Authentic Colors of Women

Blood Smeared to the Authentic Colors of Women

Author: Gülseren Demir Aladağ; Translation: Beliz Baldil; Editing: Kıvanç Tanrıyar

ATTENTION: The questions concerning expressing the self in one’s own language, being segregated because of one’s national identity, and struggling against feudal value judgments may not mean anything to an ordinary Turkish woman –and indeed nobody expects such an attitude from them-, but these difficulties compose a great portion of the life of a Kurdish woman.

Regarding different conditions, the meaning of Newroz varies from people to people. Newroz is celebrated solely as a celebration of the arrival of spring in Middle Asia, in Iran, in Azerbaijan and in some other part of the world, but Newroz has a different meaning for Kurds.  Doubtless, one cannot imagine Newroz apart from the tragedy of Kurdish history. The fact that the famous “Smith Kawa” legend has a meaning for Kurds up to recent times pinpoints this difference. By reason of this fact, Kurds in the very year 2008 celebrate Newroz in a way befitting the spirit of the legend of some thousand years ago, and thus, they celebrate the day as a resistance against “neo-Dehaqs”. Indeed, this situation does not apply for all Kurds alike. The meaning of Newroz in Iraqi Kurdistan and its meaning in Turkish Kurdistan differ from each other with respect to its contemporary conception. While this fact indicates the problems of a people /peoples, it also displays how historical images are made use of. Naturally, this day, through which Kurds have made a contribution to the world history, or the meaning of which they have improved, is functioning as the initiator of a platform where Kurds express their problems.

Women, as individuals of Kurdish Nation, indeed have their place within this historical image, being the most apparent subjects of these rituals, which a part of their selves and their nation. On this day, symbolizing the tragic memories of a tragic history, there are heroines whose names are commemorated as a part of this memory. When mentioning the modern resistance methods, which people has begun to utilize in our modern era, the starting point was the persistent style, developed by a Kurdish woman Layla Qasim, and this style was accomplished with Zekiye Kalkan at the Walls of Diyarbakır. This historical background yielded that the Kurdish woman, who lives a hard life under the pressure feudal culture, has to take responsibilities for the struggle concerning national identity.

Women, and in particular Kurdish women, have expressed their demands against war, against violence and against the androcentric mentality in March of 8th and in Newroz celebrations. They made themselves apparent in public, by being in front of the celebrations, by dancing halay, by shouting zılgıt  and, by singing for the sake of resistance, peace, freedom and national dignity. Kurdish women who make themselves apparent in public places during celebrations of Newroz every year reveal themselves in the Newroz of 2008 with their national costumes and with their demands as well, in order to shout “against all kind of violence, exploitation, sexual harassment and rape.” Women endeavored to actualize themselves in public places with their authentic colors. They endeavored, but blood smeared on their colors.

The terror which state executes during Newroz celebrations is defined as “Increasing militarism on the basis of misogyny,” “masculine hegemony which is sustained by nationalism,” and the terror is evaluated as “it augments and rationalizes the wrath against women and womanhood.” by feminists, by right. Misogyny as a concealed element of Turkish official ideology becomes more violent with respect to Kurdish women. The questions concerning expressing the self in one’s own language, being segregated because of one’s national identity, and struggling against feudal value judgments may not mean anything to an ordinary Turkish woman –and indeed nobody expects such an attitude from them-, but they compose a great portion of the life of a Kurdish woman. By the very same reason, Newroz actually is a second March of 8th following the latter because, while Kurdish women clamor in demonstrations and is beaten by the police, her dress is smeared by blood, not only she is being exposed to violence as a Kurd, she is also opressed as “a human being who had to sit still at home, but participates in destructive activities.” Thus, she is a second-class citizen being a Kurd, and is a third-class citizen as being a Kurdish woman.

In socio-political demonstrations where women express themselves, women, and especially children have to pay the price. The fact that women participate in demonstrations joyfully does not only mean to become apparent, but their participation also ensures their self-realization politically. Hence, women establish themselves as political subjects. And it is obvious that women who have become political subjects become a threat for the androcentric system, since their presence may bring upon that the militarist sphere may shrink. This militarist mentality has the objective to minimize the element made up of Kurdish women as political subjects, by oppressing their power of resistance, by wounding their honor and dignity. But observing the historical background, this attitude does not yield positively from the militarist point of view, with respect to the struggle of women.

It should become clear that the Kurdish woman who has politicized herself, who has learnt to oppose and who nurtures herself from a rich experience based on struggle which her ancestors had transmitted, resolves and wills more and more whenever her body is exposed to canons, stones and bludgeons. When a woman being 60 years old claims “You cannot obstruct me from celebrating my Newroz feast.” says the day after “I AM HERE,” in spite of an unspeakable violence and in spite of the threat that violence may augment, and in spite of the wounds of the day before. This shows clearly that the above mentioned example is a response of the Kurdish woman against the veiled misogyny.

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