The holiday of Newroz has always held a special place in the history of Kurdistan. Newroz, a celebration of the arrival of spring and a new year, is also a day of resistance and victory over oppression. As a festival of freedom, Newroz commemorates the heroic Kurdish struggle against tyranny, which continues to inspire us today and has become a lasting symbol of liberation from slavery, occupation, colonialism, and all forms of subjugation.
The Kurdish people through their great sacrifices, have made Newroz a celebration of life and unity throughout all of Kurdistan and the diaspora. Year after year, the Kurdish people celebrate Newroz as a national event, in the villages, cities, public squares, and even prisons. In all areas of life, Newroz is our beacon of freedom, playing an important role in our ongoing struggle against oppression. While many other peoples of the region also celebrate Newroz, the Kurds, through many years of resistance and struggle, have rediscovered its ancient message, and transformed the day into our most sacred and symbolic national holiday.
Today, the fire of Newroz burns brightly throughout Kurdistan. In Southern and Western Kurdistan, Newroz is officially celebrated, while in Eastern and Northern Kurdistan, the Iranian and the Turkish states conspire together to deny and suppress our joy and expressions on this critical day. Thankfully, despite the best efforts of the occupiers, Newroz flames will still light up the darkness in villages from Amed to Kirmaşan, as no one can suffocate our freedom.
With Newroz we begin a new year, more committed than ever to free Kurdistan from the shackles which bind us. Last year was once again a year of struggle for our people, as our enemies attacked us from all sides. The Turkish state is attacking us in three parts of Kurdistan (North, South, and West) to erase the achievements of our people and destroy what we have built, pursuing a large-scale war of choice against us with no regard for international law or human rights. Sadly, Erdogan’s cruelty and thirst for barbarism is unquenchable, as last year we documented over 300 incidents involving the use of banned chemical weapons by Turkish forces in Kurdistan. Meanwhile, the Iranian regime also steadfastly refuses to recognize the rights of our people and targets Kurdish activists and other civilians in various ways, silencing, torturing, and executing real and perceived opponents of the paranoid dictatorship.
While Newroz and the Kurdish language enjoy official status in Southern Kurdistan, this region nonetheless continues to face serious threats and difficulties, as the enemies of the Kurdish people work tirelessly to weaken and undermine their federal status and occupy the region. In unison, the Turkish military continues its relentless bombing of Southern Kurdistan and is expanding its large zones of military occupation in parallel to a campaign of deforestation. In stark violations of sovereignty, the Turkish state also continues to threaten and attack Western Kurdistan, where it maintains zones of military occupation in cooperation with jihadist proxy militias. The terrorized and occupied city of Afrin in particular, has become the epicentre of the principle that wherever there is Kurdish life, Turkey wishes to bring death. At the same time, the Syrian regime looks for opportunities to weaken Kurdish autonomy and self-rule, as the brutal Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group continues to pose a threat in Syria and beyond with Ankara’s blessing.
The current situation of our people defines our duties and responsibilities. We must take strong measures against all forces of occupation and strengthen our defences to frustrate the attacks of our enemies and defend the achievements of our people. National unity is paramount to preserving and protecting all Kurds and Kurdistan – so we must strive for unity and strengthen it at all costs. We must make this a year of unrelenting unified struggle in all four regions of our homeland. Together we proclaim, “Now is the time for freedom and victory!” and we will celebrate this Newroz as a united nation under this banner.
Against the backdrop of these renewed threats against our people, we welcome Newroz with the full spirit of serhildan (Uprising)! And regardless of whatever obstacles arise, we will continue to gather and celebrate Newroz with this spirit of resistance and freedom. The same occupier’s cruelty that led to martyrdom fires in Diyarbakir’s Prison No. 5, will now ignite flames of rebellion from every mountaintop in Kurdistan. And during this critical stage in our liberation, every flicker in every fire should be a light for national unity and solidarity throughout our nation.
As the spark of resistance kindles freedom fires across Kurdistan and throughout the world, the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) welcomes Newroz and extends its warmest wishes to all Kurds and peoples of Kurdistan on this solemn but celebratory occasion.
Let Newroz 2022 reignite our hopeful mission,
“Now is the time for freedom and victory!”
KNK Executive Council