Speaking on the topic of “Opposing securitisation, linking our resistances”, Kurdish and Tamil activists from Campaign Against Criminalization of Communities (CAMPACC) criticized the policy of the denial of the freedom of expression and assembly of activists belonging to oppressed sections by governments in West in the name of “security”, at the TINAG annual festival at London on Sunday. The Kurdish and Tamil speakers, belonging to grassroots organizations of their respective communities, also observed the similarities in the criminalization of their respective movements by Western governments and the consecutive denial of a democratic political space for the articulation of their cause.
‘This is Not a Gateway’ (TINAG) festival, held from January 26 to 27, attempts to provide a platform for critical discussion and debate among progressive groups and activists.
Jiyan Avesta, from the Kurdish Federation, UK, spoke about how securitization measures and broad ‘anti-terrorism’ legislations negatively affected the normal human behaviour of individuals belonging to oppressed nations. Referring to the assaults on democratic Kurdish activities in the diaspora, including raids on community centres and curbing of Kurdish national media, Mr. Avesta also noted how anti-terror laws were used to systematically discourage a new leadership from emerging.
Sasithar Maheswaran, Eezham Tamil youth activist with the TCC-UK, drawing parallels with the repression of the Kurds, opined that the banning and curbing of freedom of expression and assembly was based on the logic of establishments wanting to deny space to voices that contradict their geo-political interests.
He was further of the opinion that a neo-liberal agenda of organizations like the ICG also played a role in this by branding those who held a principled political position as extremists.
Activist Diane Nelson spoke about the corporatized security of the British-Danish company G4S, criticizing the promotion of such private security groups.
Concluding the session, Les Levidow from CAMPACC urged for a building up of a common resistance by activists belong to oppressed nations and other marginalized groups.