Diyarbekir

Many comrades have been searching for images of Diyarbekir, also known to many as “Amed”. Diyarbekir has been under siege again, as seems to be their eternal lot. They cannot escape the reality of what the Turkish state is, no matter how the traitors look the other way.

Diyarbekir is a brave and beautiful city, which is important to me for a few reasons. Firstly, it is the intellectual centre of the Kurdish resistance, “the capital of Kurdistan” in the minds of the Kurdish people, and has given us all a great deal more than we could ever hope to repay. It is also the city where one of the greatest heroes of the Turkish left, İbrahim Kaypakkaya, was brought to be tortured to death in Diyarbekir prison. A dear comrade grew up not far from that prison. There is a lot of history for the Turkish and Kurdish lefts in that city, which leads us up to today.

Some images of the people of Diyarbekir resisting the siege have surfaced on the Kurdish humour page Qırıx, and more can be found on İlyas Akengin’s Twitter page. I include the two from Qırıx here, along with a “Diyarbakır Türküsü”, a relevant song by the bard of the Turkish left, Ahmet Kaya, who himself reclaimed his Kurdish background near the end, resulting in his being driven from Turkey amidst threats and insults to himself and his children. He famously sang this song for the people of Diyarbekir, and their suffering.

I would like to dedicate this song to the people of Diyarbekir, young…

genc yasli

…and old. One day, they will all be free.

Diyarbakır Türküsü
Music: Ahmet Kaya
Lyrics: Yusuf Hayaloğlu
Translation: Muhsin Yorulmaz

In the middle of Diyarbekir, I lie down shot
I would know the sound of a bullet anywhere
While my youth burns up in these mountains
The moon is reflected in my tears, I remain in the night

Don’t you be sad, don’t hang your head
Should daylight come, we’ll meet again
Don’t worry Diyarbekir
Don’t you cry, don’t tie those bloody bandages
This fire will go out one day
Don’t cry Diyarbekir

On the road to Diyarbekir, I turned to dust and blew away
These vicious quakes shake me until I bleed
The faces of friends slowly fade away
The day breaks on the plateau, I am ashamed of my grief

O windy slopes, o downtrodden Diyarbekir
The red fire in the mountains, the red copper on my brow
As the meadow saffron withers, as the mothers mourn
I fell on your knees, don’t cry Diyarbekir