Supporting the Kurds

I start my day protesting in front of the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv. I’m here because Turkey is invading Kurdistan and I want to show my support for the Kurds, a diverse but cohesive, mutually-respectful, democratic group. You know those courageous female Yazidi soldiers? Those escaped ISIS sex slaves? Fighting shoulder-to-shoulder with Zoroastrians, Atheists, Christians, Jews, Sunnis and others resisting ISIS? Many are Kurds.

I care about other groups, movements and nations as well. But this morning I’m here. I don’t even completely know why.

I hold up my sign.

An armed Turkish soldier in uniform, darker than an IDF or United States Army uniform, emerges from the Turkish Embassy. He walks directly toward me. Inches away he swerves.

More men emerge from the Turkish Embassy, These men have expressions of barely-restrained rage. They wear black shirts and khakis. I sense an unspoken threat. They take my picture repeatedly. Tersely speak into phones. Israeli police cars pass, too many for this to be a matter of chance. An Israeli police officer on motorcycle parks.

I discover one other protestor at a distance, partly-shielded within a stone stair. I cross both sides of the highway and approach. We talk. We come from different backgrounds, have different orientations, but both wish strength to the Kurds who have been pretty much abandoned by every other group and nation on earth. We decide to stand together in the median of the highway.

The motorcycle police officer comes over to talk. He asks if we plan on using a megaphone. Doing so never occurred to me. With my terrible Hebrew? Ha ha. Not gonna happen. We’re just here with our signs. I ask if we’re breaking any laws. He says we are not.

The men in black shirts and khakis continue to glare. They seem to be making demands. It appears they want the Israeli police to arrest us. Three more Israeli officers show up, and someone who I’m guessing is Shin Bet. They refuse to arrest us. Turkish soldiers still appear at intervals but now they do not approach. I wonder what’s going on behind the embassy windows.

If I was alone…. If this wasn’t public…

I continue to hold up my sign.

Bypassers honk their support.

A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) female fighter stands with her weapon east of Raqqa city, Syria, Nov. 6, 2016. (Photo: Reuters/Rodi Said)

 

About the Author
Sari Friedman's writing has won several awards, including an "Exceptional Talent" award from the Israeli Ministry of Culture.
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