Zehra, is this then the way women live? Aragon would have written to you in this way, we are sure of it.
But your words are the ones we are inserting in this article, the ones with which you could have answered him.
Words, short excerpts, of letters you sent us. There would be so many others, among the most recent, where you speak of “strength” and of the confinement that makes you draw strength from within in order to share it with your jailed companions.
So until you can speak to the many, when your drawings and canvasses will finally be exhibited before their eyes in the coming months, in Geneva, Paris, in Brittany or again in Southern France, we set down your words here, in disarray…
And for those who don’t know you well, we simply remind them there is a book that talks about you…
“As for our section it is surrounded by barbed wire. Even the barred windows are covered over with barbed wire. Every night, two stars appear in the sky. To see them, I climb toward the window. But this time, the barbed wire cuts off the view…”
“We live a communal life all together. Everything we own is held in common. Even our pain and our joy are common. And this makes a human being strong.”
“I keep on drawing on newspapers, even if it’s with a ballpoint. I’ve also started writing short stories. Here, every woman has a different story. I’m thinking of writing their stories and illustrating them. If I come out some day, I’ll also be able to paint them on canvas. In those moments my incarceration doesn’t weigh too heavily on me. In those moments, inside and outside appear the same to me. The heaviest is telling yourself you are not guilty, that the real crime is in accusing you unjustly, and that the person facing you is no different than a cold wall.”
“Then, the letters arrive… I fill up with enthusiasm, telling myself there’s life somewhere.”
“Here, each one has her story. A friend keeps saying : ‘They stole our dreams from us. We can’t dream anymore.’ And it’s true. Through trying to protect ourselves from the violence and thinking about what can happen to us at any moment, we can’t build our dreams anymore. Life is tough, but if you’re a Kurd or from any other oppressed people in any other country, then life is ten times tougher.”
“It’s as if we were an accursed people. There is no childhood, no youth. They didn’t allow us to live anything. If we were asked, perhaps we would be the ones best able to describe happiness, because we hunger for it. It’s the person about to die of thirst that can best describe water. The same is true for us.”
“I draw constantly in my head. I transform the slightest form. For instance, be it nothing but a bit of chipped paint on the wall, I see figures in it. I draw on the newspapers. I write stories. In the future, I hope to hold a exhibition where, next to each painting of a woman, there will be her story.”
Zehra who loves you very much.
Summer 2017, Amed Gaol
At Kedistan, we never cease repeating that our commitment to supporting Zehra Doğan through her trial of imprisonment is linked to three essential things.
• First of all, in these three years, she has become a friend, as journalist, as woman, as true rebel, a kedi by adoption…
• She has gone through these last years living and embodying the strength of a humanity preserved against the savagery of a State, a humanity she has expressed as an artist/journalist and a Kurdish woman. Four qualities fought by the steam roller and the obscurantism of the AKP regime in Turkey.
• She speaks for all of us, and gives up nothing of her will to remain in collective speech and solidarity, despite this second jail term. “The Stone Building” will not have the best of her.
So, after having managed the escape of her works, some of us have imagined how we could have Zehra speak beyond the walls of the building.
The book that will be in bookstores in Januray has opened the way and the voice. The exhibition, now ready for all the hangings, will open “the eyes”.
We will have the opportunity to talk more widely of the present and the past in Turkey, of the possibilities opening up in the Middle East, despite the barbarity and the war. Every solidarity will be woven large.
So what can you do at your end?
• You can write to Zehra, on condition of doing so in Turkish. You will find models you can copy HERE. You can organize writing workshops, you can make others discover the book…
PLEASE NOTE: A forced removal measure has just been taken by the Turkish State against Zehra Doğan. She has been sent to the sinister prison in Tarsus (October 23, 2018). READ: Turkey • Zehra Doğan deported with 20 prisoners
None of the correspondence sent to to the former address in Diyarbakır prison will reach Zehra. New address:
Zehra Doğan C‑3
Tarsus Kadın Kapalı CİK
Alifakı Mahallesi Alifakı sokak
Tarsus – MERSİN
• You can help us reimburse the loan that allowed for the logistics of this campaign, for the exhibition, the framing of 50 works (6000€). The fund drive appeal is HERE.
• Buying the book via the Kedistan website means an automatic 6 € in the kitty. You can place orders around where you live. The book will be in bookstores in January.
• You can contact us to organize events in 2018, knowing that a program is already underway which we will advertise very soon. An exhibition of 20 high-quality reproductions will be available as of December at favorable rates for the modest budgets of local associations…
• You can share these articles on your social media pages, with your lists of friends… Get into the habit, by clicking on the link on the right of the article, it’s important.
We do not freely publish “images” of Zehra’s works. Kedistan now is mandated to protect Zehra’s intellectual and artistic property and she intends to sell these works in 2019. The funds from this sale will go to the families of prisoners and to those who lost everything during the destructions of these past three years.
All media may of course participate in their fashion by taking advantage of the special dossier. AVAILABLE HERE.
Zehra Doğan must recover her freedom and your support will contribute to that aim.
If, for Aragon, “woman was man’s future”, it is said that she will also be the future of the Middle East…
Zehra Doğan, Aragon t’aurait écrit aussi…