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On her sen­tenc­ing doc­u­ment, there appeared a pos­si­ble ear­ly lib­er­a­tion date of Feb­ru­ary 24 2019. And so, Zehra Doğan was allowed to leave jail today.

Tonight, she will not look at the stars by gaz­ing at a plas­tic one under a bunk bed. “I will spend two years with this plas­tic star glued on my bunk bed. I will live with this arti­fi­cial star until Feb­ru­ary 24th 2019, as with a real sky. Con­vinc­ing myself of that is one thing, but the fact of being con­demned to it, sup­pos­ed­ly as a pun­ish­ment, strikes me as absurd”, she wrote on Octo­ber 7 2017.

Today, Zehra Doğan is free at last.

But what was it she said about “free­dom” in Turkey?

The oth­er day I went out to the hos­pi­tal. I was look­ing through the tiny win­dow in the blue Ring (pris­on­er trans­port vehi­cle). I looked at the peo­ple. They were rush­ing around. Life goes on. But curi­ous­ly, I felt no nos­tal­gia. I even felt pity and was sad­dened over them even more. I said to myself ‘these peo­ple are not aware that they are pris­on­ers. The only dif­fer­ence was the fact I was in the blue Ring with hand­cuffs’. I did not wish to take the place of a sin­gle per­son who was walk­ing down the street at that moment. They were also hand­cuffed but they did not feel it. It made me feel fun­ny. Mov­ing slow­ly under the grey sky through the suf­fo­cat­ing and frozen streets, in the mass of peo­ple with frozen expres­sions and emp­ty skulls, at that moment, I wished to get back to jail as soon as possible…

I’m angry at myself for that wish, but what can you do. I think I am not well. I think that, in this sit­u­a­tion, none of us is well.”

Ley­la Güven said some­thing of the same thing when she was lib­er­at­ed. “What is this Turkey, this free out­side world where I expe­ri­ence things in a strange way, and less col­lec­tive solidarity?”

Turkish jails thus have an inside and an outside.

Is this a rea­son to hide our joy at see­ing Zehra free at last from the stone walls?

Of course not.

Zehra has final­ly come out of jail! This is news worth cel­e­brat­ing for all those who have sup­port­ed her since 2017 and who have hoped so hard for her offi­cial liberation.

Zehra Doğan is thus free in that Turkey under sur­veil­lance, this is the good news we were all awaiting.

All of us here at Kedis­tan would have loved to embrace her this evening.

But the kedi are “per­son­nae non gra­ta” in the coun­try of the Reis. We will set­tle for these words she sent us and with the emo­tion we expe­ri­enced when the news was confirmed.

Since July 2017, so many peo­ple have labored across the world, so many indi­vid­u­als, artists, writ­ers, jour­nal­ists, and so many anony­mous ones so that “nev­er a name would be allowed to sink into the unknown”, to use the words that are inscribed some­where in the mot­to of the P.E.N. Inter­na­tion­al Club, the asso­ci­a­tion sup­port­ing empris­oned writ­ers and artists under under which her pro­tec­tion from the regime occurred through the net of soli­car­i­ty. Kedis­tan per­formed a role in this, as you know. Touch­ing so much as a hair on Zehra’s head would have start­ed a war at Kedis­tan.

Thanks again to all those who con­sol­i­dat­ed this sup­port over the months, to the great media per­son­al­i­ties such as Banksy and Ai Wei­wei, to the jurors who awared prizes to Zehra for her courage and her free­dom of expres­sion, to the major inter­na­tion­al asso­ci­a­tions devot­ed to free­dom of expres­sion and to human­ists who accom­pa­nied us and who used the logis­ti­cal sup­port we had mod­est­ly put in place in order to feed their own ini­tia­tives. This lib­er­a­tion belongs to them, and is tan­gi­ble proof that no act of sol­i­dar­i­ty is use­les or done in vain.

Shar­ing our joy with you is not hard. All of us look for­ward to embrac­ing Zehra.

And we take the oppor­tu­ni­ty to announce anoth­er piece of news: a vast num­ber of her “let­ters from prison” will be pub­lished in French by “Edi­tions des Femmes” this year. What bet­ter edi­to­r­i­al show­case than this one!

