Monday, February 26, 2007

Terrorism, Glorification Thereof.

So, anyway, while some people have been entertaining themselves with the fantasy that British imperialism supports the Kurds, there was an interesting episode involving the publication of Abdullah Ocalan's book Prison Writings: The Roots of Civilisation, which has been well-received by a number of academics. Now, it so happens that the PKK have been feeling the heat of British laws long before evildoers interrupted Bush's pedagogy, but last week something rather interesting happened. The Peace in Kurdistan campaign had been due to host a meeting to launch Ocalan's book, which is a history of the Near East from anciency until the present, written during the years he has spent in prison since being kidnapped by Turkish intelligence in February 1999, approximately a month before Turkish planes were bombing Yugoslavia. The launch of the book was to take place in the House of Commons, however, there had been repeated indications in the Turkish press that Ankara wanted the book suppressed, and it transpired that the Foreign Office had the organisers kicked out - on the grounds that debating the book amounted to "glorification of terrorism". In a way, the organisers were fortunate that this was all that happened, since in Turkey two people have been sentenced to prison terms this week for "glorifying" Abdullah Ocalan.

Now, the British state has used its 'anti-terror' laws, in which the PKK is listed as a proscribed organisation, to clamp down on supporters of the Kurds in the past, and to block Kurdish television. Its foreign policy disposition is to support Turkish state crimes with arms, diplomacy and domestic targeting of Kurdish supporters. That happens to be a logical part of the European collective security system set up under US tutelage, in which the Turkish paramilitaries who took part in butchering and torturing the Kurds in their tens of thousands were an integral part of NATO's secret stay-behind armies. The Foreign Office's move raises the spectre of the law being used against this book - since if to debate it is to glorify terrorism, what is the position when it comes to placing the book on prominent shop shelves? Or reading it on the train? The hammering irony is that this has taken place one week after David Lammy launched Labour Friends of Turkey with the aim of assisting Turkey's accession to the EU. The Turkish government appears to have plenty of friends. The British ambassador to Turkey insists that to refuse Turkey admission would be a "gift to the terrorists", while only today the EC has apparently decided that Ocalan cannot be re-tried. At the same time, a wave of arrests of PKK supporters and activists has been conducted across Europe recently, coordinated by the United States and Turkey with the assistance of EU states, because the EU considers the PKK a terrorist organisation.

You can read the press release from Peace in Kurdistan at the bottom of this post. One other thing - if I urge you to purchase the book in question and conduct an open public reading in the no-protest zone, does that make me a glorifier of terrorism? Merely checking.