Zehra Doğan knew she might want to get arrested if she went to Nusaybin, Turkey. She was warned.
After three years of peace negotiations, the 40-12 months-lengthy conflict between Turkey and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) had damaged out once more in the south-jap place in 2015, and Nusaybin – located at the Turkish-Syrian border – become stuck in the crossfire. Some three 000 civilians misplaced their lives.
‘In our lands, we got used to demise due to the fact we’ve got seen lots of people die – parents and spouse and children,’ Doğan tells New Internationalist, speakme through a translator.
The metropolis of Nusaybin (populace 80,000) is presently below army siege, and a strict curfew is in location. Since 2015, when the battle commenced once more, the Turkish government has shut down ratings of Kurdish media, institutions, language faculties, and cultural institutions.
The best reviews in the vicinity covered the Turkish navy’s aspect, and Zehra Doğan, a Kurdish journalist, working for Jinha – a feminist girls-best news organization reporting within the Kurdish language – desired to file the other side.
‘I’m from humans whose language and identification are rejected with the aid of the [Turkish] state,’ she says.
On the Independent, she wrote: ‘If I did no longer go, I would have been leaving my humans on their own. Their memories could by no means had been heard.’
Ways of seeing
But when Doğan changed into arrested in July 2016, it wasn’t for her journalism, however for a painting.
Believing that the arena didn’t understand Kurdish humans, conduct, and culture, she painted scenes of traditional life and local girls in vivid colors in her spare time. And when she found out Jinha’s reporting was not being noted or censored on mainstream media, she used to portray to record what she noticed and published her paintings on social media. Her pix provided the lacking Kurdish angle and shortly began to be shared broadly.
The maximum famous artwork reproduced a real photo of an army presence in Nusaybin, however, with a twist: the military tanks had been was ravenous civilian-consuming monsters.
After her arrest, witnesses testified in court that she turned into a member of an illegal organization – for which she became all at once placed into prison and saved in pre-trial detention.
While in confinement, Doğan’s paintings located new lifestyles. She observed the Turkish prisons to be teeming with lifestyles:
Turkey was arresting Kurdish newshounds because 2015, however after a failed coup strived in July 2016, lecturers, reporters, and activists across us additionally ended up at the back of bars. Using sweeping emergency powers and anti-terrorism legal guidelines, the government arrested over 60,000 humans in 2016 on my own, managed social media, and shut down vital newspapers.
‘So many newshounds who had memories to inform had been in jail,’ she says. ‘And their public changed into also in prison.’ So, it made sense to determined a newspaper there. Doğan amassed memories of approximately female political prisoners, human rights abuses, and published comment pieces on a DIY guide. Because no photos will be taken, she painted – using supplies sent to her from supporters outside the prison partitions.
The Turkish government did no longer take this form of activism gently. In September, they raided cells hoping to discover press machinery and evidence of printing the newspaper. However, they have been unsuccessful – everything had been executed via hand.
After the raids, Doğan and the prisoners ran another difficulty of the newspaper. Zehra recollects the front-web page headline:
‘Although we’re captive, we’re nonetheless after you.’
People out of doors prison also sent Doğan canvases, brushes, and paints to train different women prisoners to paint. They drew their own scenes and impressions of the way girls have been being mistreated daily.
In December 2016, Doğan’s trial ended. There becomes no conviction, and they become released. But the truce didn’t get ultimate lengthy:
she was arrested once more in March 2017 and sentenced to almost three years for ‘propagandizing for a terrorist company,’ a price that quantities to nothing more than posting her paintings on social media.