Our World-Youth-Conference is about connecting with one another. Coming together from all over the world reminds us that we are not alone in our fight. But we don’t just meet other young activists. We also encounter the portraits and stories of martyres on the walls. Traces of people who have died in the struggle for a free life.
Why do we open the space for the dead in our midst? Why do remind ourselves so much of the past, if what we do is trying to shape the future?
We believe that we need to have a strong connection to our history and an awareness of our roots.
The current phase in the liberation of women is not understandable with knowledge of the witches that were burned. We cannot talk about Internationalism without an understanding of the last 150 years of socialist and anti-colonial struggles. Even though many times they got defeated or co-opted, they brought fourth millions of young people who dedicated their entire lives for the liberation of humanity. We need to understand how this happened to learn from it and continue further on their path. Their sacrifice cannot be taken lightly.
We owe it to them to honor and guard their achievements, to not repeat their mistakes, and to never forget who were their murderers.
In the Western culture, there is often a very alienated relationship with death and the dead. They make people uncomfortable, so they are pushed to the margins. But what we in this Paris conference have learned from our international comrades, is a culture that puts the martyred front and center. The Kurdish Liberation movement calls them ‘Şehîd’ and puts a great emphasis on their legacy. That is only way to not lose morale as a movement with tens of thousands killed. Seeing ourselves in a direct line of continuity with their fight means that we do not despair, on the contrary, we even grow stronger from it. When we know we stand on the shoulders of an endless history of struggling humanity, then nothing can stop us. We realize that to the history of domination and exploitation, there has also always been a counterpart of resistance. When we as young people read books about dead kings and generals as “history”, then we will uphold our own history, the people’s history.