Letter from jailed BDP deputy Selma Irmak

“We have lived and watched this breathtaking process from the prison; our hearts pounding against iron fences”

Selma Irmak MP is in jail in Amed (Diyarbakır)

Dear Co-Presidents, Dear Friends,

I am sending you my greetings with longing. I am embracing you with hope. We will soon have finished the third year of our separation. We have lived and watched this breathtaking process from the prison; our hearts pounding against iron fences. We have experienced a lot. History will witness our experience. We have been struggling in an honorable manner to go through this difficult test that we have been forced to take, before history, circumstances and our people. We appreciate and support the effort that you spend wholeheartedly and zealously. We derive our strength from following you, sometimes with a smile on our face and other times with our hearts twisted.There is no doubt that we are going through a difficult period. All of us are obliged to work harder than ever and do our best or even more. There are certain moments when you are able to turn circumstances into victories, and there are other moments when the opportunities just fade away without you noticing and then you need to turn back where you began. We are going through exactly such a moment. We need to evaluate events as sensitively as an alchemist would and we need to figure out every future step carefully and successfully.

We are getting closer and closer to our goal. In such a moment, deviation from out way would create the uttermost negative results. We must handle everything with the subtlety of an artist. Unfortunately, the government and the state -which are yet no longer inseparable, are acting as irresponsible and destructive as an elephant would be behaving in store of fragile glass ornaments.

They are destroying everything. The government is being encouraged by those who are indeed planning its ultimate destruction. This is an attitude that belongs to those who have the power but not the sovereignty.

We, as those who assume the responsibility of history on their shoulders, must bring this attitude to an end. A positivist perspective that would offer stereotypical judgments and solutions is of no use. which feeds off from stereotypical judgments and which would provide stereotypical solutions will not do. Those who think that big fish eats small fish are those who do not recognize the resistance of the small fish. As you already expressed, submitting ourselves to the actions of the powerful will only make us loose. Unfortunately, we have long been lingered by those in power. We do not have any more time to lose. We must slowly, systematically and reasonably build our Democratic Autonomy without bringing into conflict what we do and what we say.

Dear Friends,

I deeply wish I were with you in these days. To watch all that’s happening with hands tied, and indeed, handcuffed is the worst thing that could happen to a human being. This is probably what imprisonment is all about. Otherwise, for those who have free minds and hearts, the fences of the prison or spatial limitation do not mean anything. On the other hand, those who commit their lives to the cause of freedom and democracy are almost bounded to end up in prison. In other words, the way to democracy passes through the prison.

The Kurdish question has reached a point where only a democratic process based on dialogue and negotiation can bring peace and solution. We are aware that this will be a long and delicate process. Our people have been demanding a democratic solution for the last thirty years. To fulfill their demand is both easy and difficult. A democratic solution can only be reached through a dialogue with Abdullah Öcalan. Every peace process needs its actors. The person who has assumed the leadership of our people is Abdullah Öcalan; therefore he is the only person who can speak in the name of our people and must be the main actor. As elected representatives and politicians of our people we are ready to fulfill our role in this process, to take any risks and to put our lives at stake. I am worried as much as you are with the interruption of the peace process and of negotiations with Abdullah Öcalan as well as with his unprecedented forced isolation, which keeps him outside of the political realm. I am deeply worried that -what we call- the concept of political genocide towards the Kurds that has been implemented through mass arrests, assassinations, massacres, discursive and material violence will lead to deep hostility between Turkish and Kurdish people.

Repression, fear, violation of rights and violation of freedom of expression, reckless insults and irresponsible speeches on the part of government and the state are sowing the seeds of anger among the Kurdish youth as well. The prime minister congratulating the army after the Roboski massacre, the interior minister saying he could recognize no Kurdish problem at all, or the Chief of General Army Stuff commenting irresponsibly on the Kurdish language are a few examples among many. All of our municipalities have been harshly attacked; our NGO activists, politicians, municipal workers, mayors, students and children are being arrested. It is hard to imagine anyone without a conscience being hurt before these circumstances.

Dear Co-Presidents,

As a person who has been elected by the honorable and willful people of Şırnak and, as a woman who has sensibilities for life, I am no longer able to remain a passive spectator of this unfolding of events. Since I have been deprived of all means of expression, I have to use my body as the only available means of expression. I wish I were able to discuss and contemplate with all of you before making this decision. However, circumstances did not allow that. I would like you to know that my heart is always with you. The history of this prison in Diyarbakır forces us to take initiative and play a leadership role in resistance. I must admit that I am very excited and happy at the moment, knowing that I am able to fulfill at least some of my responsibility for my people.

I take this opportunity to declare that on the 15th of February, we, six people, Hacire Özdemir, Fadik Bayram, Ayşe Irmak, Leyla Deniz, Pınar Işık and Dirayet Taşdemir and I, are starting a hunger strike without interruption and rotation. We are inspired by the way the resistance in this prison succeeded in overcoming the darkness of the 1980 military junta. We –as the women of the Diyarbakır dungeon –wish to tear apart the darkness of February 15, which symbolizes Abdullah Öcalan’s forced isolation and his exclusion from the political realm. We want to raise our voice together with the voice of our people. We would like to come together with you in democratic resistance.

With longing and greetings to all of you from all of us

With hope

With hope to join you in a free and peaceful future

February 14th, 2012

Selma Irmak

Prison of Amed (Diyarbakir)