In memory of the freedom fighter Michael Panser/Xelîl Viyan/Bager Nûjiyan
Four butterflies decide to find out what fire really is. The first butterfly flies far past the fire, comes back and says, ‘Fire is something that gives light’. This is not yet all the knowledge about its nature, and so the second butterfly flies a little closer to the fire, turns around and tells: ‘Fire is something that gives warmth’. But even that is not enough to explain its nature, and so the third butterfly approaches the fire even further, until the flames flicker over its wings. When it returns, it says, ‘The truth about the fire is that it is something burning.’ The fourth butterfly circles around the fire, turns around, burns and suddenly plunges into the fire, shines for a moment and then disappears into the flame until the butterfly is no longer visible. That is the only butterfly that really understands what fire is, but it can no longer tell others.
(Indian story, taken from the book “Kurdish Love” by Abdullah Öcalan)
Not one step backwards
Have you ever met a person who follows their dreams and their idea of a better world with every step they take? We all have dreams and ideas of a better world. But there are only a few who spin the red thread from their desires and dreams that is to determine their lives. Xelîl spun on utopias in order to realize them. Anyone who met him knows that he was full of magical stories and fascinated by storytellers who went beyond the boundaries of the existing. As a result, he developed a special ability to face difficulties and obstacles with ease, conscious of the much greater tasks that await him.
He was fascinated by the wandering and traveling poets and philosophers of all continents who are loyally devoted to life as its disciples. From this he himself developed a way of life: He brought to life what was hidden in books and songs. He looked at the regions he visited in the mirror of their history and was deeply impressed by nature’s power in the uprising against what people do with it. He was open and attentive and sought to understand the thoughts and experiences of the people he met. His bag was always packed like the traveling bags of journeymen and dervishes. He never carried more than what he needed and shared what he carried.
If to live, then to live free.
In his 30 years of life, Xelîl traveled on Che Guevara’s traces to Latin America and on Andrea Wolf’s traces to the Middle East. What drove him was not the quest for adventure or the excitement of an extraordinary life. What drove him was a deep conviction that something was wrong in this world at the moment, that good and evil are upside down and right and wrong are deceptively blurred. He was able to tell you very precisely towards which ecological apocalypse the earth is heading, what capitalist economics does with the human body and mind, and all the other issues that make the air difficult to breathe for humans.
He was able to talk about every imaginable topic and often came back to one realization: the necessity of holistic thinking. His understanding of revolution was also holistic, as was his idea of what revolutionaries must be like when they follow this path. His way was certainly not without detours and dead ends, but directed towards one goal. He took his goal as a benchmark for how he developed and reinvented himself, how he organized his life and how he approached other people. He had clarity in defending his values.
When we look at Heval Bager in the eyes, we should look at ourselves in his clear reflection. From the moment he realised where the world was going, he began a long journey. For this journey he was ready to look beyond the edges of the world and into the eyes that show the world of fire, not the world of light. And he was ready to go along into the fire when it meant reality, instead of being further blinded and deceived by the light. Once he had become aware of its deception, Heval Bager naturally abandoned the phenomenon [Gewand] of modernism forever. From then on he walked with a lightness that characterised a free spirit and with an openness that told of a new society. On the basis of what he had understood, he drew a new map and found numerous companions on his quest.
We, the companions, sought to overcome loneliness in this world with our love and we realised that with peoples’ tenderness loneliness fades away like a bad dream. In us, a new clarity arose, which brought along an unshakable strength. As soon as you see and feel what fractions of the new reality are, you take them and put them in your heart. And your heart will be stronger than ever before, perhaps stronger than anything you have ever known. And your thinking, speaking and acting is fed by this insight ever since and you come to understand that this source is more nutritious than anything you knew.
Let them despair in their destruction
On every single day of December in 2018, the bombs fell from the bellies of warbirds on the mountains and valleys of Kurdistan like the rain of a strong thunderstorm. The free mountains and revolutionaries of Kurdistan are a thorn in the world order’s side, which makes all values above and below the earth’s surface – up to those in people’s minds – its own and mercilessly exploits them. A great hatred, which carries the cold will of annihilation, lets the war birds fly and lets them do what classical armies have been trying unsuccessfully for 100 years: Suffocating the will for freedom in the Middle East to make the land submissive and occupiable. The PKK fighters are leading this struggle for human dignity in the Middle East and everywhere.
Dear friend Xelîl,
Together we sat on a hill and saw for the first time the bombs burst into this beautiful landscape. At first there was an unbearable noise with which the war birds had passed over us and then we saw a huge fire burning the wide horizon alive before our eyes. We witnessed how merciless violence wrests something so valuable from life. Thus, we gave this place, the free mountains of Kurdistan, our promise to become a part of the resistance. No matter where – our hearts were beating together from now on.
Eventually you returned to the free mountains, philosophising about these and other world orders and singing the songs of the world to come; when the warbirds attacked this beautiful place again. This place that will be familiar to everyone who is human at heart.
You are not the first one and you will not be the last one whose life is taken by this war of annihilation. But your friends and companions will make sure that the enemy of humankind will despair in their will of annihilation. Sooner or later, through our determination and devotion, they will realize that the quest for the dignified life cannot be annihilated. There can be no world without connectedness, love, solidarity, dignity and justice and with this self-confidence we continue your quest and your struggle. We have grown with the stories of revolutionaries who in all parts of the world fearlessly opposed the enemy of humanity and fought for a free and dignified life. We also grow with your story, dear loyal friend and companion. We have always admired you for your clarity and your tireless spirit; now we will make this spirit our own. This is our way of making you immortal and making your dreams come to life.
A companion of Heval Bager :
With all my heart I invite you to listen in time and with silence to the reportage with your friend Xelîl. He describes what we know but don’t want to think.
He is uncompromising in his quest. He looked very closely at what he was up against and what it took to create the alternative.
At the age of 30, a great revolutionary has been taken from our side. It was way too early, because the tasks for which he had prepared were waiting to be implemented. Because whatever he had planned to do following the first intensive political and ideological education in free Kurdistan was – I am convinced – of great importance. His words, which were recorded and published after he had fallen, speak of it.
The need to understand everything holistically and to draw consequences from it. A speaker at the Network for an Alternative Quest Conference in Hamburg 2015, where Xelîl also contributed to the topic “Foucault and Öcalan”, said: Many of us are fixed at one point and see problems like the foot of an elephant approaching us, and thus some stand under the foot called capitalism, others under the foot called patriarchy and yet others under the foot called climate catastrophe. The speaker invited us to take a few steps back and look at the elephant as a whole and then think collectively about how it could be brought down as a whole. This metaphor expresses in figurative language what we can learn first and foremost from the revolutionaries of Kurdistan and their philosophical pioneer Abdullah Öcalan.
A place where day in, day out, people philosophise about a better world and where those gather and train together who are actually working on these dreams is a thorn in the side. The thunder god is master of tanks, drones and bombs and sends them all to the bat people, because they dare to think for themselves.
The fabric that stories are made of.
If to live, then to live free.
From one who departed to make his dreams come true.