Afrin's siege

Would you ask an abused person to seek help at the abuser's home? Now then, this is what we are doing with the Kurds when we forbid their passage towards the European Union and make them ask for refuge in Turkey, which for almost two years has been doing the dirty work for a club of states that has displaced the misery and violence on its borders a few kilometres as if it could conceal the shame of their actions. And all in exchange for the modest price of 6 billion euros. Euros that we have all paid together.

The first thing to understand is who these people are and why Turkey represses them. Kurds are a century-old village that currently has around 40 million inhabitants spread over four countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Within each of these territories, they represent a minority, which makes them the target of discrimination. In the case of the Turks, the current animosity is rooted in the First World War, when the Kurds supported the Allies in order to become independent from the Ottoman Empire. After the war was over, the independence of Kurdistan was recognised, but soon afterwards Turkey regained the lost ground and responded with reprisals. From here a cyclical story begins in which the Kurds claim their freedom and the Turks answer with oppression.

The last chapter of this story is being written right now, while Turkey is besieging Afrin, the Kurdish region of Syria. The excuse that Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made up to justify this is that the militias protecting the area are controlled by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and that their alliance could jeopardise Turkish territorial unity. In fact, Turkey, the EU and the US treat them directly as terrorist groups. The reality, however, is that the Kurdish militias simply defend themselves. They defend themselves against the Islamic state and the (false) rebels. And they protect how their population and civil rights can be protected.

All of this, however, causes the Kurds living in Syria to be trapped on a battlefield. Naturally, many of them choose to flee and seek refuge in Europe. To do this, the only way out is to cross Turkey. And how do we respond? Closing the Turkey-Europe Pass. Leaving them at the mercy of Erdogan, a leader who is not exactly known for his respect for human rights, let alone the rights of the Kurds. In this way, a new level of cynicism is being achieved in the agreement that the European Union reached with Turkey to pay in return for its dyke against the refugees. We leave people who flee from terror at the mercy of those who kill them. How can a Kurdish be safe in Turkey?

One more blow, cruelty and inhumanity are cited just four hours by plane from our homes. It is only twice as long as it takes us to go to London or Rome, and it would be unimaginable to make a life as usual if civilians were being killed in either of these two cities. Even more so if we were responsible for leaving them with no escape. So as Ahmed asked at the beginning of the song Resiste y grita from Txarango, we need to "open borders" for all those people who escape from misery and bombs. He is fortunate: he got refuge in Germany, has been able to reunite with his family and has a lifetime ahead of him. But Afrin, his city of birth, is still full of Ahmeds.