Outrage at the Turkish invasion has prompted emergency protests across the world, and we, in Scotland, are playing our small part. As soon as we woke on Monday morning to the news that Trump was pulling out US troops, we got out an article in Commonspace and started planning demonstrations. On Wednesday morning, the Kurdish Community in Edinburgh were outside the Scottish Parliament, and then the US Consulate, where they were joined by Ross Greer MSP, co-chair of the Cross-Party Group on Kurdistan. You can hear his strong support here:
He has also co-ordinated a letter from MSPs to the US Ambassador: Letter to US Ambassador Scottish MSPs Turkey NE Syria 2019.10.09 (If your MSP isn’t on it this is probably due to the need to get the letter out quickly rather than lack of support.)
The Kurdish Community had planned to follow Wednesday’s demo with a silent protest outside the National Gallery the next day, but after Turkey had launched their attack on Wednesday afternoon, no one was going to remain silent! The demonstrators carried posters of people from the UK who had died fighting, as members of the YPG and YPJ, for freedom and a better world.
On Thursday evening it was Dundee’s turn, with local Kurds and other Dundee folk joining together in our hastily arranged show of solidarity. Despite the unsympathetic weather and the late hour, several passers-by not only stopped to listen, but joined us on the protest.
On Saturday we will be on the streets again, with our national demonstration in Glasgow.
As long-standing London-based campaigner, Mark Campbell, has observed, support for the Kurds is at unprecedented levels. So far, though, all that this has produced from those with the power to act is sympathetic words. These don’t make the no-fly zone that the SDF are so desperately calling for. If we are to force them to do more than talk, these protests can only be a small beginning.
Every day, now, we see further evidence of the crisis in human civilisation, and the triumph of forces that would propel us towards the abyss. The Kurds and their neighbours in Northern Syria are taking a stand against those forces and for a better society. They are the vanguard of the fight back. If we can’t support them, the future looks bleak indeed.
The Kurdish struggle is out struggle. It is hard, but it is what gives life its purpose. As the Kurds say: Resistance is life!
Saturday’s demonstration – called by SSK and supported by the STUC – is at 1.30 pm at the Buchanan Steps, Glasgow