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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #294 - Tamara (former Kurdish detainee): " In the prison, there is a great collective struggle " (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]
Thu, 23 May 2019 09:39:55 +0300
In Kurdish prisons, the struggle of political prisoners continues, with several hunger
strikes already deadly. But if detention is a test, it is also a moment of solidarity and
formation. Tamara, a 20-year-old Kurdish classmate, spent more than a year in the
Diyarbakir Women's Prison (Amed) before being released. Last year, she told the prison
daily and collective organization in a brochure produced by the collective Ne Var Ne Yok.
---- Can you tell us first when did you go back to prison, how long did you stay, and what
were you accused of ? ---- Tamara : I came back in the fall of 2015 after four days in
police custody where the cops violently beat me. And then I went to court. I was accused
of being part of the YDG-H organization. I stayed one year and three months in prison. I
went out after the second judgment. At the third hearing, the court declared that I was
not guilty, they did not find anything about me. I was taken one year and three months of
my life "only".
So, did you end up in Diyarbakir Women's Prison ?
Tamara : Yes, I was in a type E prison, where militant women are imprisoned. We were 35
people. Nobody can do what he wants in it. All those locked up are for political reasons.
The atmosphere is nice between us, everyone listens, we all try to continue life as we
can. If there is a problem, we stop, we discuss and explain, without ever fighting. There
are different tasks on a daily basis, and we do everything in common. Each one is
responsible for the collective, and for what must be done.
The guards and the military do not look at us at all the same way as the other detainees.
They are harder and stricter with us. But inside, there really is a great collective
fight. In relation to the enemy, your behavior is very clear. There is no step back. We
know what to do.
For example, if there is a problem with the matons, if they shout at us or insult us. It
happens rarely, but if it happens, we start fighting directly against it. We are locked
inside, we are being searched, repressed, but they know that if they start to create more
problems, we will not let it go. And they have that fear.
A typical day, how's it going ?
Tamara : We get up together at 7:30 ; it is we who decide to get up at this hour. The
reason is that when they come to count us, they do not see us in their pajamas or awake
awake. It's our discipline, it's our rule: they can not see us in a situation of
"weakness". When they come to count us, we have already had our breakfast, the beds are
Other than that, we use our incarceration time a lot to learn and politicize more, or to
change our consciousness. One gives oneself hours to read books, and then one discusses
with the friends around the books that one or the others have read. We just take breaks to
eat, but we quickly return to our readings during times of collective silence. There are
also times a little more formal, where we divide some books to do after presentations in
front of all others. Each one has a kind of responsibility in the tasks of the day.
Finally, in the evening, from 7 pm to 10 pm, it is often another reading beach, where one
puts more emphasis on how one tries to change oneself. Or we watch movies about the
history of struggles. There are some friends who know these films and who introduce them
to us. Those who want to watch them do it, downstairs, in the room provided, and the
others remain to read in the cell ...
The walkout is free ? You can circulate in which spaces ?
Tamara : We have a space of two floors. Downstairs, there is the refectory, and it is not
we who prepare meals, except kahvalti, breakfasts. And up there, there are spaces to sleep
and read. For the walk, one can go there freely. The courtyard is open at 6 am and closes
at 4 pm in winter and at 7 pm in summer. But we stay pretty inside.
Was there a building for men ? And a separation with prisoners of " common law " ?
Tamara : For example, where I was, it was in an E type woman building. The men are in
another building. Those who are there for stories of drugs or crimes, those who are not
"political" are on one side, and militant men are on the other. As for women. And, among
the politicians, they sort out, and do not put jihadists and revolutionaries together.
We almost never meet fellow men locked in the other building, it is very rare. After the
purges of July 15, 2016, the state also locked Gülenists accused of the coup attempt, but
they were not seen either. It's very compartmentalized.
Fresco of the artist Banksy made in New York on March 16, 2018 in support of Zehra Dogan ,
a Kurdish feminist sentenced in 2017 to two years in prison for a cartoon denouncing the
destruction of the city of Nusaybin in 2016. Zehra left prison on February 24, 2019.
As for the struggles inside, what forms does it take ? Are there any escapes ?
Tamara : There, right now, there are hunger strikes for a number of claims, including
detention conditions. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not work, and sometimes it
dies. It is to be heard. There are also actions where slogans are slogans for a while in
But the demonstrations of support organized outside, it is more often for the prisoners
condemned for crime ... And escapes, it is very rare. The last one was in type D, where
six comrades managed to escape. It was last year. It was great, they were not picked up,
and after that, they sent hello from Qandil .
Now that you're out of prison, how are you going to continue fighting ?
Tamara : It was really another period, the prison. Now that I'm out, and I've started my
life, it's a bit weird. Bizarre to find myself with friends with whom I can speak
normally. It's so different when you're inside.
Once you are outside, you have the impression that you do not see this light, this
collective force, so intensely, every minute. It makes you like a little injury. But for
me, I feel like I'm fighting all the time. It's not just a period. It's not something an
hour, a week. At the moment, it's hard to project. Politics in Turkey, every month it
changes. But the fight is all the time.
Complete interview to find on Ne Var Ne Yok's blog
 The PKK holds a vast maquis in the Qandil Mountains, in Kurdistan of Iraq.
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