A pioneer of new internationalism – In memory of Şehîd Kasim Engin

Yesterday, the Central Committee of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) announced and shared with the public in a written statement the martyrdom of Kasim Engin, a member of the Central Committee of the party. Şehîd Kasim Engin was martyred as a result of an air attack on the guerrilla areas in the region of Bradost, Southern Kurdistan, on 27th May 2020.

We, as the Internationalist Commune in Rojava, would like to commemorate Şehîd Kasim with some words about his life, his approach, and practice within the freedom movement. We see in him an exemplary pioneer of the internationalist struggle and will continue the revolution in his memory until victory.

Şehîd Kasim got to know the Kurdish Freedom Movement within his family, which had been in contact with the PKK since its foundation in 1978. Since 1985, he actively participated in the works of the freedom movement in Europe, and in 1989 he decided to join the ranks of the PKK as a professional revolutionary. Within the framework of the revolutionary work, he organised the Kurdish population in the diaspora and took on great responsibilities, especially in youth, cultural and diplomatic works. In Germany, he also played a major role in the production and distribution of the Kurdistan Report, thus making a major contribution to publicising the freedom struggle and the emergence of the solidarity movement. He described the importance of the Kurdistan Report, which goes beyond a ‘simple’ magazine of information, in his own words as follows:

“[…] [T]he Kurdistan Report is very significant in two respects; on the one hand, bringing [the Kurdish reality, the social situation, and the land] closer to German society in Germany and the German-speaking regions, and on the other hand, for us – who were forced to live far away from home – in order to acquire knowledge about our own reality, gaining identity in the process, and thus becoming comrades-in-arms in the freedom struggle.

It is possible that what has been said does not apply to other peoples of the earth. But for those whose language, like ours, is forbidden, whose living spaces and identity are denied and who are not granted a footprint of their own land, it is of great importance that knowledge about one’s own identity can be acquired in distant places. […]

In short, the Kurdistan Report is not just a magazine. Nor is it just a series of articles that are distributed to some young people for reading. In the interpersonal and individual, the Kurdistan Report was not only the name for the connection to especially leftist, socialist, feminist, democratic, antifascist, anarchist, and different groups of belief, but it was the connection itself. […]”

This serious and responsible approach to the revolutionary works as well as the proximity to and love for the people were also the reason why Şehîd Kasim succeeded in combining common struggles. Through his humble, positive and lively personality, he won the trust of the people and strengthened the morale of all his comrades. Everybody who was fortunate enough to meet him, even for a short time, valued and loved him very much.

For us, as the Internationalist Commune in Rojava, Şehîd Kasim is a representative of a revolutionary youth spirit and one of the creators of the new internationalism. With his practical and open approach, he laid the foundation for our present practice already in the 1980s and made an invaluable contribution to the spread of the revolution.

To better understand the reality of the Kurdish people, Şehîd Kasim went to the Mahsum-Korkmaz Academy in Lebanon in 1990. There he also met Abdullah Öcalan and studied in depth the history of Kurdistan, the philosophy and values of the freedom movement. Without interruption and with all his strength he worked inexhaustibly for a future in freedom.

The approach and practice of Abdullah Öcalan, to dedicate every single second to liberation and yet always work on oneself and one’s comrades, and be there for each other, was always an example for him. Şehîd Kasim Engin always tried to re-create himself and brought the ideology of women’s liberation to life in his comradely approach to the friends he worked with. It was clear to him that the victory of the women’s revolution was indispensable for the success of the revolution, and thus also for the liberation of men.

The targeted attack on another long-time leading cadre of the freedom movement is in line with the attacks of the past two years, from Şehîd Mam Zekî Şengalî, through the comrades of the KCK diplomacy committee, as well as to Şehîd Helmet last year, and cannot be considered separately from the current political events. While the enemies of the revolution – first of all the United States of America, and NATO – are doing everything they can to remove the revolution in Rojava from the revolutionary line of Apoism, to liquidate it politically, and are also trying to establish alternatives in Northern Kurdistan to the armed struggle against fascism within the framework of legal politics, they are aiming with coordinated attacks at the revolutionary centre and brain of the movement.

With the increased isolation against the leadership of the Freedom Movement, in the person of Abdullah Öcalan, and the sneaky and cowardly attacks against the practical leadership of the Freedom Movement, it is aimed at rendering the movement headless and disorientated so that the revolution in the Middle East can be more easily neutralised by political-ideological, economic, and military attacks. These kinds of attacks are not only the work of the fascist Turkish state, but the product of a direct cooperation between the imperialist powers, especially the USA, the MIT, and local collaborators like the KDP’s secret service Parastin, and are therefore to be considered as part of the ongoing international conspiracy.

Şehîd Kasim called for action against the ongoing international conspiracy, not just paying lip service, but openly ‘taking a stand against those who are making common cause with colonial forces and are acting for their interests’. Şehîd Kasim’s words are also a call to the global resistance movement to defend and carry the revolution in the Middle East, from Rojava to the liberated mountains of Kurdistan, into the world. It is necessary to adopt the hope, the values, the methods, and the practice of the freedom movement and on this basis to responsibly lead Şehîd Kasim’s struggle for a free future to its goal.

We are writing these lines because we believe it is important that all comrades are able to correctly classify, strategically evaluate, and respond to the current events. When the enemies of the revolution try to extinguish the fire of the revolution in the Middle East, it becomes our task to carry this flame everywhere. Against the international conspiracy, the unity of the world rulers, our response can only be to strengthen the united revolutionary struggle. In this sense, let us create two, three, many Rojavas. In memory of Şehîd Kasim and all the martyrs of the world revolution, we will lead the struggle to victory.

The revolution in the Middle East will win – fascism will be crushed.

Internationalist Commune in Rojava, 9th June 2020

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