January 2015 saw the first meeting in Dundee – a talk and discussion on the Kurdish Revolution, with Roza Salih, hosted by Stobbie4Aye – and a public meeting in Unison House, Glasgow titled ‘Save Kobane, Defeat ISIS’.
In April Kurds commemorated the anniversary of the Halabja massacre at Queens Park, Glasgow, and SSK had a stall at the STUC Congress in Ayr (pictured here with Unison General Secretary, Dave Prentis),
and another stall at the Hope over Fear Rally in George Square.
Our co-chairs, Stephen Smellie and Roza Salih, spoke about the Kurdish struggle, the defence of Kobane and the fight against ISIS at the Glasgow May Day Rally.
And the following week we commemorated the 9 May Kurdish martyrs with a seminar at Glasgow’s Unison House led by the PJAK, the Free Life Party of Kurdistan.
On 19 June we organised a fringe meeting at the Unison National Delegate Conference, with an emotional standing ovation for Honar Kobani who lost four brothers in the war against ISIS but said all who died are his brothers.
And the next day the University of Strathclyde Student Association held a public meeting on the Kurdish Question where they awarded an honorary life membership to the imprisoned Kurdish leader, Abdullah Öcalan. Speakers included the award-winning writer, James Kelman. (See the report in Third Force News.)
In July, after a gathering of young activists preparing to help rebuild Kobane was bombed in the Turkish city of Suruc, some Glasgow activists organised a solidarity demo at the Buchanan Street steps.
In August we had a stall at the Unison Family fun Day at New Lanark
In September a Scottish delegation visited Dyarbakir (Amed, in Kurdish) in south eastern Turkey. A busy programme included meetings with HDP MPs, trade unionists, community organisers and a film maker. The delegation was made up of Stephen Smellie, Roza Salih, Sarah Collins, Paul Toner and Viv Thomson.
This is Lisa who is a film maker and Director of the Diyarbakir Film Festival and the Middle East Academy of Film based in the city. On June 5, before the Turkish general election, she attended a rally in support of the HDP. A bomb went off and 5 people were killed, 7 plus Lisa lost limbs and 400 were injured. Lisa in fact lost both legs. When we met her she was recovering and with help from friends was trying to raise money so she could travel to Germany to get prosthetic legs. She hoped to get back to making films in the future. She was an inspiration. No police were injured in the blast. Police investigations have failed to identify who was responsible.
Delegation members reported what they had seen at public meetings at the Augustine United Church in Edinburgh and Strathclyde University in Glasgow.
On 15 October Kurds organised a protest in Edinburgh against the bombing of a pre-election peace rally in Ankara. While the Turkish government blamed ‘terrorists’, Selahattin Demirtaş, co-chair of the HDP, who had been involved in organising the rally, made it clear who they believed was culpable: ‘This attack… is perpetrated by the state against the people. We are witnessing a massacre here. A cruel and barbarian attack was carried out. The death toll is high.’
On the 1 November we commemorated the first anniversary of the lifting of the siege of Kobane with a small rally in George Square and a public meeting.
On 4 November we held a meeting in the Scottish Parliament,
and on 15 November we welcomed HDP co-chair, Figen Yuksekdag to Scotland.
In Unison office with John Stevenson, Stephen Smellie, Viv Thomson and Margaret Gallacher
Meeting Alyn Smith MEP