.

c) Constitutional recognition of the Kurdish identity.

d) Creation of conditions conducive to the return of displaced Kurds to Kurdistan.

e) Compensation for the loss of property.

At a press conference on June 8, 1993, Mr. Abdullah Öclan announced the ending of the cease-fire which had been unilaterally enforced by the PKK since March 17, 1993.

1995

14 December 1995

Mr. Abdullah Ocalan Declares Unilateral Cease-Fire to Test Turkey for the Cause of Peace

On December 14, 1995, Mr. Abdullah Ocalan announced a unilateral cease-fire to test Turkey for the cause of peace in an interview with the Kurdish satellite television station MED-TV.

Mr. Abdullah Ocalan stated: "We have announced a unilateral cease-fire. We wish to see how the new Turkish government, which will come to power after the December 24, 1995 elections, approaches the Kurdish question. It is a goodwill gesture on our part to give them the benefit of the doubt for new ways to deal with the issue."

Mr. Ocalan continued: "During the cease-fire, if the Turkish military does not attack PKK forces, then our guerrillas will halt all their offensive military actions."

Mr. Ocalan announced this cease-fire in response to attempts by the European Parliament to find ways for a political solution to the Kurdish question. Another factor was the desire to create more peaceful conditions for the upcoming general elections in Turkey.

He states: "If Turkey wishes to be a party to the political solution to the Kurdish question but does not want to enter into dialogue with our party, the PKK, some other Kurdish institution could act as an interlocutor, so long as the existence of the PKK is accepted as a fact and the reality on the ground is not misconstrued."

Mr. Ocalan, moreover, called upon the nations of Europe to establish a commission to oversee the cease-fire and to redouble their efforts for the cause of peace so that the momentum for a political solution is not wasted. He noted that Turkey's recent admission into the European Customs Union by definition has made the Kurdish question a European issue. It is the duty, therefore, of European countries to bring an end to the war in Turkey. PKK Chair, Mr. Abdullah Öcalan called upon Turkey's political and military institutions to respect the cease-fire. He also called on the international community to acknowledge and give their support to this peace effort.

End of the ceasefire in May 1996

1998

2 September 1998

PKK Announces Ceasefire in Turkey

The PKK announced a unilateral ceasefire in its fight for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey. Mr. Abdullah Öcalan announced the ceasefire in a telephone interview on Kurdish MED-TV. In this interview he said that the ceasefire was timed to correspond with the September 1st World Peace Day. "Terror and violence are not the best ways in human relations. For as long as we are not attacked by Turkish forces, we will not undertake any armed action," he said, adding that the ceasefire would last until April 1999. Kurdish sources said that although they would not initiate attacks on Turkish forces, they reserved the right to fight in self-defense.

The timing of the ceasefire announcement coincided with a changeover in the military, as Ismail Hakki Karadayi, chief of general staff, hands over command to General Huseyin Kivrikoglu. In addition, Turkey is looking toward the general election next April. Some analysts saw the ceasefire as an attempt by the PKK to renew its struggle in the arena of national politics. In 1997, Mr. Abdullah Öcalan told Kurdish MED-TV that the PKK was ready for a unilateral cease-fire and wanted to begin negotiations with the Turkish government. Turkey has so far rejected all such offers and refuses to negotiate with the group. Recently Öcalan claimed that he no longer sought to separate the mainly Kurdish southeast from Turkey, saying that, "Following a realistic policy of Kurdish independence does not mean changing the borders."

Turkish government ignores ceasefire

This time, too, the Turkish government said that it would not respond to the ceasefire announcement. Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz said Turkey would never agree to negotiate with the PKK and called on Mr. Öcalan to surrender. Yilmaz added that the efforts of the PKK to create a political platform in Europe would be in vain.

November 13, 1998

Intending to solve the Kurdish question through the political dialogue with Europe, Mr. Abdullah Ocalan left the Middle East and flew to Europe in October 1998. His stay in Europe ended abruptly with his kidnapping on February 15, 1999 and his subsequent imprisonment on the Turkish prison island of Imrali.

