It’s not in the Kedis­tan style to shear the wool off the back of those we sup­port, nor to seek per­son­al glo­ry from that support.

Our friend, jour­nal­ist and artist Zehra Doğan has been back in prison since June 2017. Our read­ers know this and the more assid­u­ous among them have known of Zehra and her strug­gle for two years, since we devot­ed a first arti­cle to her. A rela­tion­ship formed with the jour­nal­ist, the woman and the artist which led Kedis­tan mag­a­zine, with­in its lim­it­ed means, and with the help of its read­ers fol­lowed by an increas­ing­ly large sup­port group, to start a sup­port cam­paign for her pro­tec­tion and to press for her liberation.

As we had launched the idea with oth­ers in Novem­ber 2016 to sup­port writer Aslı Erdoğan, under threat of life impris­on­ment in Turkey, to “read and have oth­ers read her texts every­where”, begin­ning of 2017, we start­ed set­ting up the pos­si­bil­i­ty of exhibit­ing Zehra’s work across Europe, and of mak­ing the con­text of her work known.

Of course, this cam­paign was orga­nized with Zehra full agree­ment, as she worked non­stop, from her tem­po­rary place of exile in Turkey while await­ing her def­i­nite sen­tenc­ing that led to her sec­ond incar­cer­a­tion in June.

This relent­less work cov­er­ing close to 50 works done in order to tes­ti­fy with great strength and urgency, and with the tal­ent that is hers, was then “escaped” from Turkey at her request, along with some of her texts.

A pub­lish­er we had met a few months ear­li­er, offered to con­tribute to this escape. This led to the writ­ing and pro­duc­tion of a book, in all urgency, in July 2017. A book that, from then on, accom­pa­nied the exhi­bi­tions that took place and that sev­er­al of you have acquired.

In order to man­age all the steps rel­a­tive to the exhi­bi­tions, their set­ting up, insur­ance and rights, the Asso­ci­a­tion Des Amis du Kedis­tan had of course tak­en the pre­cau­tion with Zehra of enter­ing into a con­tract in due form, not for the “exploita­tion” of Zehra’s intel­lec­tu­al and artis­tic rights, but for “their man­age­ment, entire­ly free of charge”.

We then dis­cov­ered a world we did­n’t know, that of the com­merce of Art, of Pub­lish­ing, of “cul­tur­al play­ers”. And – as in all worlds – both its good and bad things, its good and bad people.

A few of us at Kedis­tan have now learned to keep “good faith” in our pock­et when ven­tur­ing into that microcosm. 

The pub­lish­er of the book “Les yeux grands ouverts”, ded­i­cat­ed to Zehra Doğan has now bru­tal­ly slammed the door on the cam­paign while want­i­ng to col­lect its “ben­e­fits”.

Hun­dreds of copies of the book, pre­pared with­out a con­tract with the pub­lish­er, in urgency and good faith, have now been sold. Almost 500 of them were sold dur­ing the exhi­bi­tions by vol­un­teers and activists, by asso­ci­a­tions orga­niz­ing the events and direct­ly on Kedis­tan’s web­site. Oth­ers, through book­stores, since January.

Who could accept that a pub­lish­er col­lect the finan­cial ben­e­fits of this vol­un­teer work after she had com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing the ven­ture with no oth­er finan­cial con­sid­er­a­tion than recov­er­ing the pro­duc­tion costs of the book? 

We are not fools at Kedis­tan. We know we live in a world where cap­i­tal­ist prof­it is the rule. But when such invites itself into a sol­i­dar­i­ty cam­paign, and what is more with an ele­ment of pre­med­i­ta­tion betray­ing a rela­tion­ship based on trust, we are astounded.

Kedis­tan will work to pro­tect Zehra’s rights from this com­mer­cial greed, and expects this pub­lish­er to return to earth – and to legal­i­ty: that she enter into a con­tract with the admin­is­tra­tors of Zehra Doğan’s rights, that she pay the debts cov­er­ing trans­la­tion, the use of visu­als, the remu­ner­a­tion of col­lab­o­ra­tors to the book, and Zehra’s droits d’au­teur emol­u­ments, still unpaid. All this rep­re­sents a not-insignif­i­cant amount owed to our friend, who can­not defend her­self since she is a pris­on­er in a Turk­ish jail. We might add that the authors, the pho­tog­ra­ph­er, the trans­la­tor had, from the out­set, announced their inten­tion to donate these ret­ri­bu­tions to Zehra’s sup­port fund, man­aged in full trans­paren­cy online HERE.

We hold a clear man­date in this respect: Arti­cle 4 © “The legal rep­re­sen­ta­tive (Amis du Kedis­tan) insures that emol­u­ments owed to the artist are rapid­ly col­lect­ed and remit­ted to the artist by those par­ties thus indebt­ed to her.” 

We had tak­en these pre­cau­tions pre­cise­ly to avoid this type of abuse of a state of weak­ness against Zehra which might have been the work of art mer­chants or of unscrupu­lous oth­ers. Appar­ent­ly, this was not enough, and we are forced to drag the mat­ter out in the open in order to denounce it.

We feel total­ly respon­si­ble to all the peo­ple and asso­ci­a­tions, activists, and read­ers who, from the begin­ning, have accom­pa­ied this sup­port cam­paign for Zehra and we have com­mit­ted to trans­paren­cy with all. 

Need­less to say,  all this also has a rela­tion­ship with a cer­tain can­cel­la­tion of a Parisian exhi­bi­tion, where can be found the same play­ers who know each oth­er from way back.

For Kedis­tan, sol­i­dar­i­ty has no price tag, nor can it be com­mer­cial­ized, espe­cial­ly when these preda­to­ry prac­tices imper­il a sup­port cam­paign tes­ti­fy­ing to three years of ongo­ing mas­sacres in Turkey. 

And while we must attend to these low blows, our main infor­ma­tion mis­sion is affect­ed at a time when, more than ever, the real­i­ty in the Mid­dle-East calls for tes­ti­mo­ny, infor­ma­tion and analy­ses, mat­ters at the heart of our rea­son for existing.

Les Amis du Kedistan

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges

Sou­tien mil­i­tant ou sol­i­dar­ité busi­ness ? Cliquez pour lire

Vous pouvez utiliser, partager les articles et les traductions de Kedistan en précisant la source et en ajoutant un lien afin de respecter le travail des auteur(e)s et traductrices/teurs. Merci.
Kedistan’ın tüm yayınlarını, yazar ve çevirmenlerin emeğine saygı göstererek, kaynak ve link vererek paylaşabilirisiniz. Teşekkürler.
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.
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.
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.
KEDISTAN on EmailKEDISTAN on FacebookKEDISTAN on TwitterKEDISTAN on Youtube
Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.