News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
The following article “Kobanê and Dikmen” was written by Metin Yeğin and appeared in Özgür Gündem. It has been translate into English below.
We were going with members of the MST (Brazilian Landless Workers’ Movement) to occupy a piece of land. It was night. We had long sharp machetes, a few small arms hidden among us, and sheets of black nylon in order to start building new shelters as soon as we arrived. There were 80 families with us ready to begin a new life. Almost no one was speaking. Words were lost amidst the excitement. The machetes cut through through a large fence. The small arms wouldn’t come out unless needed. The people flowed into the property over the broken boundary wall. Children were sleeping in their parents laps or else or wandering around this new land groggy from sleep. Fires were lit. People began to unload their things from the trucks. Mattresses, blankets, small pots and pans, chairs they had carried on their backs. There were even a couple of counters that had come from old dining rooms. Day began to break. A sign on the broken fence read ‘hydroelectric power plant construction site.’
With this occupation MST was killing two birds with one stone. On one hand they were acquiring land for landless families, and on the other hand they were strengthening the struggle against the construction of hydroelectric power plants, one of the biggest reasons for the destruction of nature.
Although Kobanê and Dikmen – a district in the Turkish capital of Ankara where locals are resisting the destruction of their homes under the pretense of urban renewal- are quite from one another this is another example of the ‘two birds with one stone.’ On the one hand as the reconstruction of Kobanê is debated in the capital it might develops into a new form of practice in the capital itself. On the other hand Kobanê is serving as an opportunity to develop thinking around democratic architecture, a communal economy and ecological cities as part of the new ways of thinking that emerged during the resistance. As we have said many times before, the complex of state, class and race which has been pushed around the globe and which today is once again showing itself in Baltimore in the United States is the same complex looming overall the cities of world which are coming to resemble the cities of the Middle East. However there can either occur a humanization of Kobanê and Dikmen, which have suffered from two different forms of destruction, or life can continue in Kobanê as a city left to the chronic attacks of ‘urban renewal.” This is to say either lands will be occupied recognizing the right to shelter, people will be settled in abandoned neighborhoods, homes will be built through collective construction. That is two, three more Kobanê’s…
Just a little correction: Dikmen is a district in Ankara, the capital city of Turkey. For almost ten years, the locals are resisting to the state and municipality, so they could not demolish the houses of Dikmen people on the grounds that “urban renewal”.
The district on Turkey’s Black Sea coast where locals have been struggling against the construction of a hydroelectric power plant is Hopa in Artvin.
Thank you – correction noted and made in the article!