Imam Sis, who has been on a hunger strike to protest the isolation imposed upon Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Ocalan for almost two months in Newport, Wales, said the hunger strike makes him feel free.
Imam Sis has been on a hunger strike in Newport, Wales for 50 days. A banner that reads “Down with slavery, long live freedom” stands out in the locale the hunger strike is held in. There is another poster that points to Leyla Guven’s hunger strike. Imam Sis started to talk about the purpose of his hunger strike next to a wall with the KCK and HPG flags as well as a photograph of Ocalan. He was wearing a red-yellow-green keffiyeh and a white t-shirt that said “Freedom for Ocalan”.
Sis started his speech with a quote from Ocalan: “The Leader says death may very well be just a fear.” He continued:
“Outside, life for Kurds is truly worse than the grave. Without freedom. The Leader says, anywhere is a dark dungeon without freedom. It truly is. Right here right now, I feel free. In an article, Ali Haydar Kaytan says Kemal Pir once exclaimed, ‘How amazing is freedom!’ When I decided to go on this hunger strike, I did the same thing. At a time like this, when people lay their bodies on the line for freedom, I put forth my own free will and I felt free. I felt the freedom to be a comrade to many friends who are fighting for freedom. My conscience is very clear. I do have health issues but this depth of emotion and thought doesn’t allow for worry. To continue to the end, whatever may come, to lock on to that makes one feel good.”
I AM GRATEFUL TO GUVEN
Imam Sis said he is “grateful to Leyla Guven for this opportunity” with her hunger strike.
Sis said he feels this is a historic resistance and added: “With these protests, with the synergy to be created in these hunger strikes, I believe the isolation will be broken. My faith in this knows no bounds.”
Sis said they want to lend their voice and strength to Guven’s struggle: “And I wish I could also visit Strasbourg.”
WE HAVE SHOWN EVERYBODY THAT WE DON’T ACCEPT THE ISOLATION
Sis said the spirit of this struggle is the same as the July 14 spirit, referencing the great death fasts in the Amed dungeon during the fascist military coup in 1980. Sis said: “I have faith that the struggles in various lands will break the isolation in a short time. With that, many patriots support the hunger strikes, organize demonstrations and engage in diplomacy. There are faults and shortcomings, but this has created something. People have come together around the struggle here. (…) If it wasn’t for these protests, maybe we on the outside would get used to the isolation or normalize it. But the patriotism we put forth has shown friend and foe alike that that won’t be the case. The isolation imposed upon the Leader should never be accepted.”
GETTING USED TO OCALAN’S IMPRISONMENT DOES NOT BECOME ANY KURD
Sis pointed out the 40-year long struggle of Ocalan and said: “Forgetting that, getting used to his imprisonment, accepting the situation does not become anybody, especially not any Kurd.”
“We must be Leader Apo’s comrades,” said Sis and continued: “We must take his freedom as a basis and live freely in Kurdistan with a free Leader. We must at least be able to dream about this. When we dream, we can act. But if our dreams are just a big house and a good car, our humanity will fail.”
Hunger striker Sis said: “Our reality, our truth is in Kurdistan. Our roots are there.”
“IF THE CPT WAS REALLY TO PREVENT TORTURE…”
Sis spoke about the Turkish state’s blatant oppression, massacres and threats and protested the silence of international institutions. On the stance the Committee for the Prevention of Torture has taken, Sis said: “They are silent. If they really were there to prevent torture, just an appeal should have been enough. But many people have had to put their bodies on the line to force these institutions to take action.”
KURDS SHOULD COME TOGETHER AROUND THE HUNGER STRIKES
Sis questioned why the Turkish state is not pressured and stressed that the West has a share in all the oppression.
Sis called on the Kurdish people to build a life more focused on Ocalan’s freedom. Sis said they are ready to pay the price, and added: “But while we do, people’s conscience should also rise up. The process should be supported. The Kurdish people should come together around the hunger strikes with a spirit of insurgence and make the outside world hear our voice.”