[Marxism] Tariq Ali in Kurdistan

Kevin Prosen kprosen at gmail.com
Mon Nov 13 18:23:08 MST 2006

LRB Diary
by: Tariq Ali
Nov. 16th, 2006


It was barely light in Istanbul as I stumbled into a taxi and headed for the
airport to board a flight for Diyarbakir, the largest Kurdish city in
eastern Turkey, not far from the Iraqi border. The plane was full, thanks to
a large party of what looked like chattering students with closely shaved
heads, whose nervous excitement seemed to indicate they'd never left home
before. One of them took the window seat next to my interpreter. It turned
out he wasn't a student but a newly conscripted soldier, heading east for
more training and his first prolonged experience of barrack-room life,
perhaps even of conflict. He couldn't have been more than 18; this was his
first time on a plane. As we took off he clutched the seat in front of him
and looked fearfully out of the window. During the flight he calmed down and
marvelled at the views of the mountains and lakes below, but as the plane
began its descent he grabbed the seat again. Our safe landing was greeted
with laughter by many of the shaven-headed platoon.

Only a few weeks previously, some young soldiers had been killed in clashes
with guerrillas belonging to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). It used to
be the case that when Turkish soldiers died in the conflict, their mothers
were wheeled on to state television to tell the world how proud they were of
the sacrifice. They had more sons at home, they would say, ready and waiting
to defend the Fatherland. This time the mothers publicly blamed the
government for the deaths of their sons.

read the rest here: http://www.tariqali.org/LRBdiary2.html

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