Kurdish New Year Festival

Laws of history are stronger than laws of artillery!

Saturday March 20th saw the advent of the Kurdish New Year festival “Navroz”. This festival was marked by displaced Kurdish communities world wide as well as Kurds throughout Turkey: a courageous assertion of nationhood in view of the astonishing level of cultural repression there prevalent, which forbids the Kurdish people by law to utter so much as a word of their own language in their own country.

The assembled Kurds and supporters marched from Manor House to the venue of their celebrations in North London’s Finsbury Park where a great number of Kurdish cultural troupes gave wonderful performances, which were broadcast live to approximately 40 million people around the world on Med TV satellite channel. These artistic performances were interspersed with speeches given by representatives of Kurdish and British political organisations. Socialist Labour National Executive Committee member Harpal Brar was present to represent the SLP as well as the Indian Workers Association (GB). We reproduce below a summary of his speech, which was enthusiastically received by the 40,000 strong audience.

“On behalf of the SLP and the IWA(GB) I have the pleasure and the privilege to bring warm fraternal greetings to this magnificent rally and cultural gathering. We in the SLP and the IWA(GB) unreservedly support the right of the Kurdish people to Self-determination and to have an independent state of their own if they so desire.

“In this context, we resolutely condemn the abduction of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the Workers Party of Kurdistan (PKK), from Kenya by the intelligence services of the United States, Israel and Turkey with the connivance of the Greek and Kenyan governments. This abduction, and the handing over of comrade Ocalan to the Turkish butcher regime is a shameful violation of Ocalan’s right to political asylum by the very same hypocritical governments who prattle nauseatingly about human rights in and out of season.

“By abducting Abdullah Ocalan, and incarcerating him in some Turkish dungeon, by unleashing repression on the Kurdish population, the fascist Turkish regime and its imperialist backers may delude themselves into thinking that this will be the end of the Kurdish struggle for national liberation. Let them however know that the laws of history are stronger than the laws of artillery! The Kurdish people are on the move. No force on earth can prevent the successful outcome of their struggle

“Speakers from this platform, as well as the spokesmen of the imperialist bourgeoisie, have hypocritically demanded that Abdullah Ocalan be given a fair trial by the Turkish authorities. Our position is very different from theirs. We in the SLP and the IWA(GB) demand the unconditional release of comrade Ocalan and his return to the Kenyan capital Nairobi – the place of his abduction. From there he must be allowed to seek asylum in a country of his own choice. The Turkish butcher regime has absolutely no right to put him on trial.

“Comrades, imperialism talks about human rights, but everywhere tramples these rights under foot. Its purpose, in the Middle East as elsewhere, is not to promote human rights but to extract the maximum profit and to employ all forms of intimidation, use unprecedented violence, and practise undisguised banditry and brigandage to this end. Imperialism’s main interest in the Middle East is to loot the oil and other mineral wealth of the peoples of that region. We in the SLP and the IWA(GB) are firmly of the view that the mineral wealth of the Middle East belongs to the peoples of the Middle East and no one else. Further, we are firmly of the view that there will be no peace in the Middle East unless and until imperialism stops its interference of the countries of this region. In particular, there will be no peace in the Middle East until such time as the Palestinian and Kurdish peoples’ right to self determination, and an independent state of their own, is fully recognised and enforced.

“I Thank you comrades for listening to me”

It is of interest to note that since this festival was broadcast to the world, the





– under strong pressure from the Turkish regime and British imperialists – has attempted to silence the Kurds’ voice of protest by suspending the broadcasting licence of the Kurdish satellite channel “Med TV” for a period of 21 days, saying the channel (which broadcasts across Europe) was “

likely to encourage or to incite crime

“. This is nothing less than a graphic demonstration of the fallacy of imperialism’s much vaunted “freedom of speech”. We are free to speak in support of imperialist policy and actions, but when it comes to criticism, all avenues of electronic and printed media are firmly closed. The Kurdish people, however, have a proud history of anti-imperialist struggle and will not be silenced so easily. Besides, with regard to the Navroz celebrations, the stable door has been shut after the horse has bolted.


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