Heval Çiya, your light guides our path

Actually, it’s very difficult to start this letter. No beginning is adequate to express the immense pain that the death of a companion, of a friend, of a great “Heval” produces.

More than a month has passed since his departure, and it is still difficult to find the words that can describe the emptiness that this loss leaves us. It is still impossible to imagine that he is gone, that his humble, loving and close presence will not be with us again.

We cannot avoid rejecting this idea, we cannot accept that Hevale Çîya, “Nano”, is just a memory.

During the time that has passed since his departure, we have not mentioned anything about it, since we decided at the time that immediacy, that the “exclusiveness” or the protagonism of transmitting the news are not part of our way of being, nor of our way of understanding life. And much less of understanding death, as they were not part of Nano’s either.

We understand that the first moment and the first days belong to mourning, especially that of the family. They need their space and their time to say goodbye. We share with them the pain, and we must accept our position and our role in these difficult moments. From the family and close friends it was decided not to do something “mediatic” or give much information about it for several reasons. One of them is that some media, who do seek immediacy and exclusivity, harassed Nano’s entourage in search of information and carrion for their press articles, as they had no response, they invented, lied and manipulated the news. We do not forget.

After this time, for family, friends and colleagues the memory of Nano is still alive, and it is not only still alive, but it guides and accompanies us as it could not be otherwise.

From “Rojavanoestasola” we have the need and the duty to say goodbye to our “Heval”, to keep his memory alive and to continue with the revolutionary struggle in search of a better world. That is the best tribute we can pay to our comrade from here.

Comrade and friend, Heval Çiya:

Last November 2nd, we received the sad news that in the same night, our friend had lost his life during the descent from the “Himlung” peak in the Himalayas. The news pierced our heart like a shot, took our breath away, froze our blood. We couldn’t believe it.

Nano, as his friends have known him, was a person with a lot of experience in the mountains, and his love for the mountains and nature began as a teenager.

Nano worked in different places throughout his life, but for years his job was as a mountain guide, residing the last time of his life in Aragües del Puerto, a village in the Western Valleys of the Aragonese Pyrenees.

He also lived and worked in Germany, where he was a climbing guide, specializing in a specific type of climbing that consists of embedding knots in the rock. This characteristic perfectly defined Nano’s character, since you need cold blood and a lot of “coconut” (as they say in climbing) to use this type of technique.

Here in Aragon, although he was a mountain guide, his passion was also climbing. He knew perfectly every corner of the territory, his knowledge even led him to write articles in important mountain magazines. In these articles Nano always gave his personal point of view, always linked to revolutionary ideas, which he made available to the whole climbing community. I remember in particular an article about the “Mallos de Agüero” where he stressed the historical importance of this territory in the anti-fascist struggle and the guerrilla of the “Maquis” during the Franco regime.

After his return from Kurdistan, Nano, like us, felt that there was a link between our mountains and those of Kurdistan. His Kurdish name was Ciya, which curiously means mountain. That link that Nano felt between these two territories was largely based on the love of revolutionary ideas that found refuge in our mountains in the past, just as they do in Kurdistan today. Nano wanted to pay tribute to this link, this brotherhood between peoples, and so he opened several climbing routes near his home in memory of his comrades “Sehîd” (Martyrs) in Rojava, giving these routes the name of those fighters.

Until the last moment of his life, he carried these ideas in his heart. When we said goodbye before his trip to Nepal, we were at a rally in support of the Rojava resistance against the Turkish invasion. There, at the end, Nano picked up the PKK flag and said he was taking it with him to Nepal, since he could not be with his comrades of Rojava at the moment, but somehow he wanted to send them strength from the Mountain. His last memory on Himlung Peak is more than a message. It is the clearest expression of the character and personality of Nano, the mountain and the struggle for freedom. Even in hard conditions always with a smile, always thinking of others, always with an open heart, always ready to help.

That immense love for the mountain and freedom was seen in his eyes, heard in every word, was his hallmark. In an article he wrote in the magazine Rojavanoestasola in which he participated, he began by saying: “I am Heval Çîya and I want to talk to you about what I learned from my companions in Rojava. They, without exception, love the mountains. There is nothing more to say about me. I just want to talk about my comrades there, the ones who stayed, their mountains and their revolutionary struggle.“

Nano’s long history in the mountain was never competitive, nor sportive, he never looked for rivalry, on the contrary, for him the mountain was life itself, it is the personal and collective way. The mountain is not only a territory. It is the beginning, it is an ideal, it is a value, a horizon, and it is also the end. That’s why, for everything we learned at his side, we affectionately called him “Mamoste” (teacher in Kurdish).

Nano also wrote an article, called “Climbing in the society of the spectacle”, in which he referred to a different way of understanding the mountain and quoted some words of Isaac Puente, doctor, anarchist and naturist, in his book “Alpinism”. It is important for the people who lived with him in the mountains to remember these words, because through them Nano lived and shared the mountain and with him we learned to be, to meet and to live.

He says this: …he did not worry about defining or adjectivizing climbing or mountain activities. In his personal goodness he simply listed its benefits. Being in the mountains, climbing, hiking, mountaineering… have their benefits for the human being and for society, and this in different ways. For the physical, with the indications that the physical exercise carried out by muscles, lungs and heart needs. For the psychical, with the self-control, introspection and will in which the personality is formed. For Natura, with vegetarianism (food without toxins, drink without excitement), nudism and hygiene. For health, leaving the vitiated and sickly environments (dominant in the city) and returning to the frank life. For that of morality, with the understanding of our humility and the way of being of those around us. It is precious and it is so. All this is what we find out there, in ourselves, and it is very beautiful and subversive.

As all of us, who have known him, know that Nano‘s ethics and morality had left a mark wherever he went, had left a mark on anyone who has known him, anyone without exception. Nano is well known in the Torrero y la Paz neighborhood in Zaragoza, where he had part of his roots, his family and his friends. He was always on the side of the city’s social and neighbourhood struggles, of the weak and the silenced. He is well known within the anarchist movement, not only in Zaragoza, but throughout Spain, and he also left a trail in Europe and Kurdistan. A place where his former comrades have not been slow to send us strength and to share their pain, reminding us of how much he was admired in these places and of their pride and joy in having known him.

Nano fought alongside the Kurdish and Arab people in Rojava in the YPG militias, and with other internationals in the IWA battalion. He took part among others in the hard fights for the liberation of Raqqa and left there comrades who he never forgot, in his words: “His sacrifice will not be forgotten. His sacrifice has made Rojava stand as a beacon of hope for all those people on Earth who love freedom, seek justice and dream of peace”.

Now, Nano, one of the greatest revolutionaries and anarchists that our land has given in recent times, is already at rest. Together with his comrades from Kurdistan, together with the Hevalen Çem, Kawa Amez, Rustem Cudî, Firat, Redur, Mehmet, Dilbirîn Qamislo, Avasin Tekosin, Mezlum, Arges, Awaz Dilges, Saxewan, Servan, Asiye Deniz, Avasîn Kesra, Adal, Diljîn Ararat…

Now Nano, Heval Çiya, has reached eternity, where he always wanted to be, on the mountain. Together with all those who gave their life and reached death in the fight for freedom. But most importantly, Nano is still alive in all our hearts, because as he said, the people around us help forge our personality, and we are sure that all the people who have known him, live with a precious part of him.

Comrade Fernando Sánchez Grasa, your light guides our path, rest in peace.

Sehid namirin! (Martyrs are Immortal)

Zagros, December 2019