The people are not insoluble: Alternative democratic local governments
- 11:36 15 February 2023
WAN - Underlining that the central system is not a solution to the earthquake crisis, HDP Democratic Local Administrations Central Committee member Xecê Kîye stated that a democratic system in which local governments will take the initiative is an alternative.
After the earthquakes in Mereş and the destruction in 10 cities of Kurdistan, the bodies continue to be removed from the rubble. The fact that the central state mechanism carries out the process with orders and instructions causes these losses to increase even more and the aid does not reach the earthquake victims. It is a matter of curiosity how the State of Emergency (OHAL) declared by the state mind in 10 cities will benefit earthquake survivors. With the declaration of the State of Emergency, which cuts off the solidarity between peoples rather than benefits, the state mind, which placed soldiers, guards and paramilitary forces in earthquake zones, tries to use the process in favor of itself rather than the peoples.
We talked with Xecê Kîye, a member of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Democratic Local Governments Central Committee, about the blockages in the current state system during the earthquake and the alternative to be created against it.
'Central administration disabled vital functions'
First of all, Xecê drew attention to the current government's post-earthquake execution practices. “Some cities were almost destroyed. People have not been able to reach their bodies for days. The food and shelter needs of the survivors are not met. Scientists also say that possible earthquakes that will occur every time will cause tens of thousands of loss of life. We had a situation to prevent the devastating consequences of an earthquake characterized by apocalypse. Today, geologists cannot find jobs in Turkey because they are not valued. All universities have departments, but they cannot be functionalized. Today, the central system is in a position that disables all decisions, mechanisms, vital functions and connects everything to itself. This is the main reason for the current crisis,” she summarized the situation.
'The state cannot manage the crisis'
Xecê said that the government opened the areas that should not be opened to settlement for development with the zoning amnesties and that buildings were built on fault lines, and emphasized that this situation accelerated the devastating results of a possible earthquake. Xecê also stated that there are many countries on the fault line, but no country has had such a devastating result, noting that this is a systemic problem. Xecê said, "Three days after the earthquake, they were able to go to the disaster area. After he left, he was intervened by groups with a funny number of 20. While the state could not manage this crisis, non-governmental organizations tried to go to the regions by taking the initiative of the people. A great mobilization was started by the people. While the state could not manage this crisis, the people were able to do it.”
'The government does not want the wreckage to be heard'
Drawing attention to the blocking of journalists in the cities hit by the earthquake, Xecê said, “The government is doing everything it can to not let anyone know about the wreckage it is under. The state of emergency decision is also related to this. After three days, you will go to the earthquake zone and you will shape the media according to you. This earthquake is the last point of dissolution for the AKP-MHP government.”
2011 Wan earthquake and local government
Xecê said that non-governmental organizations and some political parties established a strong network of cooperation by partnering with the people, but the government declared a state of emergency and deepened the crisis, and then reminded the earthquake that took place in Wan in 2011 and the practices there. Stating that there is no difference in the government since 2011, Xecê said, “However, there is a difference in terms of the local governments of that period. At that time, there were active municipalities in the region. As soon as the earthquake happened, the municipalities set up their own coordination desks, together with their own parties. And these coordination desks were distributed to the regions. Three districts were created in Van, and crisis desks were set up in each neighborhood. Each crisis desk also organized organizations according to needs. It was different at that time in terms of local administrations' access to the public," and pointed out that the trustees who are now appointed to HDP municipalities hinder these efforts.
'Practice would be different if trustees were not appointed'
Emphasizing that local governments are institutions that the people obtained by their own will, Xecê added: “While these institutions were in the hands of the people, they contained all humanitarian norms. It was the place where women and young people created the society itself. This was the case at the point of reconstruction or disaster. When there was a problem, the public could operate these mechanisms directly. If trustees were not appointed to the local administrations and connected to the center today, every municipality would show a different reflection today. We can see this from the municipalities of Patnos, Silopi and Karaçoban. They could food delivery with mobile vehicles etc. It is at this point that it becomes clear that this is a systemic crisis.”
'It's not fate, it's a massacre'
Expressing that the people in Amed practice managing the crisis without expecting anything from the state, Xecê criticized the current system as follows: “The centralized structure is in a position to pave the way for all problems. It is necessary to criticize the centralized structure. After a week, we are not supposed to go back to our normal lives. We need to question where we are losing. We call a preventable disaster 'destiny'. We can't just call it fate and move aside. There was a massacre today, we cannot call it fate.”
'We offer an alternative to society'
Xecê also drew attention to the alternative to the system that does not produce a solution in Turkey. Pointing to democratization, Xecê said, “We need policies that can pave the way for these people, not just instantly, and save the society, not the individual. We cannot prevent natural disasters, but we can prevent loss of life and destruction. In this sense, we need local governments rather than a centralized approach. The life of society should not be sacrificed to the interests of a single person or group. Our philosophy; It is a philosophy that puts people and nature at its center. We were able to demonstrate its practice in the 105 municipalities that we previously bought. If the practices there are observed, we can see how nature-friendly, intertwined with women, youth and society-friendly ideas it is. We are not in a place where trustees have been appointed, leaving the field and annulling our institutions. Our organization continues. We are in society and we offer an alternative to society. We are confident in this sense. We can see that we have this power with the spirit of solidarity that is revealed today. There is a society that clenches around this idea.” He cited his alternative systems as an example.”
'Go to earthquake zones'
Finally, Xecê said that as HDP Earthquake Crisis Desk, they will continue to be in earthquake zones, and added that more manpower is needed and in this sense, citizens should go to earthquake zones by increasing solidarity.