Zehra Doğan • A message to the Festival of the Other Worlds

Zehra Doğan

For the opening of the Festival of the Other Worlds, Zehra Doğan has sent an audio message from the infamous jail in Diyarbakır.

The Festival will be exhibiting some 70 of her original works. Half of them were created using the limited means at her disposal inside the jail and despite her guards’ vigilance. She is forbidden all artistic supplies, leading to an art of resistance which she presents in this opening message.


Choose your language by pressing subtitling.

On behalf of the 50 women imprisoned here

Dear Participants,

On behalf of the 50 women held prisoner here, I send you greetings from the prison in Amed, the name of which is inscribed in the history of resistance.

If we can reach you and have you hear our voices from this place where they want to silence us, it is thanks to the collective struggle, no matter where it may be in the world, thanks to you.

The only motive for my imprisonment is the fact I shared a child’s wish for peace and made a drawing of the destroyed town of Nusaybin. I’m sure you will agree I was jailed by a family of dunces who do not know the meaning of Law and Justice.

Yet, taking a stand against the persecution carried out before our eyes is a great responsibility that must be inherent in human nature. Not fighting against persecution would mean that we do not have faith in conscience, goodness, justice and change. It would mean that we have given up from the onset.

This is why in this narrow space to which I am confined, I do not feel vanquished in the least.

If truth be told, those who feel vanquished are those who settle for watching the massacres, the killings by the bombings. They are the ones who sink into despair. And the victors are those who never cease resisting, no matter what their circumstances, no matter where they may be.

This is precisely what the Kurds are doing now, as they struggle to survive against injustice. The Kurdish women do not give up the fight, despite all the difficulties. This is precisely why they are specifically targeted. For they fear that the women they oppress and whose bodies they lock up, the ones whose existence they deny, will set up their own resilience.

Since the beginning of time, we have always had – and always will have – our word to say about the patriarchal powers, about the merchant brains that transform us into work machines and who even look at our procreation as a value added feature.

In Turkey at the moment, over one hundred journalist and artists, such as myself and thousands of political protesters are detained. Some deputies are presently in jail. But we do not really see ourselves as prisoners. Because we know that the ivy of our thoughts spreads out and beyond, and blossoms like beautiful flowers.

Our search for beauty continues here also. As Tarkovsky said: “The one who does not want truth does not see beauty either” (Sculpting in Time). This is why we never cease seeking beauty through our thoughts.

In finding nourishment in the struggle of Kurdish women, with my writings and my art, I attempt to purify our land soiled by blood. I would like that all that has been forgotten, vanished, not be forgotten and that the truths cling to my canvasses. This is why I am in jail.

Now that I am here, they do not give me my artistic supplies. This not being enough, they confiscate the pigments I obtained from food residues… and my drawings too.

But I do not have the choice of justifying throwing in the sponge for those reasons.

My testimony tells me I do not have this luxury. My struggle has taught me there does not exist any real impediment to creation. And if such did exist, it would be nothing other than one’s own self.

Your support which gives meaning to what I do has helped me find my true Self. I will come out of this place which is the greatest symbol of the denial of my existence, being myself, thanks to the struggle, thanks to you…

Thank you for this organization. Kedistan, Naz Oke, Minoterie, and all those who have contributed.

I salute all of you with the “youyous” of the Kurdish women’s resistance.

Zehra Doğan


Zehra Doğan’dan Başka Dünyalar Festivali’ne ileti Okumak için tıklayınız
Zehra Doğan • Message au Festival des Autres Mondes Cliquez pour lire
Zehra Doğan • Mensanje para el Festival de Otros Mundos Haga clic para leer

Image à la une : Exposition à Angers, Tour Saint Aubin, janvier 2018

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Ji kerema xwere dema hun nivîsên Kedistanê parve dikin, ji bo rêzgirtina maf û keda nivîskar û wergêr, lînk û navê malperê wek çavkanî diyar bikin. Spas.
Translating by Kedistan. You may use and share Kedistan’s articles and translations, specifying the source and adding a link in order to respect the writer(s) and translator(s) work. Thank you.
Traducido por Kedistan. Por respeto hacia la labor de las autoras y traductoras, puedes utilizar y compartir los artículos y las traducciones de Kedistan citando la fuente y añadiendo el enlace. Gracias
Renée Lucie Bourges
REDACTION | Auteure, traductrice et interprète

Née au Québec dans une famille franco-irlandaise, elle a vécu et travaillé comme rédactrice et traductrice en Amérique et au Moyen Orient. Elle réside dorénavant dans le sud-ouest de la France d'où elle écrit des romans en anglais, et fraternise au quotidien avec tous les autres funambules de son espèce. Site Internet : iknowiknowiknowblog.wordpress.com

*A word to English-speaking readers: in all instances where the original text is in Turkish or Kurdish, the English version is derived from French translations. Inevitably, some shift in meaning occurs with each translation. Hopefully, the intent of the original is preserved in all cases. While an ideal situation would call for a direct translation from the original, access to information remains our main objective in this exercise and, we hope, makes more sense than would a translation provided by AI....
Renée Lucie Bourges

REDACTION | Auteure, traductrice et interprète Née au Québec dans une famille franco-irlandaise, elle a vécu et travaillé comme rédactrice et traductrice en Amérique et au Moyen Orient. Elle réside dorénavant dans le sud-ouest de la France d'où elle écrit des romans en anglais, et fraternise au quotidien avec tous les autres funambules de son espèce. Site Internet : iknowiknowiknowblog.wordpress.com*A word to English-speaking readers: in all instances where the original text is in Turkish or Kurdish, the English version is derived from French translations. Inevitably, some shift in meaning occurs with each translation. Hopefully, the intent of the original is preserved in all cases. While an ideal situation would call for a direct translation from the original, access to information remains our main objective in this exercise and, we hope, makes more sense than would a translation provided by AI....

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