November 14, 1998

PKK Central Committee

Current developments centred upon our leadership's person portend to be of real significance in determining our people's fate. The Turkish State responded to the announcement of a cease-fire by our Party's General Secretary, Mr. Abdullah Öcalan, and his attempt to realize a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question, on the occasion of World Peace Day, September 1, 1998, by hatching a plot with international dimensions.

Reacting to the cease-fire by intensifying the war, the peace offering met with the fiercest display of enmity. The entire efforts of the Turkish State have concentrated upon attacking us - whether militarily, politically, diplomatically or what-have-you. Now, the direct-targeting of our national leadership attains new dimensions in the attempted genocide of our people.

In response to this, our party and people, rallying behind our national leadership, have determinedly pursued our resistance on the basis of a legitimate defense of the cause of liberty. Our voice has risen up loudly; a heavy price paid to realize freedom, democracy and human rights. It was for those same goals of our national freedom struggle that the General Secretary of our Party, Mr. Abdullah Öcalan, traveled to Rome, the capital of Italy, on 13 November 1998. The visit, which took place with the knowledge of the Italian Government, is of a political character, and is not merely a matter of his seeking refuge or security. As far as our national leadership is concerned, both security and location can be secured, most important of all, in our own land. We have no doubt whatsoever on this issue.

 

The leader of the Kurdish Liberation Movement, Abdullah Öcalan has decided to withdraw from the political process due to the lack of response to his efforts for peace. Subsequently, the KCK Executive Committee decided to end the unilateral ceasefire which has lasted 13 months.

The Kurdish Liberation Movement has started a new phase. The negative developments since the start of the so-called 'democratic initiative' which revealed the real, oppressive intentions of the AKP government, have led to the decisions being taken.

The KCK has been in a state of inactivity for over a year. Despite all the steps towards peace and democracy that have been taken during that time, the state has intensified its assaults targeting both Kurdish legal and political representatives as well as guerrilla forces. As a result of this the Kurdish struggle has entered a new phase.

The Kurdish Liberation Movement, which offered many opportunities for peace to the Turkish government after the capture of leader Abdullah Öcalan, started the process of resistance on 1 June 2004. During that time, the Turkish army which perpetrated many military operations like for example the occupation of Zap in 2008, had to withdraw as a result of heavy defeat by the Kurdish guerrilla in the first week of the operation. Despite all the efforts to prevent it, the DTP (Democratic Society Party) succeeded in increasing the number of its mayors to 99 during the local elections on 29 March 2009. Following below is a brief chronology outlining events and developments since the elections.

CHRONOLOGY

*The KCK decided upon a unilateral ceaefire on 13 April 2009 after the successful local elections in March, which was also a form of referendum.

*After his visit to America on 11 April 2009, the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan stated that during a security committee meeting involving Turkey, the USA and Iraq had agreed to a 'triple action plan' against the PKK.

*The Turkish state started to implement its action plan on 14 April 2009 by carrying out „political massacre“ operations.

*The Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan prepared a road-map with the aim to help and find a peaceful and democratic solution to the conflict.

*However, as the road-map has not been published, the process experienced a move of one step forward and two step backwards.

*The process towards peace gained a new momentum upon Öcalan’s decision to initiate Peace Groups and a movement for the democratic resolution of the conflict.

*On 19 September 2009, a Peace Group from Kandil and Maxmur refugee camps consisting of 34 people including children came to Turkey through the Habur border was joyfully welcomed by millions of Kurds.

*However, the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan who could not tolerate these encouraging developments reversed the whole process by saying that they will start all over again.

*The Turkish media played a significant role in intensifying the tensions within society.

*Öcalan received punishment and put into solitary confinement of 10 days and by being placed in the „death pit“ on 17 September 2009.

*The intense political operations oppressing the Kurdish movement targeted Kurdish politicians, children, students, women and human rights advocates.

*The final decision to ban the DTP took over two years and contributed to an increasingly tense political atmosphere.

*Öcalan intervened again during this process.

*After the DTP's ban, Kurdish politics continued its work with the newly formed Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

*Subsequently, the BDP has been subject to assaults by the Turkish government.

