The 2016 demise of Abdullah Öcalan was not publicized due to the varying political considerations of those concerned, yet for the sake of the feminist PKK movement itself needs it also officially complete its feminist leadership transition.
Abdullah Öcalan (1948-2016) was born in a Dönmeh Kurdish family of Islamized Alevi origin in Bakur (North Kurdistan). Öcalan became a founding member of the then Marxist-Leninist PKK and led an insurgency from his headquarters in Damascus as backed up by the GRU, Soviet military intelligence. Öcalan’s native language was Turkish which remained his working language as guerilla leader. Although born in a Dönmeh family did he never become an agent for the Derin Devlet, the Dönmeh-led Turkish military intelligence agency ultimately in control of the Turkish state.
Abdullah Öcalan was captured in Kenya in 1999 through a joint intelligence operation between Turkey and the United States after having been effectively expelled from Syria in 1997. Abdullah Öcalan was sentenced to capital punishment but this was later commuted to lifelong imprisonment.
After Syrian totalitarian dictator Hafez al-Assad unilaterally ended its alliance with the PKK and ordered PKK leaders to leave the country in 1997 did Öcalan commence what turned into a long series of diplomatic overtures to Israel. A diplomatic relationship developed and at the historic 2004 Israel-Kurdistan student ethnic networking conference at the Jewish Community Center in Stockholm was it agreed to include the PKK in the people-to-people alliance between the two peoples and the two countries although the PKK movement itself did not participate in an official capacity at the conference.
The new alliance between Israel and the PKK meant that the PKK commenced its long ideological journey from Marxism-Leninism to empowered feminism as Israel would not willingly align with any form of totalitarianism. The Israel-Kurdistan special relationship in its entirety (including with the PUK and PKK movement) has always been managed by Israeli Barzanis and Öcalan as confined to the prison island of Imrali agreed to publish a series of books in his name on behalf of the Mossad.
In the PKK originally having been a Marxist-Leninist organization was the persona of Öcalan surrounded by a cult of personality and this cult of personality did not completely end despite the feminist transformation of the PKK from totalitarianism to meticulously democratic feminist grassroots community organizers. It would seem somewhat bizarre for a feminist movement to maintain a cult of personality around a patriarchal figure but this unfortunately remained as a remnant of the PKK’s totalitarian past.
After the demise of Abdullah Öcalan in September 2016 through a heart attack was his family for political reasons not notified of his death so not politically turn Öcalan into a martyr. The death was not induced and Öcalan’s relative obesity had as is common to many patients caused him health issues. The Derin Devlet as well aware of the Mossad’s symbiotic relationship with the PKK movement informed Israel about the demise of Öcalan and the Mossad subsequently with the consent of the Derin Devlet informed the PKK movement although many PKK movement leaders simply refused to believe that Öcalan was no longer alive.
Despite the PKK movement’s profound democratization and comprehensive transformation into feminist empowerment did the PKK movement continue to use some totalitarian language for propaganda purposes in even in English referring to the demised Öcalan as “the Leader of the Kurdish people” or simply “the Leader” as unfortunately highly reminiscent of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Juche North Korea despite the PKK having otherwise mostly, but not entirely disengaged from its totalitarian past.
It was implausibly claimed that the feminist PKK’s intersectional feminist thought was somehow mystically invented by Mr. Öcalan when in fact those ideas were the brainchilds of prominent feminist theorists who were sadly not officially credited for this by the PKK feminist movement which clung to the forged patriarchal attribution of books published in the name of its former leader.
While it could be argued that ghostwriting books for the imprisoned Mr. Öcalan in political terms amounted to a pious lie was this very much part of the PKK’s comprehensive transformation from agent of patriarchal totalitarianism to feminist champion of grassroots democracy; a process of democratization, liberalization and universal emancipation indeed.
A cult of personality and even a cult of a dead patriarchal figure ought have no place in a feminist movement as meticulously committed to freedom, emancipation and democracy. The PKK certainly needs to complete its essential transformation from totalitarianism to democracy by increasingly also publicly acknowledging and presenting itself as simply a feminist movement.
The PKK movement has founded the first feminist state in Rojava (West Kurdistan & North Syria) with now the world’s most effective army as trained by Israelis, armed by the United States and weapons imports all funded by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The tremendous success of the feminist social revolution in Rojava is literally astounding as are the heroic military victories of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) feminist army and the fearless YPJ women’s corps.
Yet, the international community has lingering questions and indeed doubts about the future of the PKK movement as to whether it will proceed on its path of feminist democracy or whether it will slide back into totalitarianism. There have certainly long been fears that any release of Abdullah Öcalan would lead to Rojava becoming a totalitarian state as Öcalan had a reputation for utter ruthlessness while heading the then Marxist-Leninist PKK guerilla organization which at the time funded itself through international drug trafficking as well as by extorting expatriate Kurdish business owners in Europe.
When people speak about the PKK do they often refer to the HPG and the women’s YJA-Star; namely the armed wing of the PKK movement in Turkey and occupied North Kurdistan. The PKK however as an organization no longer exists as the PKK is a broad regional and international social movement and very few of the movement’s constituent organizations are legally designated as “terrorist” outside of Turkey and occupied North Kurdistan and now certainly most unfairly so considering that the armed branches of the feminist PKK movement meticulously adhere to the laws of war.
