In a period during which imperialism and fascism are attacking from all sides. In which every action for the interest of people’s progress is suffocated with darkness. In a period during which even the conduct of legal demonstrations and the use of basic human rights and democratic freedoms are restricted by demagogues for terrorism. At a time when workers, civil servants, university and high school students, progressive intellectuals, and all the people who do not accept capitalist darkness are being subjected to repression and crushing, members and supporters of the People’s Front – Turkey, organized a three-day cultural festival in London, in order to show the unity and power of the revolutionaries and their friends
The main part of the festival’s work was taken over by staff and the community around the Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Center in London. The event took place from June 28th to June 30th , in the Park of the Federation of the Alevi`s Cultural Associations in UK. The program of the festival took place on schedule and achieved the success.
The festival, which has been prepared by hundreds of volunteers for weeks, which managed to bring together thousands of people in a single cause, and a common claim, was called “We want justice!”.
Day 1st – June 28th 2019.
The festival started at 14:00, with a meeting-discussion in the building of the Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Center in London. During the discussion, video materials about the activities of the Center for Fighting with Drug Addictions and Violations, Hasan Ferit Gedik, were displayed. The main part of the discussion was under the motto “We want justice”. In the final part of the meeting, there were comments on the international situation.
At 19:30, the participants and guests of the festival had the opportunity to watch the play “Live, from what don’t live” (in Turkish “Yaşar, Ne yaşar ne yaşamaz”), written by Progressive Turkish writer Aziz Nesin. The theatrical performance was played by actors from the People`s Theater Company Meryem Altun part of the Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Center.
Day 2nd – June 29th 2019
The second day of the festival again began with a minute of silence in memory of all the revolutionaries who gave their lives in the struggles for socialism and freedom of the peoples of the world. Then the program of the festival continued with a discussion on “We want justice”. Then the duo Fran and Flora came out on stage, singing songs in Romanian, Yiddish and English about the struggles of workers in US and about love. The virtuos performance of the violin and violoncello duo was widely acclaimed by the audience. At the end of their performance, the two musicians gave their CD to the Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Center employees, and in turn they gave them the last album of the left-wing music band Grup Yorum entitled “Fight Never Thing” (in Turkish “İlle Kavga” ).
The singer Sevim Aslan was invited on stage. With her beautiful voice she performed songs dedicated to those who died in the mass murder in the city of Sivas, in July 1993, intellectuals, and the victims of the earthquake in the city of Erzincan in 1992.
After Aslan, the poet Ibrahim Karaca came out on stage. He arrived specially from Turkey to participate in the festival. He recited his poems with which he carried the audience from one feeling to another. He recited his poems dedicated to the political prisoners, the guerillas, the struggles of the oppressed people. He finished his acting with a poem by Nazm Hikmet. He once again showed that art should be from the people to the people.
Day 3rd – June 30th 2019
The third and final day of the festival took place to the Park of the Federation of the Alevi`s Cultural Associations. The park was decorated with red flags on all sides, ready to meet our people. In a few hours the park was filled with thousands of people. Everyone felt the atmosphere that distinguished this festival from other events.
The program on the third day of the festival began with a minute of silence in memory of all the revolutionaries who died in the struggles of the peoples of the world. During the minute of silence, Pablo Neruda’s poem “Enemies” were recited.
Then, the program continued, with speeches and screening of the pictures in which the protest against the purges of fascist power was told on Yuksel Boulevard in Ankara; on the protest actions of People’s Front members against xenophobic policies in Western Europe; the struggle of lawyers from the People’s Law Bureau, the alternatives created by the People’s Architects and Engineers, the struggle of the families of the political prisoners, the repressions against the musicians of Grup Yorum.
Then, a member of the People’s Front, Cagri Guler, who, since the beginning of April, is protesting against the withdrawal of his right to reside in England for his revolutionary activity, held a speech on the stage.
The festival had no fixed presenter, so everyone on the scene invited the guest who had to come out after him.
The program continued with traditional dances of the peoples of Colombia and Peru. With their colorful costumes and their musical performances, the dancers attracted the attention of the audience. After them, the dance ensemble of the Alevi cultural center in London came out on stage. Ensemble have invited Israafil Erbil – the head of the center, to the stage. In his enthusiastic speech, Erbil reminded about the mass murder in Sivas on July 2, 1993, and stressed that besides paying tribute to the perished, their killers should be called to account. He called on the participants in the festival to take part in the annual commemorative procession on July 2nd in London. After the ensemble, singer Özlem Taner came out on stage, followed by performer Yılmaz Celik. They sang songs in which the traditional folk elements are very well combined with the modern sound. After them on the stage, Barış Güney is familiar with his virtuos mastery of the bağlama instrument (also known as saz or tambura). After Güney, a performer of a traditional Scottish bagpipe came out on stage. After bagpipe performer, Selcuk Balcı, who is loved by the audience for performing traditional songs from the Black Sea region of Turkey, took his place on stage. After Baldcı, singer Huseyin Turan performed his songs. After that the poet of the people İbrahim Karaca recited his poems. After a short pause, video messages sent by the participants in the protest against the purges in the public sector, which takes place daily at Yuksel Blvd. in the capital city Ankara. Families of political prisoners of People`s Front from Turkey also send a video message.
The poet Ibrahim Karaca invited the musicians from the Grup Yorum to the stage who, with their music and the struggle on the cultural front, have become hope for the people.
The joy, the anger, the grief of the people watching the concert, flowed into the chanted slogans. Grup Yorum performed some of their bellowed songs: Haziran – dedicated to the June Uprising in Turkey in 2013. A woman walks on the square – edicated to brave revolutionaries, Elegy for Ulai, dedicated to the revolutionary Ulai Bardakçı, who martyred in a shout out with police and soldiers in 1972, Kızıldere dedicated to Revolutionary leader Mahir Çayan and his comrades who martyred in the village of the same name in 1972, Fires will be raging in this country, America is the enemy, The sun has risen in Dersim, We swear by your love, Hey my Anatolia, This neighborhood is ours, Reber – dedicated to the revolutionary leader Dursun Karataş, The Bride of Our People, dedicated to Ayçe İdil Erkmen, a female revolutionary, actress, a writer who martyred in the Hunger Strike till Death, in the Turkish prisons in July 1996, Life is a Struggle dedicated to the struggle of the Kurdish people, Cemo devoted to the guerrillas. Grup Yorum finished their performance with the marches – We Are Right, We Will Win and Bella Ciao.
The concert was attended by nearly 10,000 people.
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