*The DTK, Kurdish mayors and representatives of civil society organisations have been targets during what has been called the 24 December coup. Over 1500 Kurdish politicians were arrested and imprisoned. Kurds characterised this as a political massacre.

*Assaults on Kurds have reached unprecedented levels during this time in which the AKP government kept talking publicly about democratic change.

*Since then 24 priosners have been „massacred“ in prisons including 61 civilians, 35 journalists have been arrested, 397 people have been tortured and 5,000 detained.

*More than 4,000 children have been taken to court for hurling stones.

*Nine children have been massacred by the Turkish state.

*The first victim was Abdulsamet Erip (14) who has been killed in Colemerg during a children's festival. The most recent victim was Oguzhan Akyurek (13) who has been killed by a soldier’s bomb in the Qergeli district of Van on 25 May 2010.

*Pressures on Kurdish press and media organisations also intensified.

*Metin Alatas of the Adana branch of Azadiya Welat newspaper was killed.

*The former chief editor of Azadiya Welat, Vedat Kursun has been sentenced to 166 years of imprisonment, which is a total of three lifetimes.

*Turkey has received 12 convictions as a result of cases heard by the European Human Rights Court in relation to the freedom of expression.

*Peace activists have also been subject to legal proceedings. Mehmet Serif, spokesperson of the Peace and Democratic Resolution Group, has been arrested on the allegation that he 'carried out organisational propaganda'.

*The Turkish army led 262 military operations between April and December 2009. It has also perpetrated 168 mortar and howitzer assaults most of which took place during the time of the ceasefire last year.

*New alliances have been made between Turkey, Iran and Syria. All three countries have increased their pressure on Kurds.

*The Arabic Belt in Syria has been revived. A new phase started on 9 May 2010 with the execution of five Kurdish political prisoners.

*Iran and Turkey are bombarding the area under guerrilla control. An air strike with 20 planes hit the area for seven hours in Xinere and Xakurke. Four guerrillas and two civilians including a child have lost their lives in this operation. Many settlements have been left in an uninhabitable state.

*The DCK (Democratic Confederation of Kurdistan) has repeatedly emphasised that it will maintain the ceasefire which started on 13 April 2009. However, as there have been no signs of a start of a dialogue from the Turkish state, Kurdish Liberation Leader Abdullah Öcalan announced that he is withdrawing from the peace process on 31 May 2010.

*Peace representatives have also been subject to legal proceedings. Hehmet Serif, spokesman of the Peace and Democratic Resolution Group, was arrested for allegedly „carrying out propaganda for our organisation“.

*According to statements made on 1 June 2010, Kurdish guerrilla forces emphasized that they will make full use of their right to defence.

*The DCK Executive Committee declared an end to the ceasefire on 1 June 2010. It stated that 'the AKP government, which apparently can do anything for the sake of power, is chiefly responsible for the bloodshed and for jeopardising the future of the people of Kurdistan. It has sabotaged and destroyed the atmosphere of peace and dialogue with this attitude. Thereby, it has rendered our unilateral ceasefire process meaningless. The AKP government is responsible for the end of a 13 months-long peace process, not our movement'.

The PKK has declared six unilateral ceasefires in the last 18 years but never received a response. The first unilateral ceasefire was announced in March 1993. The Kurdistan National Liberation Movement has stated that since 1993 they have been trying to resolve the conflict through a political dialogue with the relevant government authorities. However, while it was implementing the decision to end the armed struggle and withdraw its forces from outside Turkey in 1999, the Turkish state took advantage of this situation and intensified its operations as a result of which 300 guerrillas have lost their lives.

The so-called special warfare methods in Kurdistan have intensified.

*Rape scandals have been reported in cities such as Siirt and Erdis.

*Incidents of disappearances and kidnappings which happened in the 1990s have started to reoccur.

*The military operations that started after Newroz 2010 have become an everyday occurances since the beginning of May. The border areas of Kurdistan continue to be subject to intense military bombardment.

KURDISH INFO

On 1 April 2006, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the following statement in relation to the incident: “I am addressing mothers and fathers. Those who let their children out and allow them to be used by the terror organisations will cry in vain tomorrow. Our security forces will do whatever is needed whether the subjects are women or children. No standards of democracy would condone such incidents of violence”.

