On Thursday 5th December 2013, the Guardian Editorial wrote this comparing Mandela and Ocalan:
" A distant parallel would be with the Kurdish leader Abdullah O calan , who has maintained an extraordinary grip on his supporters from his own island prison and is even now negotiating with the Turkish government on something like equal terms. But Ocalan's cult-like following does not fit the Mandela template. Ocalan is feared and worshipped; Mandela was respected and loved. The secret of Mandela's leadership lay in the almost unique mixture of wisdom and innocence which his character, and a life that kept him off stage for such a long and critical period, combined to produce." (1).
There are millions of people following Abdullah Ocalan's teachings in the Middle East and the world now, because they are founded in the tradition of the great thinkers of that area. Every four thousand years one has arisen to serve humanity.
The human population on earth is going through a critical time, the US capitalist system is failing and the Chinese communist system is faltering. Some of the socialist systems of Europe are struggling to survive while the EU's support of corrupt rulers of the Middle East in order to ensure a supply of raw materials is not enough to rescue Europe from starvation. The Guardian editorial writers obviously have little understanding of how Ocalan's ideas address these problems including poverty, which explains why they branded him the leader of a fearsome cult. And as Ocalan himself indicates in his reply to the Guardian editorial (see below), what power over his people can he enforce from his prison cell?
Further, if his popularity is measured by the number of people reading his writings and fighting for the freedom, self-determination and human rights they advocate whilst displaying his picture in their institutions, perhaps it's because he is providing authentic, transparent leadership for peace in a region ruled by corruption, violence and oppression. And maybe these are also the reasons why he keeps an "extraordinary grip' on his supporters who see his teachings as their only hope for escape from tyranny, brutality and poverty. The followers of the only other so called "god' they are allowed to worship occupy their territory and seek to enslave and kill them, so why wouldn't they venerate a leader who offers them the chance to live under democracy, freedom of conscience and the benefits of the resources of their own land?
As Ocalan suggested in his reply, the writers of the Guardian editorial would do well to evaluate the viewpoints of the participants in and benefactors of the Kurdish struggle, such as those in the now autonomous Syrian Kurdistan region, before offering any further comments and analyses.
Every civilization battling with its demise persecutes new thinkers, instead of listening to them. Just as two thousand years ago another revolutionary Middle Eastern thinker, Jesus Christ, was wrongly persecuted, today the Kurdish leader who is seeking to bring Renaissance and Reformation to the region, is suffering similar treatment from western educated commentators, who have not recognized that Ocalan's theories reflect those of the tradition that has granted them the freedom, human rights and prosperity they enjoy.
Abdullah Ocalan relinquished control of the Kurdish people's struggle for freedom when he was imprisoned fourteen years ago. Nevertheless they have continued without him and will do so until peace is achieved in Kurdistan. Even while incarcerated, Ocalan has aided the peace process whenever he has been permitted by the Turkish Government.