We are a gender whose free characteristics are very weak. We must be honest about this. We have been taught freedom, but it is difficult to recognize it in our own personalities. As a man I did not succeed to, like the leadership, develop a free personality in a very concrete way. I have not even made it my aim. I can say that quite honestly. I really yearn for freedom. But it has not become a feature of my character. It seems that we have more or less set out on this path under force. We treat it as a duty: to work a little bit for the Kurdish people, to live a little bit good. We limit ourselves far too much. How much interest can I have in Jineolojî if I am not able to live free in a concrete way as a man, if I have neither internalized it nor made it my aim? I have often asked myself where the mistakes in our way of questioning lie. First of all, very fundamentally, what are the qualities that make up a man’s character? The fundamental difference between us and the leader lies precisely there. It is precisely for this reason that we do not really strive decisively for freedom. We are more likely to be dragged along on the path to freedom. If we, as men, question our situation a little more thoroughly, we realize that we resemble a slave to freedom. We treat the pursuit of freedom like a compulsion or a duty. We always give self-criticism because we do not even succeed in freeing ourselves or anybody else.
How, then, are the people to be set free? Of course it is not enough for that. It quickly becomes clear. You have been a part of this struggle for 30 to 40 years and people are therefore oriented towards you. But why don’t you touch the women? Why don’t you develop a free attitude? The same goes for families that we visit. I have often wondered why we don’t succeed in influencing their lives in a certain direction. You’re fighting a battle, you’re part of the guerrilla movement – they respect you for that. But the things they notice about us are very general and superficial. The people see us in something like this: ‘They are selfless. In the mountains, they die for us. And while they die there, they also live sexually celibate. ` It remains with a very rough perception. They say, ‘Unlike us, they renounce all the pleasures of this world. Can it be that the Kurdish people look at me this way? The approach to women goes a little bit further and reaches another level. When I question all this, I come to the following conclusion: Why don’t they see in us the same freedom as they see in the leader? Why can they not deduct a high level of morality and politics from our gender behaviors?
Because we remain superficial. Because we are not clear to ourselves why we have joined this path towards freedom and treat it as a duty. Like articles of clothing that we have put on. We remain shallow. I can see all this in myself. If so, we can come to the following conclusion: Because man’s need for freedom is not really concrete and tangible, it always falls back into the hegemony of his own sex. It will always look favorably on the existing conditions. Questioning these conditions will always be a kind of duty, a compulsion for her. I, for example, am someone who really has a little interest in this topic and is researching it. But I can’t get beyond looking at the various aspects separately and only according to my own needs. I also only do this when I encounter difficulties myself. Only as far as my interest in the autonomous women’s sphere goes. I do not follow a consistent line. I have already mentioned the reason for this. The concrete need for freedom is very weak. Because of this, the following happens to me: I take up the different areas such as ideology, women’s freedom, the concept of freedom separately. I also put them into practice in isolation from each other. Always each area on its own. Always only limited to a certain time. Only when a problem has arisen. Why doesn’t this interest take on a permanent form? Why does the learning process not take place continuously? Why does it not express itself permanently in the practical implementation and in the behavior? When I ask myself all these questions, a clear picture of the state of things arises. There are one or two things I would like to mention, which we will correct and question a little. For example, I have always wondered why we were brought up in this way. I could also say something about the approach of women, but there may not be enough time for that. This is a subject for a different context. That is why I will not go into it at this point. On this issue, my most basic observation is this: Firstly, a false understanding of freedom ultimately leads to slavery, a lack of
drive to understand the whole thing as a duty, not to make these aspects part of one’s own personality like the leader. Secondly; to define the man through the distinction from the woman, as something ‘that is not like the woman’. That is very dominant here. When you ask a man about his definition of man, he does not go beyond that kind of definition. Only in very few cases does this happen. We try to do it to a limited extent on the basis of the knowledge that the PKK passes on to us. So when you are asked what the man is, you can list everything in this sense that the woman is not. Anyway, the first thing we start with is the nature of the body. But this approach leads to the fact that you do not know or cannot recognize yourself.
‘What is the man? That which the woman is not. Okay, but then what is the man? I don’t know. ‘
At this point you stop, because the definition of man was taught to you this way. There is a second related side, which is even more dangerous: The leader has always analyzed the murders of women.
This has led me to ask myself certain questions. I, for example, am a man who is involved in the PKK struggle. I have softened or corrected a few characteristics of myself. But I wondered whether I was capable of killing a woman. The answer is, yes, I would be capable of it. This is not at all harmless, because it means that the second page of the definition of man – that is, ‘that which is not a woman’ – says: ‘Every man must kill a woman. Every man must oppress a woman. Every man must rule over a woman.` This definition leads to exactly that. If every man is ‘what a woman is not’, he must necessarily define his non-womanly side. This state is very dangerous. In this sense it leads to the internalization of a hostility towards woman. The simplest effect of this hostility is to look down on the woman from above. In the sense ‘Woman cannot think that far. She can’t do it as well as I can.` On the other hand, the female friends can start fighting early on and mediate this fight to us as well. We can therefore change this concrete attitude quickly. But the other side is much more internalized. Every man really carries a very deep- seated hostility towards women within him. If a man has not yet killed a woman himself, it is pure coincidence. Sometimes it may be the result of precautions. The following reaction to this would be wrong: ‘The man is also a human being after all. Marry a man and after a few days you will be able to see how he beats his wife. After a short time he does other things. In the heart every man carries the desire to beat a woman. In extreme words: As the ultimate affirmation of his own identity, every man longs to kill a woman. This is a result of my own reflection process. As a human being you really tremble at this truth. Why is a man’s identity so constituted? Because he does not fill out his other half. The more you develop an alternative to the man who is ‘not like the woman’, the less bad he will be able to do to the woman. The more you will be able to bring about changes in your own identity as a man.