You can already begin watch­ing for this book’s pub­li­ca­tion and plan­ning ini­tia­tives around it — who knows, with Zehra in per­son? As for a look at her visu­al works, don’t for­get many of her orig­i­nals will be exhib­it­ed at the Rennes Opera House in March

In upcom­ing days — expe­ri­ence is our teacher in this — vig­i­lance will be in order, so as not to allow the regime to find a new motive to imprison Zehra. Her free­dom, her right to cir­cu­late, depend on the main­te­nance of your support.

All of your sup­port will take on its full mean­ing for Zehra when she will final­ly be in a posi­tion to live her life in a future she will have freely cho­sen. At age 29, as a Kur­dish woman and an activist who does not need to demon­strate her strength and the legit­i­ma­cy of her strug­gle, a future opens up before her, one that has not fin­ished fill­ing us with enthusiasm.

For more infor­ma­tion on Zehra Doğan: you may look up her web­site and Kedis­tan’s spe­cial dossier on Zehra Doğan

Many thanks,

To PEN International, and all the PEN of the 5 continents, especially the English PEN and French PEN Club, the Editions des Femmes for their precious support, to Sadık Çelik for meeting us with Zehra ; to Titi Robin, Erik Marchand, Denis Péan, Coline Linder, Christophe Bell’oeilEléonore Fourniau, Nolwenn Korbell, Güler Hacer Toruk, Sylvain Barou, Neşet Kutaş, Groupe Yıldız, Ruşan Filiztek , Mireille Mast, Yohann Villanua, Haydar İşcen, for their musical support, to Aslı Erdoğan and Aynur for their warm messages, to Banksy, Ai Weiwei, Gianluca Costantini, Elettra Stamboulis for their artistic and heartfelt support, to the entire Lucie Lom team, especially to the photographer Jef Rabillon who archives all of Zehra’s artistic work and to Philippe Leduc, our precious artistic advisor who marvellously sets the stage for Zehra’s exhibitions, to Monique de l’Eclat de verre for her talent and attention to the framing of the works, to Mathieu de Docuworld for all impressions, to Michel Bernard for the Rallumeurs d’étoiles for the magnificent star balloons dedicated to Zehra, to Refik Tekin, photographer journalist, long time friend, to Marie Laverre and her colleagues at the DBD, Les Arts Dessinés and Les Cahiers de la BD, to Jacques Tardi and Dominique Grange for their moving support, to Catherine and Bruno Ferrari for their omnipresence, to Catherine Barat for being the creative witch she is, to Niştiman Erdede for her commitment at heart, all the plastic artists who created for Zehra, including Véca to mention only one name, they are many… to the actors Daniel Mesguiche, Bernard Froutin, the friends of Le dire et l’écrire and all the voices that gave life to Zehra’s texts, to Louis Mathieu and all the friends of Cercle 49 who teleport immediately to where they need to go, to the troupe of the Arbre Compagnie, which takes Zehra even further, to Maite and Renée Lucie Bourges, whose translations have carried the words of Zehra sans frontières, to all the translators who helped us, to the café associatif Rallumeur d’étoiles in Martigues and Nathalie Jhn for the incessant support evenings. A big thank you to all those, persons or associations in Europe, including Festival de Douarnenez, Amitiés Kurdes de Bretagne, Amnesty Detmold, Asyl in Not, Kaxilda, Kurdish Art Fair who were accomplices and facilitators for the exhibitions, to our partner Roj Info, but also to CDKFthe Kurdish Women’s Movement and all the others who have relayed information and calls, to the journalists who have supported their colleague, particularly to Güler Yıldız and Geneviève Bridel of RTS, to all our friends and close circle who have always been there to cross joys and obstacles, they will recognize themselves…
and of course, a big thank you to all those who heard and understood Zehra and sent her letters and thoughts,
but also to Zehra, for bringing so many beautiful people together…

With Denis Péan, Col­ine Lin­der and Mireille Mast…

With Col­ine Lin­der, Eléonore Four­ni­au and Nol­wenn Korbell

With group Yıldız and Michel Bernard’s star…


Pho­to Refik Tekin

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges

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Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.