After this incident that took place in Diyarbakir on 28 March 2006, according to official records 400 children, and according to unofficial records 700 children, have been detained and subjected to inhuman treatment.

A report released by Kurdish Info analyse the situation of the children in prison today.Many of these children have been arrested and sentenced to up to quarter of century in prison. In the meantime, there have been changes in the anti-terror law, local courts sent the cases of children to the Supreme Court for the purpose of appeal, which then sent them to the Supreme Criminal Court General Council, which enacted the law and, as a result, the implementations have been started to sentence each child who hurled stones and made a victory sign to 25 years.

Immediately after the incident that took place in Diyarbakir, changes have been proposed on the Anti-Terror Law, and finally on 29.06.2006, the law no 5532, “Law in Relation to Making changes in the Anti-Terror Law”, which has thus been rearranged and is a matter of controversy today. It has been enacted and published in the Official Gazette.

With these changes, it has been possible to regard the children aged 15-18 as adults to stand trial at high Criminal Courts, formerly State Security Courts, dealing with Criminal Procedure Law article 250 without remand or optional enforcements, while it also made it possible for the children aged 12-18 to be treated as organisation members and exempt from the rules that are applied to their peers, who stood trial for petty offences.

As far as the conditions of capture and detentions goes the report makes the following points:

Disproportionate use of force during the capture and detention,

Their rights are not explained to the children immediately and clearly, who are also not enable to benefit from their rights. (According to 90/4 it is compulsory to remind the person of their rights),

Many children are taken away from their homes early in the morning to the Anti-Terror Branch where they are beaten, threatened, and may or may not be subject to ID check.

Children are face to face with the risk of maltreatment as they are taken away without informing their relatives to the anti-terror branch without the knowledge of relatives,

And as far as the investigation goes, Kurdish Info has this to say:

Whilst the investigation in relation to juveniles has to be carried out by the Juvenile’s Prosecutor under the article 16 of CKK, they are immediately taken to the Anti-Terror Branch. (Children are taken to the Branch on the pretext of investigation, where they are kept standing up to 6 hours).

Reports are not prepared for the duration of detention of the children whose ages cannot be determined to be younger than 18 by the Anti-Terror Branch, and that they are sent to the Branch even after their ages have been clarified.

The children are kept at the Anti-Terror Branch for 3-7 hours and subjected to physical and psychological violence, intimidated and interrogated under undue influence only after which they are sent to Children’s Branch.

During the detentions, children are illegally forced to give a statement used to prepare interview records, which includes questions about the parents and relatives.

The reports prepared at the Anti-Terror Branch are placed in the court cases, and that children are interrogated through illegal methods such as intimidation used to write “interview reports”.

Evidence such as CD and photographs are not shown to the solicitors and the children are being interrogated without being informed of their existence during their time at the Anti-Terror Branch.

The secrecy in relation to the cases continues during the investigations. Solicitors are not given any documents or information, and are not allowed to see the CDs, which directly restricts the right to defence.

Interview records are used to prepare the police reports, which are used to prepare the indictment that turns into a verdict during the process of trial.

Children aged 15-18 are treated like adults by the judges and prosecutors, who apply psychological pressure. The prosecutors ask the children whether they have relatives in prisons.

Children are kept waiting to see the judges, and threatened while being taken to the prosecutor. Children show signs of acceptance as they are told that there are videos as a result of which solicitors find it difficult to convince the children, who cannot use their right to silence. Solicitors also face difficulties in reaching the documents on children.

Most recently, indictments are being prepared to include committing crimes on behalf of illegal organisations. It has been observed that children are ordered to stand still in military style during the interrogations while they face undue influence and intimidation, and a child has changed his statement upon being prompted by the prosecutor.

As a result of the increase in the number of children, who are the victims of anti-terror law, the activities and efforts of many NGOs brought into agenda the preparation of an “amnesty bill”. However, the children we describe as the victims of anti-terror law really are the victims of anti-terror law as accepted by the public opinion as well. Forgiving the children or declaring an amnesty will cause them to be victimised for a second time in the future. As is known, the word “Amnesty” means forgiving a crime or mistake. Declaration of an “Amnesty” will mean the acceptance of the victims as “guilty”.

