In the 67th day of Kobanê war, neither the violence of the ISİS attacks have decreased, nor the border watch protests has lost its originality. And still the problems of the thousands of refugee are unsolved also. Kobanê and Suruç people are standing straight, in spite of the efforts to change the agenda; they are showing their solidarity with demos, events and campaings.
The reporter of sendika.org, Murat Bay, interviewed with several responsibles of Suruç Crisis Desk, listened their call, their needs and their work.
The representative of HDP Urfa, İbrahim Ayhan:
A big resistance, a strong humanitarian struggle has been going in Kobanê for 64 day. This struggle continues together with self-sacrifice and valour against barbarism and cruelity of ISİS. Specific powers aims to remove Kobanê from the agenda; carefully they have tried taking Kobanê off from the media scene. What we say is that Kobanê should be owned of its all aspects. Our call is for every person who believes in peace, freedom, equality and human values to support Kobanê ultimately.
More than 10 thousand people are resisting in Kobanê. The danger of slaughter still continues. There are intense and severe crashes going on. ISİS continues to attack from 3 different arms, the roads for reinforcement is open, streghtening its military forces. Therefore every person should support and help the people and the resistance in Kobanê with a high social sensitivity.
We are here since 15Th of September to support the resistance and to be in solidarity.We will always be here with our people to support the resistance. Our call is for regular attendance to here.
On the other hand, there are refugees here who run away from ISİS brutality. They are also lack of basic human needs like shelter, nutrition and health. These requirements’ve been increasing day by day. We try to help to the refugees here by municipalities and organized agencies. Even if not the aids shouldn’t get less, and it should gain a continuity. The refugees who are considered by the state are about 5 percent of total. Local community, municipalites and organized agencies’ve looked after the rest, as 95 percentages.
The struggle in Kobanê is the struggle for the life from the very beginning. On the one side there is chaos, fascist thoughts, Middle East that became the bloodbath and the ISİS cruelty that forces everyone to think like them. On the other hand, what came out in Rojava and represented in Kobanê today takes its roots from the model of democratic autonomy, keeps people with different beliefs together, within the line of freedom and equality. This is why Kobanê becomes the target of ISİS.
ISİS imposes its cruelty by getting support from the hegemonic powers in the region. With the help of ISİS as sub-supplier, the aim is turn Middle East into a battlefield, a massacre and a crisis zone. We believe it is necessary to struggle with them. This is the main reason for the world to own this resistance. Everyone should do something about Kobanê and in this regard, they would claim for their own future.
There is a decision women took for 25Th of November. The protest will take place in the border. As you know, Kobanê revolution is also a woman revolution. The mentality of ISİS is to enslave woman, to commercialize woman. We saw the same mindset also in Şengal. Therefore it is quite important to make the demonstration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women just beside the resistant powers that have carried out the struggle for woman. All woman organizations, I believe, will make claim to this woman revolution with strong sense of solidarity.
Gökçe Deniz Balkan – Information Processing Unit
I came Suruç about one month ago. Before here, I had been working in the warehouse for 20 days. Now I am in information prossesing. In this unit we inventory the people who came from Syria, who live in neighborhoods, houses and villages, recording their conditions, where they came from, the address they live in now, with how many people and how they live. We enter all these infos to the system, we determine their needs for shelter, for chronic diseases or emergency care. In fact we can think all coordination is as information prossesing unit. The datas those came from different units got together in our unit and the aids are informed to responsible people of neighborhoods, villages and tent areas. So, the backing distributes in control and in coordination.
In Bilgi İşlem there should be at least 6 people. But sometimes we are less than that. There is the need for people. Information prossesing is a little bit different from other units. It is not very possible to be useful here if they come here for only 3-4 days. They would be helpful in the warehouse or if they know Kurmanji in the distribution or to record people or to get their info, but in Information prossesing to be stable one should be here for a long time. One should understand the system, be fast, and know the things and act according to them. For instance there was a team last month; they left; now we took the task.
