150 days. For 14 Kurdish men and women in Strasbourg, for Imam Şiş in Wales, 150 days without food. From the short days of December to the long evenings of early summer. And still their demand is not met. Ocalan, their imprisoned leader, saw his brother – the first time in 2 years. But only once. He saw his lawyers – the first time in nearly 8 years. But there is no guarantee that they can meet again. While the hunger strikers recognise their achievement, the strike goes on.
But there has been another achievement – harder to notice because more gradual. An achievement that cannot be annulled at the whim of the Turkish government. The Kurdish freedom movement has gained a new strength. We can see it in the protests of the prisoners’ mothers, where every act of state repression steels Kurdish resolve. And we can see it outwith Turkey too. Despite mainstream indifference to a cause that muddies geopolitical ambitions, truth is leaking out.
The hunger strikers have raised their standard high so that it is impossible to ignore. But they cannot do much more. Now it is up to us – to the growing numbers who have been moved by their cause – to take up that standard and carry it forward.
(To find out more about the Kurdish hunger strike, which was started by Leyla Guven 189 days ago and now includes over 7000 people, and get a link to a letter you can send to help, click here.)