From Black Rose Books. Your Freedom and Mine: Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish Question in Erdoğan’s Turkey

Hello everyone,

We at Black Rose Books are very excited about the book project Your Freedom and Mine: Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish Question in Erdoğan’s Turkey. The title comes from a letter from Mandela when he was imprisoned on Robben Island. The editors Jeff Miley and Federico Venturini have been hard at work on the book. Jeff has written an important 130 page chapter about the history of the Kurdish Question in Turkey. A whole group of international solidarity activists have also made important contributions about their initiatives: Estella from Peace in Kurdistan UK, Kariane and Michael Gunter from the EUTCC, as well as Adem Uzun of the KNK, Simon Dubbins at UNITE, Simon Smellie at the Freedom for Ocalan at UNISON, and Havin Guneser and Reimar Heider at the International Initiative ‘Peace in Kurdistan’. Finally, we have included the reports from the delegations, some articles by Jeff Miley, and the testimonials/accounts of you the delegates, which offer unique reflections of your experiences on the delegations.

The release date for the book is March 21st 2018, which is Newroz. We want the book to make as big an impact as possible, not only to sell copies of the book, but also to raise the issues of the Kurdish Question, to discuss the proposals of Ocälan and the Kurdish Freedom Movement for genuine peace, and to discuss what we as the international community can do in solidarity. Our aim it is reach out with the book in order to have a political impact for a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question.

In order to do this, we need your help in two main ways:

Organising book events

Getting media publicity and book reviews

Book Events

We would like to encourage you to think about organising a book launch in your city (or even elsewhere if you will be travelling). The release is a good opportunity for you, and organisations you are connected to, to reflect on the Imrali peace delegations and to discuss the political issues.

We are already planning to organise some events in the politically important places such as Brussels (European Parliament), Strasbourg (Council of Europe) and London, as well as Cambridge (where Jeff is located), and possibly a UK tour with Federico.

An alternative to organising a book launch is reaching out to organisations already organising events about the Kurdish Question and you proposing that they have another speaker on the panel (Jeff Miley over video link) to talk about the book. We encourage you also to think about any other events that may be worthwhile to do a book event at. This includes grassroots events (radical book fairs, social forums etc.), foreign policy conferences, human rights forums, Middle East politics conferences etc.

The launch date of the book is Newroz, March 21st 2018, but the book will be available for events from early/mid March. Certainly, there will also be other events organised around the anniversary of Öcalan’s capture (February 15). The book won’t be available for this but we will have flyers available and we can make the book available to pre-order for a discount – we can send pre-order forms.

Sending books: If you are interested to organise any event in your city or elsewhere, please contact Federico and Nathan. Nathan can organise the sending of books to your events through Black Rose Books’ various distribution points. There is Central Books based in London, the University of Chicago Press based in the US, and the University of Toronto Press in Canada. We can send books to anywhere in Europe or North America (and beyond, although it starts to get more expensive). The key is to plan the events well in advance so they can be publicised well, so that media can be contacted and invited, and so that the books can arrive in advance.

Reviews, Endorsements, and Media

Beyond organising events, another very important way that you can help is by getting reviews of the book in the media or academic journals. Do you have contacts in the media who would be willing to review the book? Do you know other public figures who could review the book? Do you know academics who could review the book in academic journals?

Finally, we are also looking for endorsements of the book, to put on the back cover of the book or to use in publicity. Do you know prominent individuals who are supportive of the cause, from whom we could ask for an endorsement? We can send you the PDF to send to such people. We would like get some of these as soon as possible, ideally by mid next week, to be included in the first print run but we would certainly welcome others that would come in later, by the end of the month.

Given the fact that the Kurdish Questionis a lot in the news now, especially around the terrible Turkish invasion of Afrin, if you are ever invited to speak to media about the issues in Turkey and the Kurds in Syria, this could also be a good opportunity to mention the book and the delegations.

Comments and suggestions are welcome.

If you have any question please do not hesitate to contact me.


Federico Venturini

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