On the one hand, our aim gathering this data is also to be useful later on in their cities, in their houses. The info about chronic diseases, how to use a medicine, how to have get nutrition should be useful there. We will make these informations cross the border too.
Anyway, we need people. Who can use computer, if possible who knows Kurdish or Kurmanji, but she might not know, and also we call here friends who can stay here at least a couple of weeks.
Çiya – Warehouse Unit
I am here for almost two months. I had worked in different units, now I work as warehouse volunteer and responsible person of the unit. We have 4 warehouses in total. The biggest one is the “garage” warehouse. Aid materials have come from far and near. Trucks are coming here. The ready packets generally go to “Avesta” warehouse.
For sure we have needs and deficiencies. As far as Kobanê took off from the agenda, aids’ve come much less. With the winter coming, the weather is getting cold. People cannot get warmer with only one blanket anymore. We need more electric heater and more bed. There are electric heaters in some tents but they are not enough. We are lack of enough food. The goods for breakfast have almost finished, there are so less variety of food. There are serious deficiencies about food for children, like baby formulas, they have almost finished. We want these kinds of aid materials.
In the warehouse there are 20-25 people in average. Kobanê people are also working. Our work is emptying, locating and organizing the materials. There are friends in the warehouse from Germany and Holland. Although our languages are different, we don’t understand each other, they use body language to communicate and contribute to the work here. We are proud of them. This is a big achievement. We invite everybody to this process of conscience.
There are a lot you can do here. For example, in the warehouse there is the need for human power. Every day we get and send thousands of goods. Our friends from Kobanê are not only in Suruç, but also in many other places. So, we need human power.
From here we call everybody. You come here too. Do whatever you can do. As much as you do, as much as you put your labor, you will be happy, you will be proud and you will be with a clear conscience. You would sleep with peace of mind. Please, empathize; what happens here today could happen in some other places tomorrow.
Ayhan Demir – Health Unit
I came here as doctor and started work here one week ago. We try to overcome the problems in the heath area within limited conditions. We are not very much lack of medicine; the ones finished are supplied again. But we have difficulties in finding the patients.
In the camp we are, there are 5000 people. Despite the high number of people, the water is less, so there is the problem of diarrhea. It is not yet in the level of epidemic but there is the need more water, more clean water. Since the food comes everyday regularly, we don’t have problem with nourishment. Our babies have some difficulties. We determine them as long as they apply.
We have friends circulate in all tents and follow the situation of the babies. They warn us when they determine a sickness. If there is the need for professional care, we contact them to reach patients. We are circulating as two different teams. The ones, who would like to attend us in here, can reach us through SES (Sağlık ve Sosyal Hizmet Emekçileri Sendikası – Health and Social Service Worker’s Trade Union)
Fidan Kanlıbaş – Education Unit
I am teacher who is not assigned and I am in Suruç for 55-56 days. In the first days there was the problem of sheltering so I worked there, but after sheltering got in order, I passed to my field, to education unit.
There was no space for children to do activities. We started to give education in between tents but after winter conditions came, the open spaces were not feasible. We borrow tents of families for sometime but there was the need for a permanent solution.
The first activities we made outside showed us the way. For all children, they have one foot in war. There were a lot of kids who did not speak, who are withdrawn, who draw dark scenes in their pictures, who are through trauma. In fact they make us remember that we should do something for them. As so, we decided to create small areas for them. Creating these small places meant communicating with them directly in their own classes, determine them better; reach children in a much better way.
First we divided children population to age groups, than we formed classes. In our first tent, it is started to taken each age group separately for one hour. Already with the first contact, the need for Kurdish education came to light. We started to give Kurdish education by using the curriculum in Kurdish schools. No one of the children knows Latin alphabet. Their language is Kurdish but they write in Arabic alphabet. The ones who didn’t go to school are already in the level of zero. Therefore we started the study for how to read and write for all kids. In the next phases, we added math, painting and music classes. Our classes will increase more with time. We would divide the classes more easily after.
