What is on?

David & Layla released
in USA from 20th of July

5th London Kurdish
Film Festival

Film about Kurdish female PKK leader Nuriye Kesbir

KurdishCinema.com - 12 January 2008

The International Documentary Film
Festival of Amsterdam (IDFA) is in its
20th year, and claims to be the biggest
of its kind in the world. It's a marketplace
where film buyers, filmmakers, and film
lovers all come together for screenings
that cover a vast range of non-fiction
topics. Often the films give a deeper
insight into geo-political hotspots than
what is normally available in the news

One such film is 'Sozdar, She Who Lives
Her Promise", which just premiered at
the IDFA. The central figure in the film is Nuriye Kesbir, who has named herself Sozdar. She is a
leader in the Turkey's Kurdish Workers Party, also known as the PKK, a rebel separatist
movement with a stronghold in the Kurdish mountains on the border of Turkey and Northern
Iraq.www.ekurd.net The director of the film, Annegriet Wietsma, was drawn to the idea of a
woman fighter. "I wanted to make a movie already for decades about the Kurdish problem but I
always hesitated, because the level of testosterone was a bit too high for me. But then I read
about this woman who was in Dutch jail. She was having a hunger strike, and I thought: 'This is
my chance.'"       

Nuriye Kesbir: Alleged 'terrorist'

On a trip to Europe in 2001, Kesbir was arrested at the airport in the Netherlands. She spent
several years fighting extradition to Turkey. Wietsma says,

"For the Turkish she is a terrorist. Therefore they ask for her extradition wherever she will be.
The judge didn't want to extradite her because the Turkish government didn't want to give
guarantees that she would have a fair trail and not be tortured, raped, whatever.

Because they said: 'We just don't torture and don't rape so we don't do it with her either.' And the
Dutch judge said: 'Well, we keep her here until we have these guarantees.'"

The film also gives insight into the Kurdish community living in Europe.

"Everybody is in motion. Nobody knows exactly: 'Am I Kurdish, am I Western, am I Turkish, what
am I?' So that's what you see also with how people dress and behave."


    In the end, Kesbir escaped back to Kurdistan without
    telling anyone. Wietsma was able to follow her later
    because of contacts she had made in the Kurdish
    movement. She speaks of the danger she encountered

    "I waited for the less dangerous period. Of course it's
    always dangerous because the week before I went two
    guys were hit by a grenade and killed. Of course it's a
    dangerous part of the world. Particularly now.www.ekurd.
    net The regions where I filmed are now in real danger and
    there's man to man fighting, there's grenades falling from
    the air by the Turkish army."

    Apparently Kesbir is still in safety. As for what will happen
    next, Wietsma offers this opinion:

"Nobody will know what will come in the next couple of months. My personal conviction is: you
can bomb these 10,000 girls and boys and men and women in this mountainous region. The
guerrillas. But you never can bomb and erase the problem of 40 million Kurds being an
unwanted people. You can't bomb that problem."

Radionetherlands  (www.ekurd.net)