Today, in Turkey, we celebrate « Mother’s Day », in a country where so many Kurdish mothers « dream » of receiving, not flowers, but the body of a child killed or missing in the hands of the henchmen of the Turkish state.
It is not clear when and how Mother’s Day arrived in Turkey and Northern Kurdistan (Bakûr), but one thing is certain: every year, on the second Sunday in May, Mother’s Day is « celebrated » there. On this day, many Kurdish mothers, at least one of whose children has been killed or reported missing among the henchmen of the Turkish state, spend the day in tears.
The « luckiest » of these Kurdish mothers who have the graves of their children go there to pay their respects. But often their children’s graves are destroyed by the Turkish army because their children are labelled terrorists for having embraced the struggle for freedom to live free on their colonised land. Sometimes they watch over the cemeteries to prevent the Turkish soldiers from destroying the graves and sometimes, with their bare hands, they rebuild the destroyed graves, hence their nickname « The Kurdish Antigone ».
Others of them will stay at home, hoping one day to find the remains of their children who have been missing sometimes for so long. Some of them died without their « wishes » being granted.
Others continue to search for the remains of their children and to appeal to the Turkish authorities by gathering, dressed in their white veils, symbol of peace, every Saturday in Amed (Diyarbakir) or in Istanbul, in Galatasaray Square, for 25 years already. They are called the Mothers of Peace or Saturday Mothers. So while others celebrate Mother’s Day, we want these Kurdish mothers to have the right to have their children alive, no matter if they don’t have a feast day for them. There is nothing more sacred than the life of a child.
Agit Ipek’s mother holding her son’s bones in her lap. The Turkish authorities delivered the remains of her son by the regular postal service. Her son was killed in a battle with the Turkish army in Dersim on 23 May 2017.