Moreover, some of the children have not been detained during demonstrations, but collected from the streets or their homes. Although there is no evidence in the cases of more than half of these children, they have received very heavy sentences as a result of accepting the soldier or police reports as evidence. An “Amnesty” to be declared for the children will not subsequently rule out the fact that the children are the victims of anti-terror laws.

On the other hand, it is believed that the children, who are sentenced to 8, 10, 15 or 25 years of imprisonment, are also subject to individual and regional discrimination of Turkish laws. While a child, who is not Kurdish and captured during a demonstration in the West is sentenced on the grounds of the contravention of the Meetings and Demonstrations Law No 2911, today these children, as well as this law, are also subject to sentences for acting in contravention of anti-terror law, although not being a member of an organisation, committing crimes in its name, as well as carrying out propaganda.

ANF 04.07.2010

 

The Iranian regime executed four political prisoners, one of whom is a member of the Kurdistan Teachers Association, communications manager Ferzad Kemanger. Last year, he wrote: "I just want my heart to continue to beat in a breast of a child who is more rebellious than me" .

The Iranian Islamic Regime announced that it has executed 4 members of the PJAK who were held in Tehran prison. Kurdish prisoners and teachers Ferzad Kemanger, Eli Heyderiyan, Ferhad Wekili and a representative of women's group, Şirin elem Hulu.

Kurdish teacher Ferzad Kemanger, one of those executed, has written a letter to the Minister of Information Kolaam-Hoseyn Ezhei and offered to donate their organs.

We make public the Kamangah Letters

Farzad Kamangar, a school teacher on death row, has written a letter to other imprisoned teachers.

« Be Strong Comrades »

Once upon a time, there was a mother fish who laid 10,000 eggs. Only one little black fish survived. He lives in a stream with his mother.

One day the little fish said to his mother, "I want to go away from here." The mother asked, "Where to?" The little fish replied, "I want to go see where the stream ends."

[Translator's note: Little Black Fish is the title of a short story fiction piece for children. The story was written in 1967 by the dissident teacher Samad Behrangi. The book was banned under the Shah's regime. It tells the story and adventures of a little fish who defies the rules of his community to embark on a journey to discover the sea. On the way, he courageously fights enemies. The tale is considered to be a classic in Iranian resistance literature]

Greetings cell mates. Hello fellow inmates of pain!

I know you well: you are the teacher, the neighbour to the stars of *Khavaran, the classmates of dozens whose essays were attached to their legal cases [as evidence], the teacher of students whose [only] crime was their humanitarian thoughts. I know you well: you are colleagues of Samad and Ali Khan. You remember me too, right?

[Translator's note: Khavaran is the cemetery in eastern Tehran where many political dissidents were executed during the 1980's and buried in mass unmarked graves]

It is me, the one chained in Evin prison.

It is me, the quiet student who sits behind the broken school benches and longs to see the sea while in a remote village in Kurdistan. It is me, who, like you, told the tales of Samad to his students; but in the heart of the Shahoo Mountains [located in Kurdistan].

It is me who loves to take on the role of the little black fish.

It is me, your comrade on death row.

Now, the valleys and mountains are behind him and the river passes through a plain field. From the left and the right side, other rivers have joined in and the river now is filled with more water. The little fish enjoyed the abundance of water.the little fish wanted to go to the bottom of the river. He was able to swim as much as he wanted and not bump into anything.

Suddenly, he spotted a large group of fish. There were 10,000 of them, one of whom told the little black fish, "Welcome to the sea, comrade!"

My jailed colleagues! Is it possible to sit behind the same desk as Samad, look into the eyes of the children of this land, and still remain silent?

Is it possible to be a teacher and not show the path to the sea to the little fish of the country? What difference does it make if they come from Aras[a river in northwestern Iran, Azerbaijan], Karoon [a river in southwestern Iran, Khuzestan], Sirvan [a river in Kurdistan] or Sarbaz Rood [a river in the Sistan and Baluchestan region]? What difference does it make when the sea is a mutual destiny, to be united as one? The sun is our guide. Let our reward be prison, that is fine!

