Nisêbîn: Unity and barricades

We’re met by quiet streets and wide barricades, muddy streets and vehicles full of gun shot holes. The sound coming from the radio is distorted but strong – songs of struggle celebrating the same people we’ll be spending the rest of the night with. People who want their self-rule, their peace and their democracy. And people who defend the will of the people with their lives. The love, comradeship and unity is hard to describe with words and I think about how much we in west have to learn from this society that they’ve build here in Nisêbîn among other places.

When we walking a few blocks to the family house where we’re staying for the night, a safe and calm man walks us through the darkness between the barricades. I wonder about the differences between this and walking on streets in Istanbul or in Stockholm and I realise that Nisêbîn is safer. The woman we’re living with and that even though there have been 7 or 8 curfews during the last 6 months still won’t leave her house with her family talks about it in the same way: “Before the barricades the police could come and harras us however they wanted and it wasn’t safe to be outside after dark. Now that we have barricades and the YPS (Poeple’s civil defenese) we’re always safe.” She tells me how the turkish state murdered her neighbour and friend, a pregnant woman and mother of five, who had made the mistake of walking outside her door. “The turkish state has no limit – they can do whatever they like to us.”

The living room is filled with women and even though they’re afraid of a new siege the mood in the room is good and they talk about how their daily life has been without power and water during the curfews.

When I ask if they want peace the answer comes back quickly: “Of course we want peace, but we will never give up our self-rule.”

”Who’s child are you?” our guide yells to a boy playing barefoot at the barricades.


In the morning he returs to take us back to the meeting point we spent the previous night in. The building is more full of life now that the locals have come and together with the defence are preparing for the day.

The pictures on the walls are now clearer and besides a portrait of Abdullah Öcalan big posters of martyrs can be seen. The tea pot is on the fire in the middle of the room and whomever wants a cup helps themselves to it. The day kicks off with planning meetings where also representatives from the neighbourhoods take part. There’s time for everyone and no problem or question is too small.

I wonder how Erdogan has lead the world to believe that these people are terrorists since it in fact is him they are defending themselves from. They are a people defending their right to live without oppression. It becomes more clear that the barricades are build with trust and love, that all together – men, women and children – have built them to simply defend their homes.

What people here are afraid of is not each other, it’s no even of death: “I’m not afraid to die, I’m ready to die. I’m more afraid of what the state is capable of. They have tortured women and undressed their lifeless bodies – all of us have seen it.” It’s the women we were living with that explains. “I don’t want to die that way.”

When all the meetings are over and many have had their questions answered and others have had their tasks given to them, the pictures from the walls are slowly taken down and everything showing who has been there is packed.

“We’re moving to another building” he answers when I ask why he’s packing. I guess they can’t stay in the same place for too long.

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