Another point: There is immaterial love. We live it ourselves again and again. You think about the woman you love. With regard to my own feelings, I have often asked myself in this context: As a man, am I really capable of loving a woman? With such an exaggerated male identity – can I really love a woman? My first insight in this question is this: First of all, in love with a woman, every man loves himself. When you first try to love, you are not even aware of it, but you must overcome it. The woman thinks that you love her, but that is not the case at all. Something like this: ‘Look, I can love. I am a man. I have to prove to myself again and again that I am a man. And you don’t even notice that. ‘Manliness is a mechanism that confirms itself every day. But the woman thinks the man loves her. But that’s not the case at all. I say it honestly: A man who is really capable of loving a woman – that is something really hard. I know that from my own emotional world. It requires a very determined struggle. Every man loves himself in his relationship with his wife. His forms of self- love are not enough. Therefore he has the need to be loved by others. If your self-love were strong enough, that would be enough. But man’s self-love is not enough. That’s why you as a man have the need to complete yourself with love from outside. In short, the male identity is really questionable or problematic. You can question, evaluate and overcome it to a certain degree. In parts this really leads to a systematic overcoming.
Love must first of all mean that a third identity emerges from it. Long-term friendships are characterized, for example, by the fact that, detached from the name of the friend, a friendship develops which is like a kind of third identity: You cannot say or do everything you feel like doing. You cannot simply leave him or her when you feel like it. We can also see this in the friendships between women and men in our ranks. The old friends among us do not have the luxury of simply giving up on each other. This does not mean that we let each other get away with everything. No. But you can’t just break up a friendship like it was just yesterday. Because that’s when a friendship was built. It’s like a third identity. It’s connected to certain principles. The same goes for the concept of love. We as individual personalities must not simply be concerned with finding each other as quickly as possible. Rather we must strive to create the concept of love. Love must offer us certain things. It must offer us a common framework. Within this framework, things like affection, respect or trust must be able to accumulate. All the values that we as men value in a woman and that the woman values in us men – they too must be able to be collected in this framework. But this is not how we approach the concept of love. In love there is the following egoism: body and mind strive for unity and you try to reach this unity as fast as possible. This approach leads in a certain way to egoism. It prevents love from becoming something immaterial. Instead, love very quickly becomes something that is completely material and limited to only one person. But love is like a universal law. For its realization one must really become one. A human being, whether as a man or as a woman, actually feels all his life like something half, something imperfect. You feel that something is missing. But at this point something else often comes into play. We can call it individualism or – as the leader does – the personification of love. It is this attitude that comes into play: ‘That’s exactly it. That is the right thing. I am right.` But that is the wrong approach.
How is it that you become aware of all this?
You’re fighting a battle with the help of your friends. For a long time I’ve wondered why we always learn freedom from women who have already proven themselves. It made me realize this: To constantly meet a woman with the attitude of ‘Are you really human? Prove it! If you do not prove yourself, I will not establish a relationship with you and I will not see you as a human being’ – that is a very bad fascism. To force a woman to a position where she has to prove herself all the time is fascism. I have seen that position with me, I still see it today. I came to the following conclusion: Friends fight a battle, develop understanding of the leader’s thoughts, and because of that certain things go to pieces. As soon as that happens, you understand that you are also affected by it. Then you start to learn and to question. But our dealing with it still remains partial or isolated. I have already mentioned this before. We only deal with it as much as we think it is necessary. Just enough to keep us on our feet. So that we can correct a mistake when we make it. Only if you’re interested in issues relating to women’s autonomy. All that is limited. I say this for the following reason: I feel that these mechanisms are also important for women. ‘I am in our territory and therefore strong. There is no reason for me to be afraid. If I come to your territory, my autonomy will be lost. The woman is very strong. But as a woman, I have to carry the strength from my area with me, and on this basis I have to lead discussions and bring about changes in the other areas.
For example, the woman takes a step back at the first obstacle she encounters. Why? ‘He is a man. He will not change. For thousands of years we have dealt with you. You won’t be right anymore.’ So there’s a strong excuse. But it doesn’t hit what it’s really about. It rests on the autonomous structures. This is a mistake. So the woman’s equipment is not quite in place. In this sense, the mechanism is not sufficient. In fact, there is no reason at all to discuss the legitimacy of autonomous female structures. There, in my opinion, there has been a considerable accumulation of power.
Among friends there is the following phenomenon: He says to the woman ‘OK, let’s work together’, but does not give her trust. Interestingly, after a certain time, the man asserts his control. It happens, for example, that areas that are opened up by the women for cooperation with the men come under the control of the men after a certain time – when the men have little values and decency. We also discuss this phenomenon time and again in the various areas of practice. Does this mean that women are guilty of something, even though they meant well? Has she made herself guilty by acting in cooperation with you as a man? A man excludes a woman who does not suit him. The one he does like, he brings under his control. Generally speaking, we as men don’t know how to work with women. Don’t give men’s excuses any meaning. Even when the strongest, best woman comes to an area where a man is the commander at the front, it is easy to see that the man cannot even work with this woman. The following things happen on the side of the man: Nervousness, very concrete attempts to bring the woman under one’s own control, to use the competences given to him in a completely different way, to use power to enforce his control, to insist on having the last word in the style of habitual masculinity. All kinds of attitudes in this style then come to light. As men, we too have a need to work with women when we want to lead an area. Why should we first take precautions after a person has left? In short: This variety of mechanisms will result from the fact that woman and man will discard their power- and domination-focused qualities.
SOURCE: REVISTA LÊGERÎN 02 ENG