Jean Lambert, Green MEP for London, will join thousands of people celebrating the Kurdish New Year of Newroz on Sunday at a special event in Finsbury Park.
Jean, who has worked with the Kurdish community in London for many years, and who frequently highlights their human rights situation on political platforms, said:
“I am delighted to be celebrating Newroz at this wonderful event in London. The Kurdish community makes a vital contribution to the social fabric of our city, running successful businesses, standing for office with local councils, and organizing special events, like this, to celebrate their vibrant culture.
“Alongside the Kurdish community, I will continue to struggle for justice, democracy and equality, raising their situation with political leaders. This week I joined the Kurdish MP for Batman to protest against the continuing plans for the development of the Ilisu Dam on the River Tigris, which threatens to submerge the historic town of Hasankeyf forever, devastate the local environment and destroy a site of great importance, not only for Kurds but for the whole world. It is both a real and symbolic destruction.
“Struggles such as this show why political action is essential to strengthen human rights.
“I wish all Kurdish people in London and around the world a very happy Newroz and I trust that the coming year will bring progress towards lasting peace and democracy.”
Newroz – which means ‘new sun’ or ‘new day’ – marks the beginning of the Kurdish New Year, and the feast of Kawa the Blacksmith who, according to legend, liberated Kurds and many other nations of the region. It is the largest festival of Kurdish, Turkish, Turkish Cypriot and Iranian communities in the UK.
Kurds fled to Britain in large numbers about 20 years ago, mostly from Iraq and Turkey, to escape the violent suppression of their right to assert their own identity, language and culture. Marking Newroz, or new year, is not just a calendar date but a political act, because until recently Kurdish Newroz was forbidden in Turkey.
There are Kurdish regions in Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria, and people from all those regions are represented in London. Over 50,000 Kurds now live in London, with many from Turkey living in Hackney and many Iraqi Kurds in Hammersmith.