NO FRIENDS BUT THE MOUNTAINS – solidarity with Rojava

There is a famous saying that the Kurds have NO FRIENDS BUT THE MOUNTAINS. This is why on the international day of action demanding the end of Turkey’s occupation of Rojava, filmmaker and artist Hito Steyerl, the first woman to have been listed as the “most influential personality in the international art world”, was joined by two philosophers, DiEM25’s co-founder Srećko Horvat and DiEM25 Advisory Panel member Boris Buden who performed an action of solidarity by visiting Tito’s cave on the island of Vis in the Adriatic Sea.

The cave itself, hidden in the hills of island Vis far from the mainland, carries historic significance. Not only was it the place from which the Partisan resistance movement would successfully defy a much more powerful enemy during WWII, it was also the place from where they would, so to say, break out of the mountains and liberate the territory of Yugoslavia from occupation, and finally establish a new state.

A rare BBC recording from 1944, when the Partisans were using Vis as their headquaters, describes how this resistance looked like:  

“Across the Adriatic Sea, throughout the once carefree hunting grounds for rich yachts along the Dalmatian coast and in the wild picturesque heights of Yugoslavia, one of the most heroic battles of this war is in progress today . . . These people know what they are fighting for. They have absolute faith that they are right and in their ultimate fate. And it is a great and unique experience in this world of cynicism and divided loyalty to be among them and to be able to help them.”

According to Srećko Horvat, the motive behind the solidarity action with Rojava was not just to enact transnational solidarity with the current struggle of the Kurdish people, of which more than 100,000 have already been displaced. The point of the solidarity action, which could simply be called NO FRIENDS BUT THE MOUNTAINS, was also a sort of temporal solidarity, connecting two resistance struggles, which have more in common that it seems.

There are still friends in the mountains!

We are the mountains.

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