Facebook Blocks Rojava Solidarity Page & Censors Posts
In yet another example of Facebook’s discriminatory policies towards supporters of the Kurdish struggle, the Facebook page Rojava Solidarity Worldwide has been removed and it’s admins have been sanctioned without any reasonable explanation given.
Admins for the page received messages from Facebook on February 16th informing them that three posts to the page had been removed for ‘violating Facebook community standards.’ The posts in question were photos – a flyer with an artist’s representation of a YPJ fighter that said ‘SOLIDARITY WITH THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS OF ROJAVA – DOWN WITH I.S., FUNDAMENTALISM & PATRIARCHY’, an artist’s representation of a red rose and the word ‘Cizîr’ in memory of the recent massacre by the Turkish state of 145 Kurdish people in the town of Cizîr (also known as Cizre in Turkish language), North Kurdistan / Southeast Turkey and a photo from a recent demonstration in France showing protesters marching behind a banner condemning recent massacres perpetrated by the Turkish state in North Kurdistan / Southeast Turkey. All three admins received bans from posting on Facebook ranging from 24 hours to 3 days. No explanation was given regarding the removal of the page and no option to appeal the decision was provided.
This is not the first time the admins of Rojava Solidarity Worldwide have incurred the arbitrary wrath of Facebook censors. Last year a photo of a group of trans and queer people standing under a rainbow flag at Newroz (Kurdish New Year) celebrations in Diyarbarkir that had received over 1000 ‘likes’ was removed for ‘violating Facebook community standards’ and admins were blocked from posting for 3 days. In January of this year Facebook removed a photo from the page commemorating internationalist communist fighter Suphi Nejat who was martyred fighting alongside YPG-YPJ forces in Kobane in 2014 – like the Newroz photo it had also received over 1000 ‘likes’.
Facebook censorship is a fact of life for supporters of the Kurdish struggle. In 2012 a disgruntled former Facebook employee leaked an internal Facebook document – the Facebook violations list, which had never been made public. Most of the violations are what one would expect – graphic violence, explicit nudity and sexual activity etc but several were not what one would expect: posts and users are flagged for violation of community standards and possible account termination if they post maps of disputed areas of Kurdistan, insult Ataturk the founder of modern-day Turkey, disrespect the Turkish national flag or post depictions or posts supportive of either fighters from the PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party) or imprisoned founding member of the PKK Abdullah Öcalan.
Despite this latest round of censorship and the removal of their page, the admins of Rojava Solidarity Worldwide have not been deterred and have already launched a new Facebook page which can be viewed here: https://www.facebook.com/rojavasoliww/
Report by Nae Midion