Is it possible to carry the heavy burden of being a teacher and be responsible for spreading the seeds of knowledge and still be silent? Is it possible to see the lumps in the throats of the students and witness their thin and malnourished faces and remain quiet?

Is it possible to be in the year of no justice and fairness and fail to teach the H for Hope and E for Equality, even if such teachings land you in Evin prison or result in your death?

I cannot imagine being a teacher in the land of Samad, Khan Ali, and Ezzati and not join the eternity of *Aras. I cannot imagine witnessing the pain and poverty of the people of this land and fail to give our hearts to the river and the sea, to roar and to inundate.

[*Translator note: Aras is a river in northwest Iran, bordering Iran and Azerbaijan. Samad drowned in the river in the summer of 1968. Some have considered the circumstance of his death suspicious and blamed agents of the Shah's regime for his death]

I know that one day, this harsh and uneven road will be paved for teachers and the suffering you endured will be a badge of honour so everyone can see that a teacher is a teacher, even if his or her path is blocked by the *selection process, prison, and execution. The little black fish and not the heron bestows honour on the teacher.

[Translator's note: Selection process or Gozinesh is a process through which teachers and other government-paid employees are vetted based on their ideological, political, and religious views]

The Little Fish calmly swam in the sea and thought: Facing death is not hard for me, nor is it to be regretted.

Suddenly the heron swooped down and grabbed the little fish.

Grandma Fish finished her story and told her 12,000 children and grandchildren that it was time for bed. 11,999 little fish said good night and went to bed. The grandmother went to sleep as well. One little red fish was not able to sleep. That fish was deep in thought.

A teacher on death row, Evin prison

Farzad Kamangar

April 2010

Farzad Kamangar was born in 1975. He was a teacher during 12 years in Kamiaran, a village of Eastern Kurdistan (Northwestern Iran). He was married and has children. He belonged to the Teachers' Union of Kurdistan and to other activist associations. He wrote for the review Royan, the review of the Education department of Kamiyaran and for newspapers of local Human Rights associations.

He had been arrested on August 19th 2006, by the secret services of Sine. During four months after his arrest, his family had no news and the authorities denied responsibility of his disappearance.

Farzad Kamangar had been in fact transferred in the 9th Prison of Evin in Tehran, an unofficial centre of detention of the VEVAK(Vezarat Etela'at Va Amnyate Keshvar), the Iranian security services.

In a letter he secretly send out of prison, he told how he was isolated and tortured, beaten during his first interrogation just because he was a political activist. He was forced to stay on a chair to which he was bound during 24 hours without food and without the possibility of going to the lavatory. Then he was imprisoned in a small cell without fresh air. He could not get in touch with his family or his lawyer. He faced also psychological pressures, for example, by threats made against his relatives. Once he attempted to commit suicide by throwing himself down the stairs, but he failed. His health was so bad that he had to be treated in the prison hospital. His lawyer reports that when he saw Farzad on their first meeting, his body was shaken, his hands had been seriously burnt by boiling water. In addition, he suffers of kidney infection, and tracks of blood in his urine.

Between 2006 and 2007, he was several times transferred in Kermanshah or Sine to be interrogated and severely tortured. In Kermanshah, the cell where he was detained in February and March 2007 measured 1m x 1m x 0.6m. He was also sexually abused in Evin, a common practice carried out to psychologically break a prisoner's mind.

His mother and his brother were allowed to see him only seven months after his arrest. When they meet him, Iranian agents stayed all the cell with them and prevented them from speaking in Kurdish. Farzad Kamangar at this time, did not know what the charges against him were.

Farzad made several hunger strikes, with other prisoners, to protest against their conditions of detention. During the last month, he was held in the prison of Gohardacht,www.ekurd.net <http://www.ekurd.net/> when prisoners revolted. After a raid by the security services, he had been taken away and held in isolation with Farhad Vakili and Ali Heydaran.