Some of Zehra Doğan’s prison writ­ings will be pub­lished in French, end of Octo­ber 2019, by Edi­tions des Femmes – Antoinette Fouque, under the title “Nous aurons aus­si de beaux jours”.

Note to the English translation:
Zehra Doğan’s book is being published in French. So why is Kedistan providing an English translation to this information? For two reasons: the first being that many English-speakers read French, and enjoy doing so. Secondly, for those who do not understand French, there may exist some interest in seeing the book’s publication in English translation. In the meantime, here is what Kedistan has to say about Nous aurons aussi de beaux jours (We will also know fine days).

Français | English | Castellano

While Zehra’s visu­al works done under cen­sor­ship in prison were escap­ing from Turkey, as had been the case for those of her clan­des­tine peri­od in Istan­bul pri­or to her defin­i­tive arrest in 2017, she was also writ­ing, writ­ing… An abun­dant cor­re­spon­dence, inter­rupt­ed by peri­ods of pro­hi­bi­tion, led to cov­er­ing a vast num­ber of pages for close to three years.

Let­ters sent to her were writ­ten on wrap­ping paper Zehra could use for her draw­ings.  The let­ters she wrote described the inner world of the prison, the sol­id com­mu­ni­ty in the wom­en’s quar­ters of the Gaol in Amed, incar­cer­at­ed lives like peel­ing walls that invite inter­pre­ta­tion, just as do cof­fee grounds. The let­ters are filled with life, like flow­ing water. The words some­times turn into images, oth­er times into prison ses­sions of  phi­los­o­phy as once hap­pened in cof­fee hous­es, some­times they speak of the upright woman, the pris­on­er both rag­ing and free. There is no lack of poet­ry, nor are chil­dren absent either.  And there are more words surg­ing forth than the num­ber of bars in the work Banksy cre­at­ed in sol­i­dar­i­ty with her.

Zehra Doğan 2

Zehra Doğan 2019
pho­to by Jef Rabillon

Zehra writes the way she draws, with her guts as a woman. And when we final­ly met after her release last Feb­ru­ary, I knew her already, proud, free, obsti­nate only too often rea­son­ably so, and  per­sis­tent as an artist. Watch­ing her cre­ate always caus­es won­der­ment at the appar­ent ease of her move­ments, as forms emerge, as the tech­niques acquired in jail in the absence of all sup­plies, give life… We find the same appar­ent ease in her writ­ing. “I would have writ­ten bet­ter, had I known…” she says.

These many let­ters form a web filled with anec­dotes, frag­ments of the lives of her co-detainees, child­hood mem­o­ries, charges against patri­archy, polit­i­cal cries and, most of all, Kur­dish heart, Kur­dish col­ors and the pow­er of hope…“We will also know fine days.”

 At the end of 2018, dur­ing an exhi­bi­tion of Zehra’s works, Aslı Erdoğan wrote what follows:

They say a human being must write with the body, a naked body, a bared one…Because it is the blood­’s mir­a­cle, to send words  into life…

 Sev­en­ty years ago, in con­cen­tra­tion camps, some artists wrote poems on toi­let paper and paint­ed with their blood. Today, in Turk­ish jails, there is Zehra Doğan. Who, because her sup­plies are confic­sat­ed, paints with her blood. And who, because her works are con­fis­cat­ed, bleeds again and again.

 Cre­at­ing a brand new world — this will be the mir­a­cle of  blood, where every­thing will recov­er its true meaning!

 A nos­tal­gic embrace to Zehra and to all the oth­er friends in jail. We, pris­on­ers, man­age to embrace in oth­er ways.”

Today, this tor­ment­ed soul, signs the pref­ace to these prison writ­ings. These two woman have done so much in order to reveal the unsayable to the world that it is only nat­ur­al they should meet here.

The meet­ing between Zehra and Les Edi­tions des Femmes was also a fine moment. Zehra feels at home there. In fact she will exhib­it some of her works in their Paris gallery in Novem­ber, where some of her writ­ings will be read by her friends for the French PEN.

These days, Zehra Doğan is trav­el­ling through parts of Europe, the way her escaped works did before her. There will be no lack of exhi­bi­tions in 2020. Kedis­tan will report on them. Zehra has turned into a Kur­dish nomad. As she did at the Tate Exchange in Lon­don, as soon as she came of of jail, she is unceas­ing­ly archiv­ing and denounc­ing the nega­tion of Kurds, the unpun­ished mas­sacres, the cul­tur­al oblit­er­a­tion. Her nomadism will also feed her cre­ativ­i­ty. She has no lack of projects, for her­self and most of all for her mil­i­tant activism, her jour­nal­is­tic fiber… Zehra is in the ado­les­cence of her art, of her pow­er as a fight­ing woman. She has not fin­ished sur­pris­ing us.

And I am proud and hon­ored to have put French words on her texts, along with Naz who strug­gled so stren­u­ous­ly with this liv­ing mat­ter to trans­late it from the Turk­ish, and who did not wish to keep this cor­re­spon­dence to her­self. Of course, Zehra would have pre­ferred writ­ing in Kurdish…But her tongue is for­bid­den and dis­crim­i­nat­ed against, just as she was for­bid­den paint­brush­es for over two years.

Kedis­tan relies on its read­ers to act as the book’s best ambas­sadors. As of today, every­one can pre-order from their local booksellers.

Must I repeat that it is a pro­found­ly fem­i­nist and polit­i­cal book, filled with the poet­ry of the liv­ing, as would be the ivy escap­ing along the walls.

Zehra Doğan

Zehra Doğan 2019
Nat­ur­al pig­ments on can­vas. 92x97 cm
Present­ly on exhi­bi­tion at Cor­ba­ta Rosa – Rochefort sur Loire
pho­to by Jef Rabil­lon

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Let­tres mod­ernes à l’Université de Tours. Gros mots poli­tiques… Coups d’oeil politiques…