Türkçe | English

Here is an Eng­lish trans­la­tion of the col­umn writ­ten by the Fran­co-Chilean film mak­er Car­men Castil­lo in sup­port for Nûdem Durak, pub­lished in French on May 22 2020 in Le Monde. We are shar­ing it accord­ing to her wish and with her authorization.

Nûdem Durak had no other weapon than a guitar

■ 1974 : it was not so long ago, but the times of ter­ror seem so slow in dis­ap­pear­ing. I was arrest­ed by Pinochet’s polit­i­cal police fol­low­ing a raid on our clan­des­tine shel­ter. My com­pan­ion was one of the cadres in the Chilean resis­tance; he lost his life under fire and I owe my own life to inter­na­tion­al sol­i­dar­i­ty. Our com­rades had all fall­en, or almost all, one after the other.

Many were tor­tured, some would remain for­ev­er “dis­ap­peared”. The putschists held me in a mil­i­tary hos­pi­tal since I had been wound­ed by the explo­sion of a grenade. I was not aware of the fact that peo­ple were mobi­liz­ing for my lib­er­a­tion: I only found out when I arrived in Eng­land, expelled, at the begin­ning of a long exile.

Angela Davis [Amer­i­can activist, for­mer mem­ber of the Black Pan­thers] had then giv­en me her sup­port — thanks to a vast inter­na­tion­al cam­paign, she had been acquit­ted two years ear­li­er, after being incar­cer­at­ed and becom­ing one of the fig­ures of strug­gling Afro-Amer­i­cans. It was said of her that she was a “ter­ror­ist”. It was said of us, of me, Mirists (from the left­ist rev­o­lu­tion­ary move­ment, in Span­ish Movimien­to de Izquier­da Rev­olu­cionar­ia, MIR) and of oth­er activists, because we were fight­ing for jus­tice and equality.

The same word is used today, exact­ly the same, to describe Nûdem Durak, the 32 year old Kur­dish singer, sen­tenced in Turkey to nine­teen years of imprisonment.

For five years already, she has been liv­ing in a cell. Mean­ing, five years too many. This ques­tions our own free­dom; no wall, no jail­er has man­aged to pre­vent this mir­a­cle: her voice can­cels out the dis­tance. Nûdem Durak has no oth­er weapon that a gui­tar. She sang in her mater­nal lan­guage, long pro­hib­it­ed by suc­ces­sive Turk­ish gov­ern­ments. She raised her clear voice high to sing the mem­o­ries, the strug­gle and the dreams of her peo­ple, oppressed for so many decades and by so many States.

And because she was resist­ing — and goes on resist­ing still — one of those States, a sys­tem based on ter­ror, has attempt­ed to silence her by using the word which par­a­lyzes: “ter­ror­ism”. Nûdem was beat­en, placed in iso­la­tion. Her gui­tar was smashed, peo­ple gave false tes­ti­mo­ny in order to con­demn her. But the State-run death machine has lost already: her voice reach­es us, per­haps even more pow­er­ful­ly than before, as does that of Grup Yorum and of its musi­cians who died these past few days, fol­low­ing a much too long hunger strike.

An inter­na­tion­al lib­er­a­tion cam­paign “Free Nûdem Durak”, was launched recent­ly in France and, already, from Alge­ria to the Unit­ed States, from Moroc­co to Swe­den, from Sene­gal to Guade­loupe, peo­ple are pay­ing atten­tion to this voice. I hear that Angela Davis — whom I do not know per­son­al­ly — has once again called for the lib­er­a­tion of an impris­oned woman — an artist.

The singer becomes heaven and earth”

And I sur­prise myself liv­ing each one of her songs like a total expe­ri­ence: I slip into the inner face of the sound of her words, words the mean­ing of which I attempt to catch; I fill my cur­rent life with Nûdem’s tales and moun­tain land­scapes. The future, the present and the past, hers, ours, mine, con­sole one anoth­er, speak to one anoth­er, unite.

Writer John Berg­er wrote than when a great singer sings “not a sin­gle cor­ner of silence or inno­cence remains, life’s coat is turned inside out, the singer becomes heav­en and earth, the past, and the future start to sing one of the songs belong­ing to one and the same life.” 

So yes, my gen­er­a­tion’s resis­tance meets that of hers, of theirs, because there can­not be a polit­i­cal pris­on­er with­out a col­lec­tive. No indi­vid­ual with­out a peo­ple resist­ing. That is the cen­turies-old thread, unin­ter­rupt­ed, painful and joy­ful, nation­al as well as world-wide, demand­ing jus­tice and equality.

One day, an inter­na­tion­al mobi­liza­tion lib­er­at­ed me — not every­one was grant­ed this chance.

So I have no oth­er choice than to attempt, with oth­er tiny grains of sand against the machine, to make this cry be heard: free­dom for Nûdem Durak and for all polit­i­cal prisoners.

Car­men Castillo

#FreeNudem­Du­rak #FreeAllPo­lit­i­cal­Pris­on­ers

You can sup­port Nûdem Durak

Petition Free Nûdem Durak • Facebook @nudemdurak • Twitter @NudemDurak • Instagram @freenudemdurak • Youtube Free Nûdem Durak • Write to Nûdem and her friends in prison: Nûdem Durak M Tipi Kapalı Cezaevi Bayburt – TURKEY

Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges – iknowiknowiknowblog.wordpress.com
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Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.