The feminist PKK movement today has a collective leadership and so the movement has succeeded in the immense challenges that is has faced and certainly continues to face. The totalitarian-style cult of a dead patriarchal figure is certainly unbecoming of a moderately radical feminist movement and the feminist PKK movement would be particularly well advised to cease dissemination of KGB-style public communication which unfortunately gives an unfair and false impression of an otherwise mostly meticulously democratic feminist grassroots movement indeed.
Contrary to PKK propaganda did Mr. Öcalan actually resign from his position as the movement’s leader once the movement had been included in the special relationship between Israel and Kurdistan and between the Jewish people and the Kurdish people in 2004.
All secular Kurdistani political parties and associated militias are Israeli proxies as today mostly managed through Israel’s TEVEL intelligence diplomatic corps. The PKK movement as other parts of the Kurdistani movement are thus under the protection and guidance of Israeli Barzanis who must not be confused be with the related and unfortunately widely diplomatically, economically and politically self-discredited Kurdistani Barzanis. It was a KDP demand even before 1963 that Israel’s relations with the Kurdistani movement would be managed by Israeli Barzanis and this has remained so ever since despite the frequent and vociferous animus against Kurdistani Barzanis within the PKK movement.
The current relationship between Israel and the Kurdistani movement is a pseudo-feudal one between patron and clients while in contrast the two peoples and certainly the Israeli government itself seek an equal relationship on mutual terms between two free peoples. Israeli Barzanis and other Kurdish Rabbinic Jews once lived under feudal-style protection of fellow Kurdish kinspeople whose ancestors had been involuntarily Islamized and so the patron-client relationship was reversed with Israeli Barzanis and other Israeli Kurds taking on the role of protector of their Kurdistani kinspeople and indeed increasingly as protector of the Kurdish people generally rather than as in the past in Kurdistan Islamized Kurds protecting Kurdish Rabbinic Jews from Muslim persecution.
The establishment of a shadowy feminist cabinet for all of Free Kurdistan as represented by two women from each one of the four major Kurdistani political parties of KDP, Gorran, PUK and PYD (the political party of Syrian PKK) is a tremendous achievement for the feminist PKK movement in particular and for the Kurdistani liberation movement in general as the successful feminist methods of the PKK movement in Rojava in empowered feminist social revolution now need to become implemented in Bashur (South Kurdistan) as well as empowered feminism is the secret behind the astounding military victories of the SDF feminist army in increasingly crushing the Rapist Caliphate which to many Muslims around the world once seemed almost invincible and therefore religiously credible in terms of its claimed divine protection as articulated through narratives of Islamic historiography.
Announcing the demise of a former leader whom since 2004 has not actually led the movement and whose demise occurred already a year ago is not easily done and telling the public that he did not write the books that were published in his name is certainly an even more a difficult feat. Yet the movement needs to plan and implement this strategic transition in strengthening its commitment to not only freedom, emancipation and democracy but also to truth (including truthfulness about history) in committing to abandon the destructively self-discrediting KGB propaganda techniques which it learned to deploy during the period when its headquarter was in Hafez al-Assad’s Damascus, including the lingering totalitarian-style cult of personality around a demised patriarchal figure.
The task ahead is not only to build an inclusively pluralistic, unified Kurdistan without ethnocracy as based on freedom, emancipation and democracy but also to find creative ways to plan and implement full disengagement from totalitarianism and authoritarianism alike. Announcing the demise of Abdullah Öcalan and officially completing the feminist leadership transition from patriarchy to empowered feminism are surely not easy political tasks but certainly essential ones and the feminist PKK movement which is known for its bravery needs to proudly march into the feminist future in this respect as well as indeed in others.
Embracing and designing the future also requires being truthful about the past and so the feminist PKK movement needs to plan this brave leap into the future by becoming truthful and transparent about its past. Kurdish leaders have tended to offer propaganda rather than share information to the Kurdish people and as knowledge is power has this unfortunately served the continued disempowerment of the Kurdish people which certainly deserve to be told truth about its past, present and future. Free Kurdistan needs an independent process of truth and reconciliation which must necessarily include becoming transparent and acknowledging the crimes as committed by the various Kurdistani movements against the Kurdish people.
The feminist PKK movement needs not only acknowledge but also importantly fully disengage from its totalitarian past and become transparent about itself being based on intersectional feminism as certainly not invented by a long imprisoned and now demised former leader from its tragically totalitarian period indeed.
Let’s be very clear about the immense challenges involved in building a new independent state and even more so in times of war. Always endeavoring as far as possible to tell the truth to the people will precisely only strengthen and empower the people in its righteous struggle for the noble cause of liberty. Democracy comes through through freedom and freedom comes through truth and truth is articulated through empowerment. The feminist PKK movement has incredible challenges ahead and certainly deserves to become internationally assisted in this and other respects as part of the humanitarian nation-building process of Kurdistan and its very brave people indeed.