Peter Boyle speaking at World Kobanê Day rally, Sydney, November 1.
Peter Boyle gave this speech on behalf of Socialist Alliance at the Sydney rally for World Kobanê Day on November 1.
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I am here to bring you greetings from the Socialist Alliance and the progressive newspaper Green Left Weekly.
We have gathered with the Kurdish community and their supporters several times for Kobanê here and in Martin Place and outside the Turkish Consulate in the past year.
They were rallies held in desperate times and at most of those gatherings, our cry was “Save Kobanê!”
The town of Kobanê was under siege from ISIS. It was a long and bloody siege by a bloodthirsty and brutal enemy.
Kobanê was surrounded on all sides by enemies. On three sides it was ISIS. And on the fourth side it was the army of the Turkish state, run by the bloody dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Erdoğan's army was helping ISIS. Good people who came to help Kobanê were stopped, jailed, tortured or murdered.
Kobanê was being reduced to rubble.
But incredibly, that long and bloody siege of Kobanê was broken by the heroic struggle of the People's Protection Unit (YPG) and the Women's Protection Unit (YPJ). They were joined by their comrades from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and volunteers from all around the world, including from Australia.
However, many defenders of Kobanê, including many young women and men, sacrificed their lives. They became martyrs. Today we salute these martyrs and heroes.
But today we also know that these comrades did not sacrifice their lives in vain. Because today we are gathered here — and in more than 400 cities around the world — not just to save Kobanê but to rebuild Kobanê.
The battle to break the siege of Kobanê was epic; and it won the attention of progressive and democratic people all around the world.
Now that solidarity needs to get practical. It needs to turn into the material resources that are needed to rebuild Kobanê.
The rebuilding of Kobanê requires the unlocking of some doors.
First, we need to open a humanitarian corridor for reconstruction aid Kobanê. That is one of the key demands of International Kobanê Day.
Kobanê is still a town in ruins yet 175,000 people have returned. The town must be cleared of mines and booby traps and rebuilt; and people are in urgent need of basic medical supplies, food, and clothing. But the Turkish state is blocking these urgent supplies from getting through.
Another door that needs to be unlocked is the listing in a number of countries, including Australia, of the PKK as a “terrrorist” group.
The PKK is a liberation movement not a terrorist group. The PKK should be taken off the terrorist list and recognised for its great role in leading and inspiring the new democratic example that we see in the revolution in Rojava.
In one of the darker moments of the struggle, a Kurdish comrade said to me, at least we know we have some friends apart from the mountains. There have been many times when the Kurdish people's only reliable friend was the mountains. But not today!
Thanks to the heroic struggle for Kobanê, thanks to the shining example of the revolution in the liberated zone of Rojava, thanks to the unifying political struggle of the People's Democratic Party (HDP), history is being made to a new pattern.
Today, the Kurdish people have many friends around the world.
Today, the Kurdish struggle is a beacon of hope for all who yearn and struggle for liberation and a better world.
The Kurdish people have won many new friends — and will win even more — because they are building something new and good in a world that is being torn apart.
This world spends about $1.8 trillion on weapons each year. Meanwhile the UN has calculated that $30 billion a year is all it would cost to totally eliminate hunger all around the world. So if we do the maths, each year this world spends on weapons enough to eliminate world hunger for 60 years!
People all around the world know that this is wrong, that this global system we are forced to live under is sick. We all need to be liberated from it.
The Kurdish people's liberation struggle has given birth to an example of a different system. In Rojava we are witnessing the building of a new grass-roots democracy based on strong values of inclusiveness and autonomy. We see a revolution that is profoundly and proudly feminist. We see a revolution that respects and unites communities of different religions and ethnicities. We see a revolution based on people's power.
The whole world needs a democracy like this. The Socialist Alliance says, we need this sort of democracy here too in Australia.
Comrades and friends, you have our full support and solidarity. Let's rebuild Kobanê together.
Long live Kobanê! Long live Rojava!