Yesterday’s rally ended with a call for international solidarity from Sarah from SSK. You can watch her speech here (from 1.53.10 to 1.59), or read it below.
As our Catalonian comrade has reminded us, although we’re campaigning for a Scottish solution that is constitutional and peaceful, in many places the fight for independence, autonomy, even for basic freedoms, is harder, and people are putting their lives on the line.
As supporters of independence and of the right to self determination, we want to show our solidarity with others who have campaigned for the right to run their own lives, to enjoy their own culture, and who have been met with brutal suppression by bigger nations that are intent on denying them their separate identity, and want to just exploit their resources.
We want to show solidarity with the Palestinians, who are denied equal status within Israel, and even the ability to run their own economy in blockaded Gaza and a West Bank that’s overrun by Israeli settlements.
We want to show solidarity with the Kashmiris, who have faced decades of violent repression by the Indian army, which has made this paradise one of the most militarized areas on earth, and who, just two weeks ago, were deprived of even their nominal autonomy and told they were now to be run from Delhi. To enforce this, India has put Kashmir into lockdown, imprisoning politicians and human-rights activists, shutting schools and offices and closing off all communications to the outside world.
And we want to show solidarity with the Kurds, who have combined their struggle to express their cultural identity, with the struggle for a better form of society. We talk about another world being possible. They are making a better world. The Kurds of Northern Syria used the political vacuum that was created by the civil war to establish an autonomous region that’s based on a bottom-up democracy, which emphasises women’s rights and a multicultural society, and an ecological society, too. Their grassroots politics and community values provide a model for everyone looking for an alternative to our greed-based system.
They had only begun to get this established in Northern Syria when they were attacked by ISIS. They fought back and turned the tide against the ISIS forces. They liberated large areas of Syria at the expense of thousands of young lives. But now they are being threatened by the full force of the Turkish army, the second largest army in NATO. Their fate depends on the political machinations of Turkey, the US, Russia and Iran – all of them in Syria for their own selfish interests.
By making more people aware of the Kurds’ position we can try and make it that little bit harder for these new imperialists to wipe the Kurds from the map. We owe them a huge debt, not just for their fight against ISIS, but for proving that a better world is possible.
All these struggles can inspire us through their determination. The benefits of solidarity go both ways.
I want to end with a word that is very familiar to the Kurds, and also to the Kashmiris: AZADI! FREEDOM!