We took more steps to meet our needs after building schools in the tent cities. We made call via social media, we asked for school materials. As long as the materials arrived we increased the number of schools in the tent cities. Now we are gathered in 4 tent cities. 3 classes and 1 kindergartens in Rojava tent city, 2 classrooms and 1 kinder garden in Suphi Nejat Ağırnaslı, 5 classrooms and one kinder garden in Arin Mirxan and 3 classrooms and 1 kinder garden in Kobanê tent city. Education has been continuing for 3 weeks for children between ages of 3 to 10.
For the matter of urgent needs of the schools… We have the tents, but we are lack of desks. In the Kader Ortakaya tent city the education couldn’t start since the desks didn’t arrive yet. School materials such as notebook, pen, color and school bags are missing. As they are details, nobody can think about sending them.
On the other hand, we need educators. Teachers who are sensitive about Kobanê, who wants to do something about Kobanê, should move in coordination. There are thousands of people and hundreds of children in the center of Suruç, in the villages, and in the tent cities, here for 60 days; there is the need for determination of them. The children will be determined; it will be checked if there is a teacher in the determined field and such as a systematic work will conduct.
To carry out this work, we established a teacher’s council. We try to get the knowledge of Kobanê teachers and we try to get the teachers in the council. What we see is that they reproduce themselves when they take a part.
We need people who will organize and conduct all these. Sometimes we are 3 people; we think how we save where. The war continues with the same intensity as in the first day. The psychology of people is not completely recovered.
So, we call for all educators. We call educators to here to work with us, to make determinations, to understand the needs in the villages, to get responsibilities and to create spaces. And to attend the teacher’s council.
In the war, the control might be in YPG now, which gives us power psychologically. However the needs for here are different. These people can stay here much longer. Even if Kobanê survives the city these people would turn back is now destroyed, sacked. There will be reconstruction and rearrangement of Kobanê. This will be a long period. There shouldn’t be the idea that people will turn back when the war finishes.
Edip Meriç – Activist in Border Watch
I am here for almost 2 months. At first, I worked in the health unit for 15-20 days. Then I passed to the warehouse unit. Lastly, I am in the education unit. I take charge in the border of Kobanê where the watch demos take place.
There were the villages are emptied but protests in the border still continues. Since the state realized that the protests in the border have motivated fighters in Kobanê, they evacuated villages like Dewşen, Etmanek.
What do we do in the protests here? We sign the songs and marches by the fire. Sometimes we become sad, sometimes we dance the halay and we let the other side to hear our voices. We got the news from there also that they hear our voices.
From the first day of these protests, there were a lot came and gone. Grandpas came through Dersim associations. Ashouras are distributed through Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Association; meals are distributed via local municipalities. There were people coming from abroad and going back too. Though I think these round trips should turn into permanent ones.
The friends came has to turn back in 3 days, 1 week as they have to continue to their normal life. We make the protests to generalize the resistance, to not to leave border empty to get more people every day.
The most important feature about watch protests is, of course, the communal life. The communes are the places where our general life style and our model of democratic autonomy come into existence. Our life in the border takes shape through communes. Without the gender discrimination we cook together, prepare breakfasts, we clean all around.
Every canton has its autonomous process. For example, in the Miseynter village there is a language platform. After the platform activity, there is a march to the border where Kader Ortakaya is slaughtered, and sticking the candles there. Then we continue with dancing halays.
I was a person from Muş lives in Istanbul; with three buses we came to Hasankeyf Festival in Batman. From there we passed here for 10-15 days. In fact I came here just to stay 3 days but I am here more than two months. The reason is conscience. I don’t think to leave here before this war ends up in victory.
The struggle in Kobanê is not only for the borders of Kobanê, it is also a war against the dictatorship in the present society of Turkey. Here, all the folks generate themselves. Every watch activist lives herself, creates her own space. We want all people and society in Turkey to come here, support our protests in the border, take a part of the communal life here.
My last word is, Kobanê did not fall and will not. We are here until the ISİS gangs dies off.