Article was originally published by lowerclassmagazine on August 8 2018
A german internationalist at the PKK. Interview with Heval Delia.
On his journey to Rojava LCM-reporter Bernd Machielski met the german internationalist
Delia, who joined the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, the PKK, one year ago. A talk about her
motivation and the Left in Germany.
One year ago today you joined the PKK. At that time: What was your
motivation to take this step?
I went to Rojava one year ago, participated in an education course there and decided
pretty quickly that I want to see more of the revolution. For me it wasn’t sufficient back
then to be in Rojava, bring in my knowledge and to simply learn. I wanted to know how
the party came about. The question did not let me go: „How was it possible for Rojava to
create the ground for a reorganization of society based on communal organisation and
I decided then, that I didn’t want to take the path only halfway. I did not want to continue
living in a bubble within the capitalist system. That did not fulfill me anymore. I went to
the mountains to change my life completely and to start all over again.
How was your time in the mountains? Where have you been, what have you
First Iwent to the mountains of Basur, South Kurdistan, the Medya defense areas, to
receive my training and education. Before I started my training, I first spent time in Gare
with the YJA-STAR, the guerilla women’s unit. There we built up our Manga and gained a
lot of practical experience – for example building shelters and depots, moving in the
mountains, logistics, behaviour and living in the nature and so on.
During this time there were many new arrivals to the PKK. The training is a first
introduction to the practice and ideology of the party, though not as profound as, for
example, educations in an academy. Ideology, living together, communal behaviour,
Rehevalti, communal living, military training and values of the party were covered in three
months. A central question of the training and education was how we interact with one
another. How can we built relationships that are not competitive or based on profit? How
do we create the basis for growing with everything we give?
In terms of language I often had problems because non of the friends could speak a
language that I had learned. I worked my way through with the few bits of Kurdish I knew
and my dictionary. That was an exciting time. But due to the lacking language skills I was
not able to take part in many ideological discussions. The PKK has a strong philosophical-
ideological policy as its foundation and especially if you join in new, it is important for
them to convey these to you. In order to learn Kurdish better, but also to learn even more
in general, I was sent to another unit, which had german speaking friends. I finally
completed my training there.
Could you tell us in more detail about the ideological education? What topics
and discussions influenced and impressed you?
What fascinated me most was the history of the PKK and the history of women’s
liberation. To understand why the question of women is not a side contradiction, but to
realize that the woman is the most oppressed nation, the most enslaved being. Only with
the liberation of women it will be possible to take decisive steps in the fight against
capitalism. That strongly influenced and pushed me on a level of personal developement.
Because the PKK acts upon the maxim that revolutionaries should develop militant
personalities. This means, for example, that the seperation of private and working life and
political activism, which is typical for europe, must be abolished. But that has to happen
on all levels. These changes are actually the biggest fight; 98 % of the fight is directed
against your personality patterns and only 2 % against your political enemy.
We have just been to the Kandil mountains with some internationalists and
have participated in a „shield action“ to protest against the turkish war against
Kandil. In your view: What defines the current war in Turkey?
The war in Kandil was planned on purpose so that it occured in the middle of the election
phase in Turkey. Erdogan wanted to benefit from this war, but actually this is an absolute
sign of weakness. At the moment it looks like there are many threatening gestures and
symbolic politics. But a war against an ideology like the PKK’s, can not be won with
weapons. Turkey attacks Kandil because the Kandil mountains are the heart of the
movement. Kandil is more than just a mountain range. It is the heart of the revolution.
And that is precisely why they will not be able to shatter the revolution militarily, because
the revolution is carried in the hearts of everybody. It is the attempt to a strong
psychological warfare. The enemy, for example, limits your freedom of movement with
drones, but that does not mean that you can not do your work.
The biggest problem in the current phase is actually the terror against the civilian
population in Kandil, by trying to destroy their livelihoods like pastures, gardens or animals
and to drive them out of the mountains. As an internationalist, it is important for me to
point out here the arm deliveries to Turkey from the USA, Europe, Israel and above all,
In retrospect, how would you rate your political activism in the german Left
before joining PKK? Where do you see mistakes, what are the consquences for
For a long time I have been pursuing leftist radical politics in anarchist and autonomous
contexts. But today I am not quite sure, if they had a real impact. What I have realized for
myself is that revolution does not mean „Action, action, action!“ and „If it clashes, it’s
awesome“. Revolution happens when there are profound changes. In Germany we mostly
only managed to get together in order to work for a concrete cause. This is reflected in
the so-called „Firefighter policy“.
This does however not lead to a stable organization, instead I experienced many divisions.
And I missed the perspective of a social revolution, outside of my own left radical bubble.
The idea of only liberating yourself, in your squats etc. will not be enough. As long as
capitalism and patriarchy exist, it will be impossible to achieve a good life for everybody.Actually this is nothing new, but we often fail to be aware of our own history. As a last
point: What I missed a lot in Germany is a broad organization, an organization within the
whole society. This needs to be changed and we can learn a lot from the Kurdish
# Bernd Machielski is a member of the radical left berlin (rlb) and Rojava corrospondent
for Lower Class Magazine in the coming months.