11 killed in 5 days in Bokan: We will not retreat for our future

NEWS CENTER - The people of Bokan have been standing up against the regime forces for the last two months. Despite 11 people being killed by the police on the streets in the last two weeks, the people do not take a step back. A citizen from Bokan, who was injured in the protests, says, "All our efforts are so that our children do live through the persecution we see."
Bokan is considered a young city compared to Rojhilat and many cities in Iran. This city, which has a total population of around 350 thousand people including the city center and the villages, is a city that also receives immigrants from the surrounding cities due to its advanced industry and agriculture. This city, 185 kilometers from Urmia, 204 kilometers from Tabriz and 649 kilometers from Tehran, is a city that connects 13 northern and southern provinces of Iran. Bokan, one of the most important and influential cities of Iran in terms of social, cultural, sportive, economic and political aspects, also has a high level of education. Bokan, where Hesen Zirek's grave is located, also has a pioneering role in the protests that has been going on for the last two months. Until November 15, the regime forces deployed a large military force in Bokan, where small-scale protests took place. Seeing this, the people took to the streets and protested the violence of the regime forces.
Between November 16 and November 21, Mîlad Marufî, Saman Qadirbegî, Muhammed Hezenzade, Esed Rehimi, Salar Mecawer, Xefûr Mewlûdî, Hejar Mamxusrevî, Hîwa Canan, Emced Înayetî, Mustafa Şabanî and Shahriyar Muhammedi lost their lives. The regime forces attacked the people, who stoned the town hall and some government offices, with firearms. There are also house raids from time to time in Bokan, in which hundreds of people are being detained, injured and tried to be kidnapped. However, the people state that they will not retreat against all attacks. Shopkeepers did not open their shops for almost a week.
Zagros Bokan (his name was changed for security reasons), who was beaten until he nearly fainted during the first protests in Bokan and escaped from being detained by the efforts of the people, states that he will never forget the violence he experienced and will not forgive this regime. Stating that the first protest started in Bokan the day after Jîna Emini was buried in Seqiz, Zagros Bokan said, "It was one day after Jîna Emini was killed. People started to take to the streets in Bokan. We also went out as young people. People were naturally just tajking to streets. There were no slogans, no marches. There were policemen right in front of us and these police were not Bokan's police. They were brought from Binab and Tabriz as reinforcement. Again, there were Bokan gunmen, which we refer to as jahsh. A tall 16-year-old boy slipped away from us and stood in front of the regime forces and shouted 'Jin, Jiyan, Azadi'. The policemen from Tabriz and Binab did nothing, perhaps because they did not fully understand what he was saying. One of the Kurdish policemen took the child's head under his arm and began to beat him. Together with a friend of mine, we tried to save the child from their hands. Then things escaleted. Of course, it was very difficult to take the child from their hands, on the one hand they were using batons and on the other hand they were trying to drag him and put him in the ambulance that they used as a police vehicle. I couldn't take it anymore and tried with all my might to pull the child out of their hands. I managed to save the boy, he ran away from them, but this time I fell into their hands."
Zagros Bokan said that he tried to resist the batons, kicks and gun butts that hit him all over his body, but that he could no longer move with the last electric baton. Zagros stated that he was treated at home instead of a hospital to avoid being taken into custody. "I couldn't believe I stayed alive after all the beating. I still haven't recovered."
Zagros Bokan, who still have bruises on his body from that day, both shows his photos after the beating and shows the traces of the violence he was subjected to. His blackened nails are about to fall out, too.
When I asked Zagros why did he feel the urge to save that child even though he knew he could get harmed, he answered, "When they started beating that child, I felt as if they were beating my child. That child went out on that street because he was Kurdish and demanded freedom. I went out with the same feelings. I couldn't control myself. Look, all our martyred friends are killed because they took to the streets for those who were martyred before them, and no one is taking a step back. Yes, a 15-year-old boy is  excited. However, we should not forget that the courage of that child far exceeds my courage. None of us dared to shout slogans, but that boy shouted the first 'Jin Jiyan Azadi' slogan. I had to get him out of the hands of those cops. Even if I was killed at the time. It would be a great honor. Because I prevented that child from falling into the hands of those oppressors. So I think I've saved a future that has a perspective much freer than I do. And then when talking to my friends everyone says the same thing. If our generation had been as brave as the present generation, everything would be different today."
When I ask what would have happened if that child had been taken into custody at that moment, Zagros Bokan replied: "Look, hundreds of people are detained here during the protests and during the house raids after the protests. Here, the detention periods can sometimes exceed two months. And the state denies that they have taken them into custody. Again, families can't even reveal the names of their children who were detained because they are threatened. There are also families who can succumb to these pressures of the state with the thought, they might be released sooner if they remain silent. But this is not the case. The regime forces are very brutal. I know many people who have been released from prison. Their stories are horrifying. When I remember these, I can more or less guess what that child may experience in detention. If that child had been put in that ambulance (the police use ambulances as a police car to detain people) at that time, we could not even imagine what would have happened to him. Wasn't Jîna killed like that?"
Zagros Bokan, who argues that he is 36 years old and that even worse things have happened than what happened to Jîna until this age, said, "Our blood has been spilled in this geography for decades. We are persecuted and oppressed. We cannot name our children in Kurdish, we cannot get them to receive education in their mother tongue in schools. However, Jîna has become a symbol. Our whole aim is that our young people under the age of 20 do not face the persecution we have been through, and hundreds of people have lost their lives in the last two months for this cause."
Expressing that he also remembers the protests that took place in Iran in 2009 and 2019, Zagros Bokan continues as follows: "At that time, people wanted jobs, food, and objected to the cost of living, people being crushed by rising inflation. However, these protests developed against 'degrading' of the peoples. Because when you trample a person's dignity, you will not leave anything behind from that person. I have hope this time, because all Iranian peoples are now aware that it is their personalities who are trampled on. The objection here is not only against compulsory hijab, but also against the design and molding of our lives. Imagine, people with such a deep-rooted culture and tradition have become ashamed to even say they are Iranian. Therefore, the Iranian peoples hope that they will conquer Iran again. We believe that with this rebellion, the new generation can breathe. At least they can live in a free, more developed Iran.
Wondering what prompted him to take part in these protests despite all that he went through and while many people died as a result of direct gunfire, I asked Zagros about his motivation which he answered as follows: "The most important thing for a person is dignity. I cannot accept the dishonor of sitting at home while people are being killed on the streets. If I live a hundred times worse than what has happened to me, I will still go out and claim my dignity. If I can't get my children to school the way I want, if I can't get them out for fear of being shot at any moment, death will be more valuable for this cause."
When I asked why the slogan "Jin, jiyan, azadi" became so popular, Zagros explained: "Actually, this slogan already existsin Rojhilat for many years. The pioneering power of women in Rojhilat goes back a long way. Even if we look at the recent history, we can see the leading role of women in the Republic of Kurdistan proclaimed in Mahabad. We have always followed with envy the women-led revolutions in Bakur and Rojava. I often get goosebumps with excitement watching them. We hope and believe it will happen in Rojhilat as well. In Bokan, the people now believe that they can achieve their freedom with women and life."
Tomorrow: What is the situation in Seqiz, the hometown of Jîna Emini?
MA / Abdurrahman Gok