february 21, 2022
Let us protect our language and identity!
On today’s 23rd International Mother Language Day, we congratulate Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan], who has allowed nothing to prevent him from turning the hopes of a people whose culture, identity, language and existence are forbidden and denied into a struggle for freedom. We commemorate all our Şehits [fallen] who accepted their own deaths for the protection of the existence, language, values and freedom of their people and have thus become immortal. At the same time, we congratulate our resistant people who, despite all the bans, oppression, intimidation, torture and killings, insist on singing songs, shouting the Zılgıt and telling heroic stories in their own language. In the same way, we congratulate all other peoples of the world on the 23rd International Mother Language Day.
Language represents one of the most important aspects of the formation of the human being and society. It is one of the most fundamental means of communication through which the development of social culture is made possible. In this sense, every language is the bearer of a culture.
Language is not only the main factor for the emergence of social mentality, but also the basis for the construction of society. Only through its own language does a people become a nation. Only by preserving its language can a people protect its existence as a society. Language, therefore, represents the basis of collective consciousness. The development of society and the development of language are closely related. The opposite is also true: a society that loses its language ceases to exist. This is because language, just like culture, represents the memory of a society. It is an expression of a society’s mentality, way of thinking, emotions and moral values. The more a society develops its mother tongue, the higher its standard of living. A society whose language has been banned, which has lost its language and has been forced under the exploitation and hegemony of other languages, is subjected to assimilation and genocide.
In the course of the official state policy, which continues today as part of the capitalist system, the existence of numerous languages has been massively endangered. Due to the policy of nation-states aiming at homogeneity, started since the beginning of the 20th century in many parts of the world, many countries have in fact turned into language cemeteries. The nation-states – these enemies of democracy – have made monolingual education compulsory everywhere through their policies deliberately aimed at destroying languages and cultures. The most effective way to assimilate a society is to ban its language. Undoubtedly, the heaviest blow to a society is not being able to speak its own language, forgetting it and becoming more and more alienated from it. It is inevitable that a society that has forgotten its language will also lose its own culture, history, identity and memory. This is precisely the sociocide that is systematically carried out on the basis of the nation-state mindset.
More than 10,000 years ago, a language revolution took place in Kurdistan under the leadership of the Kurdish woman, from which the entire humanity benefited massively. Yet today, in this very region, the people who made this revolution possible are forbidden to read, write, sing songs, engage in politics, laugh and cry in their own language.
Numerous UN and European agreements define the free use of language as the most basic, universal right, and any violation of it is called cultural genocide. Nevertheless, the Turkish, Persian and Arab nation states have severely damaged the Kurdish language and culture and deprived our people of any possibility to experience education in their own mother tongue. By denying the Kurdish language and culture along with all its literary, historical and musical works, the hegemonic states have driven the Kurdish language and culture to the brink of its annihilation. These are inhumane, fascist measures used by the nation-states against our language and culture, for which there is no comparable example in the entire world. The silence of the UN and UNESCO in the face of this ongoing destruction of a language and this cultural genocide are an expression of their support for these policies.
Even on today’s International Mother Language Day, members of our society are imprisoned for teaching in Kurdish. They are killed for singing Kurdish songs. Our language and cultural institutions, which were built under the greatest difficulties, are being closed. Our detainees are prevented from defending themselves in their mother tongue and punished for dancing halay to Kurdish music.
This immoral, fascist mentality does not hesitate to degrade Kurdish to a compulsory elective subject in schools instead of securing its status constitutionally. While the fascist Turkish state is trying to present itself as democratic to the world in this way, its message to our people is clear: ‘Be satisfied with what I give you.` The fascist Turkish state should be very well aware that our people will respond to the policy of dissuading them from their struggle and being satisfied with small concessions with full awareness and will not engage in such a cheap game. Mother tongue education represents one of the most fundamental rights. Elective education always includes instruction in a foreign language, not in one’s native language. Thus, mother tongue education – a universal right – cannot be provided in the form of compulsory elective education.
Today, our people are threatened with annihilation. When it comes to Kurds, the right to mother tongue education, which we are entitled to under international law, is also ignored. Under these conditions, our people must fight all the harder for their language, existence and identity in all areas of life and also through legal channels. The education system in North and East Syria represents an impressive example to all peoples of the region and the entire world of their own strength and willpower to fight for existence, identity and language. It is proof that a life based on equality, freedom, democracy, human rights and children’s rights is possible and accordingly overcomes the life that has been imposed on us for centuries. It proves that we as peoples can live together on the basis of our differences in a multilingual, multicultural and equal way.
As the KCK Education Committee, on the occasion of the International Mother Language Day, we would like to reiterate that the right to mother tongue education is a universal right. Therefore, the demand for mother tongue education is the most legitimate of all demands. We must not forget that a language is not lost or does not die because it is spoken by only a few people, but because the members of the language community concerned, do not speak the language, do not stand up for it and do not fight for it. Our people must speak and write Kurdish both in their country and abroad and consider it their most important task to make their own mother tongue immortal. Our people must ensure the teaching of their mother tongue wherever they live and fight resolutely to remove all obstacles to the use of their mother tongue in the public sphere. Our people must never allow linguistic homogenization and assimilation policies to succeed. Therefore, we would like to congratulate once again our people and all other peoples who fight for their mother tongue on the occasion of the International Mother Language Day.
KCK Education Committee