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Love and War: Contemporary Kurdish Women Poets

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‘A revolution incapable of liberating women is not a revolution,’ the Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan has argued. Since Öcalan’s abduction and imprisonment by the Turkish authorities in 1999, the liberation struggle of the Kurds – the most populous nation in the world without a state of their own – has increasingly been led by women. Love and War brings together in English the work of fortyfive contemporary Kurdish women poets, including Bejan Matur, Sara Aktas, Fadwa Kilani and Sînîn Çaycî. Some of these poets write in the Kurdish languages of Kurmandji and Sorani, others in Arabic, Turkish, Farsi or French. Five are Yazidis. Each has experienced persecution and war. Several have been imprisoned. Many now live in exile, others in Iraq, Turkey, Iran or Rojava. All write about the need to live in freedom and the right to live in peace. Feminist, radical and internationalist, the poets in Love and War draw on oral tradition and song to articulate and celebrate the lives of Kurdish women as daughters, mothers and fighters.

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