Starting with a march from Lokmacı/Ledra street and arriving at Selimiye Square, the 6th Anti-militarist Peace Operation Concert was a celebration of the year-long struggle against the militarisation of the Cypriot society, gathering hundreds of activists from all over the island, and beyond. The artistic programme included a spectacular dance performance by Studio 21, songs by young musician Koralp, a conscientious objection statement, a round of poem recitals (Brecht, Hikmet, Galeano, and with Halil Karapaşaoğlu and Gürgenç Kormazel reciting their own work), and of course the emblematic Bandista from Istanbul with their highly political music that stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Anti-Militarist Peace Operation movement since its inception.
The statement by the AMPO organisers
Dear Comrades, dear friends
A movement is growing and as it grows, it is improving itself. A participatory, in solidarity and decisive movement is gaining ground. A movement with clear demands is growing with our uprising and with our actions…
Since the 14th of August 2010, this movement has been subjected to attacks from dominant powers, and every year, there have been attempts to ban it. The movement has nevertheless been persisting, fiercely, and contentiously with kind and open hearts, uninterrupted, for the last 6 years, gaining ground as it happens.
Since the 14th of August 2010, an anti-militarist movement that describes hope, and organises the struggle against the invasion and its gatekeepers, is gaining ground.
Since 2010, the Anti-Militarist Peace Operation is continuing its journey…
Like Ahmet Telli said “the greatest loves start with journeys / and only the bold choose these paths” …
Since 2010, we have been telling “Ayşe go home” on banners, in slogans, at the squares and in the streets. What we are actually saying is that Ayşe’s everlasting holiday must come to an end. This year, we will be everywhere again with our slogans, calling for the 41 year old occupation to come to an end. We will shout out slogans of peace and against hate, of autonomy and against the occupation, of independence against exploitation and of companionship of people against racism.
As the children of a region which has been under occupation for 41 years, we wish to be the political agents in a fully independent Cyprus, with our willpower, where there is an egalitarian system, free from barbed wires, and free from the hegemony of an imperialist mentality. We reiterate the importance of standing against the imperialist siege whilst on the road to independence, and the uproar and revolt against those trying to appropriate our lives with their armies, their representatives and their money.
To all the armies that are trying to capture our lives with barbed wires: take your combat boots and barrels off us right now! We refuse to live in a system of oppression and to be the slaves of a police state!
We raise our voices and we will continue to do so in order to walk freely in the shadows of trees, of the birds and the clouds, and not in the shadows of guns; so that we can sing the songs of freedom in the streets, and not be the pawns of patriarchy, nationalism and militarism; and for a revolution that we can dance to.
On the 41st year of invasion, just as we have done so for the past 6 years, we are once again saying “Ayşe go home”,
We salute all the people of the world that have been resisting for years against the militarist armies without surrendering in the Middle East, in Gaza, in Iraq, in Egypt, in Syria, in the Arab spring, here on our doorstep, but also in Mesopotamia, in northern Kurdistan, in Rojava, in Kobane. We salute our brothers and sisters who are lighting the way to revolution.
At a time when imperialist interventions are continuing intensely, we stand in solidarity with the people of the world of each and every language, and we say no to war and militarism in all the languages.
We are protesting against the killing of civilians in Suruç, in France at Charlie Hebdo, in Nigeria and in the so called Northern Iraq operation. Every day we are faced with the reality that wars cannot be a solution to humanity. Armaments are being used as an excuse for security by the states, bringing profit only to the arms dealers. Such aggressions bring destruction to ecology, to cultural values and destroy the conditions for a humane life.
In this world where the freedom of thought and the right to life is constantly under attack, our only salvation is to raise our voices against invasions like the one which took place on August 14th and other similar invasions, and to fight for disarmament more than ever.
Unfurl the sails; once again; for the 14th of August of 1974, call upon Ayşe, who went on holiday, to go back home; on a day when militarism escalated, when thousands of people are mourning for their dead ones, a day which the dominant powers are calling war a peacekeeping operation… Bandista, which have been a part of the Anti-Militarist Peace Operation from the very beginning, manifesting the most beautiful form of international solidarity with their songs, are again with us this year to show their solidarity. Also here with us is Koralp, a young musician and Studio 21 with their magnificent show.