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Zehra Doğan want­ed to par­tic­i­pate in her own way to the world-wide mobi­liza­tions set off by the killing of George Floyd in the Unit­ed States. She did so from a dis­tance, in Paris, on Rosa Parks wall, with the first edi­tion of a wall news­pa­per: “The Hard Times”.

At a dis­tance, because she is not wel­come these days in the Unit­ed States, con­sid­ered there as poten­tial­ly “dan­ger­ous”, because of being sen­tenced to jail for a draw­ing she did of the town of Nusay­bin, destroyed by the Turk­ish armed forces. This same draw­ing was pro­ject­ed on New York walls by street artist Banksy, above the mur­al he pro­duced at the time in order to draw atten­tion to her imprisonment.

Artist and jour­nal­ist Zehra Doğan, now a free nomad in Europe, knows in her body — because she was born a Kurd — what it means to see your life negat­ed by oth­ers, in uni­di­men­sion­al State sys­tems of oppres­sion, as the one in nation­al­ist Turkey. Racism that pre­vails as the ide­ol­o­gy there allows con­sid­er­ing the oth­er as infe­ri­or, with­out an exis­tence of his or her own.

In her let­ters from prison, she described as an exam­ple, how her eyes dis­cov­ered racism very young as a child when she encoun­tered it in school, or under the guise of bill­boards illus­trat­ing a venue where Kur­dish labor­ers gath­ered and which read: “The dogs’ place”.

And so, encoun­ter­ing George Floy­d’s pub­lic assas­si­na­tion, encoun­ter­ing the face of the mur­der­ous police­man, so sure of his impuni­ty, she could not but feel the surge of anger, first, and of sis­ter­hood, imme­di­ate­ly after. The his­to­ry of oppres­sions and dom­i­na­tions has its racist cohorts, jus­ti­fy­ing the unspeak­able and under an often­times mono-col­ored “uni­ver­sal­ism” negat­ing all real­i­ty where necessary.

Zehra is both a jour­nal­ist and an artist. Thus, this is how she reacts to the world-wide emo­tion and acts in her own way. And this action serves as the begin­ning of a series of oth­ers. For the “dark times” are legion, every­where in the world.

She also want­ed that this action always be col­lec­tive and, in con­crete terms, that it take form each time as phys­i­cal­ly close as pos­si­ble to events, and involve locals, as here in Paris. Our thanks again to them.

THE HARD TIMES | Oppression creates its own resistance

Transna­tion­al Edi­tion — Paris — June 2020 — n°1

Created by Zehra Doğan – Editor: Naz Oke – Text: Lucie Bourges

The Hard Times Zehra Dogan

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  • Zehra Dogan The Hard Times n°1

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