The Purple Color of Kurdish Politics: Women Politicians Write from Prison

Regular price $ 22.95

Edited by Gültan Kışanak, translated by Ruken Isik, Emek Ergun, and Janet Biehl

Pluto Press UK

11/20/2022, paperback

SKU: 9780745347080


Prison writings from twenty-two Kurdish women who were elected to office in Turkey and then imprisoned by the state on political grounds.

Gültan Kışanak, a Kurdish journalist and former MP, was elected co-mayor of Diyarbakır in 2014. Two years later, the Turkish state arrested and imprisoned her. Her story is remarkable, but not unique. While behind bars, she wrote about her own experiences and collected similar accounts from other Kurdish women, all co-chairs, co-mayors, and MPs in Turkey; all incarcerated on political grounds.

The Purple Colour of Kurdish Politics is a one-of-a-kind collection of prison writings from twenty-two Kurdish women politicians. Here they reflect on their personal and collective struggles against patriarchy and anti-Kurdish repression in Turkey; on the radical feminist principles and practices through which they transformed the political structures and state offices in which they operated. They discuss what worked and what didn't, and the ways in which Turkey's anti-capitalist and socialist movements closely informed their political stances and practices.

Demonstrating Kurdish women's ceaseless political determination and refusal to be silenced - even when behind bars - the book ultimately hopes to inspire women living under even the most unjust conditions to engage in collective resistance.


"Takes the reader beyond mere political struggle to a vibrant interconnected memories and inner lives of Kurdish women political prisoners" -- Shahrzad Mojab, Professor at the University of Toronto and co-author of Women of Kurdistan

"This important, immensely moving translation is a key resource for anyone wanting to know more about the history of Kurdish women's political organising, adding so much depth to our understanding of how their struggle for gender-based equality and justice transformed each author's life trajectory and Kurdish politics as a whole" -- Isabel Käser, author of The Kurdish Women's Freedom Movement

"A powerful testament that a caged bird can still sing, this is an inspiring chorus for people world-wide to join hands and carry forth the fight for freedom, and for life, no matter what the circumstances" -- Alpa Shah, author of the award-winning Nightmarch: Among India's Revolutionary Guerrillas, and Professor of Anthropology at London School of Economics

About the Contributors:

Gültan Kışanak is a longtime journalist, politician and anticolonial feminist activist for Kurdish liberation, who was elected to Parliament in 2007 as the MP from Diyarbakır. In 2016 she was arrested and charged with 'being a member of an armed illegal organization', for which she was sentenced to over 14 years imprisonment.

Ruken Isik holds a Ph.D. in the field of Gender and Women's Studies from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Emek Ergun is an Associate Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Global Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Janet Biehl was the collaborator of the late Murray Bookchin. She translated Revolution in Rojava by Knapp et al. and the memoirs of the Kurdish revolutionary, Sakine Cansiz.