Poet Alex Pinpin’s solidarity statement with Öcalan

The Filipino poet send a statement to the International Peace Initiative launched today in Brussels
Axel Pinpin, poet, activist and ex-political detainee from Philippines has released a statement of Solidarity for Abdullah Öcalan. Pinpin has sent his statement to the press conference organized in Brussels today by the International Peace Initiative (IPI) which will be launched together with a call from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu for the Resumption of Dialogue on the Kurdish question in Turkey.

This initiative is launched with the support of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. To mark the occasion, he and a list of eminent signatories including Nobel Peace Prize recipients and former heads of state and of government from the United States, Europe and Asia, including East Timor and Tibet, have issued a joint call for a Resumption of Dialogue between Turkey and the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, for a lasting and peaceful settlement of the Kurdish issue in Turkey.
We publish the statement by Pinpin in full:

In the spirit of expressing my utmost support for the December 3 International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners, I, Axel Pinpin, am calling for the immediate release of Abdullah Öcalan, founding member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who is now more than 13 years a political prisoner under the Turkish government. Öcalan has been illegally detained and filed with fabricated charges of “formation of armed gangs”, a familiar strategy around the world by the powers-that-be to criminalize legitimate political and collective dissent of workers and other sectors of societies for genuine progress.

I myself as a former political detainee can personally attest to the atrocities of our government, which is dictated by the primary imperialist power of the world, the United States government. In 2006, I together with four other comrades were abducted by state forces in Tagaytay City after which we experienced torture and were held incommunicado from relatives, lawyers and friends. The then Gloria Arroyo regime presented us to the public as “communist rebels” concerned with “destabilization of the state”. Our illegal detention lasted for more than 2 years amidst political pressure from different human rights groups here and abroad.

But we all know that our organizations represent the genuine demands of the peoples of our countries. As an agriculturist, I have decided to be an active member of the militant peasant group Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog-Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK) since I’ve left the academe. It was here that I’ve realized that the need for genuine land reform for the peasants as well as other people’s rights cannot be attained because of the greedy interests of big landlords and businessmen who hold posts in the local and national government precisely to protect foreign corporations. This similar conflict of interests of the rulers and the people here and in your country creates the condition for the only alternative solution: to fight for the people’s genuine national democracy.

I have had the privilege to meet some of your friends and comrades way back in December 2010 when I attended a symposium on torture and arbitrary detention and isolation in Istanbul, Turkey. It is here that I’ve come to understand the deeper sense of “International Solidarity”. That is why as much as possible, in everything that we do, we never forget to call for the end of various forms of human rights violations.

This December 3, on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners, we are set to conduct a simultaneous poetry reading to continuously bring awareness on the plight of political prisoners and create a strong support for our campaign for your freedom. Afterwards, as part of our commemoration for the 64th International Declaration of Human Rights, we are set to hold the Lakbayan ng mga Mamamayan ng Timog Katagalugan Para sa Karapatang Pantao (People’s March of Southern Tagalog for Human Rights) this December 3-10.

This long and painstaking march by thousands of Filipinos from local provinces to the government’s seat of power in Manila will be a symbol of our immeasurable condemnation to the Aquino government’s rampant human rights abuse to Filipino citizens. Currently, the human rights group Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) accounts 114 cases of extrajudicial killings, 12 enforced disappearances, 70 cases of torture and 224 individuals under illegal arrest and detention here in the Philippines.

It is in this context, that I along with my organization KASAMA-TK, stress our dismay and disgust to the Turkish government headed by Abdullah Gül for perpetuating human rights abuse through your continued illegal detention. We will not rest until you and all the other political prisoners around the world are released.

Our governments are no different from each other and in this sense, we are fighting the same world capitalist system led by U.S. Imperialism – it is therefore a must that we continue to strengthen our ranks and unite for our common goals.

I’ll leave you with a verse of one of my poems “Political Prisoner’s Song”, which is set to be read by people from different nationalities. May it serve to give you courage for our continued struggle and in the future create a world that truly respects and honors human rights:

Wash with the salve of poems the wounds of freedom!

Bash, bash down the smooth bars of prison!

Smash, and smash down the pestilence of oppression!

Rise, rise up in the night with the raging light!

Break, break down the weak walls of repression!

Fight, fight back incarceration with cries of emancipation!

For international solidarity,

Axel Pinpin

Poet, activist and ex-political detainee

Province of Cavite, Philippines

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