Book Review: Felix Padel reviews Manifesto for a Democratic Civilization: Vol I by Abdullah Öcalan

Felix Padel has written a review of Manifesto for a Democratic Civilization: Vol I. Civilization. The Age of Masked Gods and Disguised Kings by Abdullah Öcalan, translated by Havin Guneser.

The review can be read (as a PDF file) here

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2 Comments on “Book Review: Felix Padel reviews Manifesto for a Democratic Civilization: Vol I by Abdullah Öcalan”

  1. Phil Carter
    April 29, 2016 at 1:41 am #

    You say that “There is a lot that must be learnt from the Kurdish democratic
    movement, and its inspiration in Öcalan‟s writings, if we humans are ever
    to progress beyond the power structures laid down in ancient Sumer,
    Greece and Rome, based on exploitation, oppression and unceasing wars.” But Ocalan has made a career out of unceasing war, by founding the highly violent and cultish PKK movement that in addition to provoking a civil war that has left over 30,000 dead has recently promised to expand its violence to the whole of Turkey in revenge for the crackdown by Turkish authorities.

    If we are to progress as a race then yes we need to learn, by judging charismatic demagogues like Ocalan by their deeds and not their words. In idolizing Ocalan in such an uncritical way like this you will doubtless please his well-documented desire to be seen as a religious savior-type figure. But you are disingenuous as you manage to ignore persistent reports of murders of Kurds who dare to criticize him. One recent example would be Osman Balic, a former PKK commander who had written critically about Ocalan. He was reported murdered in 2014 by unknown assailants, along with his 3-year-old daughter.

    It is also troubling how you manage to ignore suppression of critical Kurdish press in the new Ocalan-aligned canton of Kobane that you refer to. Recently, Rudaw, a Kurdish news agency based in Iraqi Kurdistan, has recently been reported as being banned from operating there. One might go so far to say that the Turkish leader Erdogan, in his well-known crackdown on critical journalists in Turkey, is taking a page from Ocalan’s playbook. It is hard to see which leader is more ruthless in this regard.

    Overall, your review and indeed the book if it accurately reflects it, shows an obsession with flowery depictions of ancient civilizations and a very poor grasp of present realities. You quote Ocalan in a way that is fawning and leaves one wondering if you also see him as your personal religious savior. You quote him as saying “love for truth is the only guarantee of free life‟ but completely ignore the persistent reports of murder of dissident Kurds that I have alluded to.

    But on one point I can agree with you. You quote Ocalan as saying that as humans we have to transition away from false kings and gods, and I say absolutely. Ocalan with his messianic delusions would be a good place to start.


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