Memed Aksoy, a Kur­do-British film-mak­er died in Raqqa, vic­tim of an attack by ISIS that also killed a Kur­dish jour­nal­ist and fighters.

At 32, he paid with his life a com­mit­ment that gave mean­ing to his exis­tence and had led him to jour­nal­ism, a tire­less activism for the Kur­dish cause, and had made him a stal­wart defend­er of the process under­way in Rojava.

Like so many oth­ers who fled to Europe, forced into exile as vic­tims of the Turk­ish army’s exac­tions, his fam­i­ly had tak­en refuge in Lon­don in the nineties. He was ten years old, of an age to under­stand and to remem­ber the theft of his childhood.

He stud­ied jour­nal­ism and cin­e­ma in Eng­land. He was the co-founder of the Lon­don Kur­dish Film Fes­ti­val, the founder and edi­tor-in-chief of the pre­cious web­site Kur­dish Ques­tion.

Memed went to Raqqa last July 22 to join the Press ser­vice of the Kur­dish People’s Pro­tec­tion Units (YPG). All sum­mer long he filmed the fight­ing in and around Raqqa. His reports were relayed via social media. They pro­vid­ed a pre­cious source of infor­ma­tion for those jour­nal­ists in Great Britain and else­where who were intent on obtain­ing oth­er infor­ma­tion than the cut-and-paste ver­sions from offi­cial news agencies.

His bru­tal death at the hands of ISIS while using those only weapons that were his, makes him the fifth British vol­un­teer “fight­er” to lose his life in the confrontations.

Yet out­side the alter­na­tive media, almost no head­lines men­tion the death of this jour­nal­ist, save for some Eng­lish-lan­guage pub­li­ca­tions such as The Tele­graph, The Guardian.

In a sim­i­lar fash­ion, if a “known” French jour­nal­ist had not met a French vol­un­teer short­ly before his sec­ond depar­ture for North­ern Syr­ia, no one would have known of his exis­tence …nor of his death against ISIS.

On Kedis­tan we have relayed as “Ordi­nary Chron­i­cles from the Front” notes and writ­ings of vol­un­teer for­eign fight­ers with the YPG. We have also opened our pages to oth­er “fight­ers” with a more “civil­ian” stance.

Until Eutelsat’s refusal to broad­cast its pro­grams and its sub­se­quent “move”, we also had a part­ner­ship with the French edi­tion of Ron­ahi TV that gath­ered its sources from jour­nal­ists present along­side the fight­ers, as was Memed Aksoy.

Because the top­ic “sells”, the main­stream medias over here talk about the Dji­hadists who have left from var­i­ous parts of Europe to join ISIS, with­out insist­ing too heav­i­ly so as not to fos­ter “call­ings”. But the top­ic is always present in a TV stu­dio or when a book­seller is invit­ed to ratch­et up the fear fac­tor as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for a state of emergency…

When Loup Bureau was tak­en hostage, these medias sud­den­ly dis­cov­ered there were young peo­ple who, because of a need to under­stand or to exor­cise the unnam­able, also chose to leave, moti­vat­ed most often by a desire to tes­ti­fy, doc­u­ment and sup­port with their skills those the coali­tion would like to use as “foot sol­diers”, the very ones the coalition’s lead­ers acknowl­edge as “the best fight­ers against ISIS.”

The forces with­in the North Syr­i­an Con­fed­er­a­tion are not fooled by the atten­tions bestowed on them by the “coali­tion”. They know full well that the Syr­i­an Demo­c­ra­t­ic Forces have a vital need of them to defend their pop­u­la­tions from the hideous beast called ISIS, and that for this rea­son, they need logis­ti­cal aid, weapons and sup­port. Kur­dish prag­ma­tism is at work, even if it is occa­sion­al­ly brand­ed as “trea­son” by rev­o­lu­tion­ary purists who hold forth with­in their factions…

But it isn’t because the coali­tion “makes use” of this vital defen­sive need against ISIS in its attempt at elim­i­nat­ing the “can­cer”, that it sees with a benev­o­lent eye the dis­sem­i­na­tion of infor­ma­tion on the real­i­ty of this fight and, most of all, on the future of the local pop­u­la­tions for which the strug­gle is car­ried out.

For a time, some pre­ferred to show “uni­formed fash­ion car­toons” rather than put forth the role played by women; then, pref­er­ence was giv­en to the war spectacle…while keep­ing mum on the two-year old war with­in Turk­ish bor­ders, against the Kurds once again…

On this top­ic, we should also recall that in 2016, a famous jour­nal­ists’ asso­ci­a­tion “for­got” the name of Zehra Doğan and of oth­er Kur­dish jour­nal­ists in Turkey (because they were not card-car­ry­ing mem­bers of the pro­fes­sion) despite the fact that these for­got­ten jour­nal­ists had con­stant­ly called atten­tion to the mas­sacres and destruc­tions ongo­ing since mid-2015 in local­i­ties with­in the Turk­ish area of Kur­dis­tan. Luck­i­ly, the P24 plat­form went beyond “acci­den­tal omis­sions” that are often coverups for nation­al polit­i­cal divi­sions with­in the oppo­si­tion, for one, and touch upon the dis­tinc­tion main­tained between “offi­cial jour­nal­ism” and non “objec­tive” journalism…

No one can pre­dict the future of the ongo­ing process in Roja­va and beyond it. It is hard to think out in detail the after-Raqqa, although the process of region­al and inter­na­tion­al alliances is begin­ning to loom in threat­en­ing shad­ows. The Kur­dish move­ment is aware of this. More than ever, it will need sup­port in its inten­tions and in its will for the future.

To this pur­pose, jour­nal­ists with or with­out press cards, acknowl­edged by their peers or not, play an essen­tial role.
How do you think Kedis­tan finds its sources?

They do not write from agency reports but from the real­i­ties they live and doc­u­ment. And if they are often blamed by per­ma­nent cor­re­spon­dents in Turkey or else­where of endan­ger­ing jour­nal­ists because they take risks their agen­cies are not will­ing to cov­er, we think they deserve to be hon­ored instead of cov­ered over in igno­rant silence when they die.

Let there be no mis­un­der­stand­ing, how­ev­er : the pur­pose here is not to oppose “real” or “false” jour­nal­ists, real press vs enter­tain­ment and com­mu­ni­ca­tions, in order to stand with the “good guys”. The point is much less sim­plis­tic. And can­not be cov­ered in three lines, espe­cial­ly when it comes to the Mid­dle East and all the polit­i­cal stakes under­ly­ing its wars.

Kedis­tan joins in the trib­ute paid to Memed Aksoy by the dif­fer­ent “Kur­dish Cen­ters” in Europe and calls on the jour­nal­ists’ unions to break the wall of silence around the grave of one of their own, a silence main­tained by their col­leagues in their respect for a sacral­ized “objec­tiv­i­ty”.


En français : Memed Aksoy • Sa flamme brillera tou­jours ! Cliquez pour lire

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