GENEVA – On April 14th a decision has been made in the lawsuit filed by the Swiss Ministry of Defense against a Swiss internationalist Guillaume on charges of “disrupting the country’s defense” and “doing military service abroad.” Before the trial at the Sion Military Court, the internationalist groups in the Solidarity Network and the Swiss Democratic Kurdish Council (CDK-S) held a rally in Park de la Planta. In the statements made by Secours Rouge, FAU (Construction Workers Union) and CDK-S, it was stated that this trial meant Switzerland’s complicity with Turkey, and a call was made to raise an international internationalist struggle from Rojava to Sion.
Our agency talked with Guillaume, the internationalist trailed for taking part in the Revolution and defending it from the barbarism of the Islamic State. He said:
“Hello, my name is Guilherme. I am a Swiss communist militant in the red. Helped Geneva a few weeks ago. I had a trial because I went to Rojava in the year 2015, 2016. In Switzerland, we have a law that forbids you to take arms in another country army. So the justice was trying to put this on me. My motivation to go to Rojava in 2015 was political, I was active here in Switzerland in different antifascist groups and leftist groups. We learned about the resistance of the Kurdish people, especially during the Kobani time and for us it was a big moment because we could see that revolution was happening in the Middle East, so I decided that it was important for me to go there and to see in a practical way who you built the revolution.
Because in Europe most of our work is recall, and we don’t have that much practice, lots of time it’s very dogmatic also. So “I said, okay, let’s go to Rojava”. I saw how the Kurdish people organize the revolution. It was also solidarity and an internationalist approach for my politics here. For us it was very important to help to fight fascism and fight ISIS there in the perspective also to learn stuff and to come back here and build our own movement here, our own organization, and to get stronger in our revolutionary movement here in Europe and in Switzerland especially.
I think that the repression against internationals from Europe and all around the world that are going to Rojava is mostly because bourgeois states are afraid of the link we create with the Rojava revolution, in history every time you had strong link between Europeans communists or revolutionaries and the revolutionary movement around the world, you had always a strong attack from the states. We could see this with Palestine, for example, in the past. So I think what we see is really that every state in Europe see the connection we are doing. They can see that in the fact that in demonstration you have lots of internationalist they can see because lots of revolutionaries from Europe go to Rojava are interested. You have lots of people talking about it and also learning from it. So they are really afraid that it will push the revolutionary movement in Europe and it might help it help the movement to get over its problems that we have for many years and in in Europe, the revolutionary movement is pretty weak for quite a long time now. So they don’t want us to get stronger and to move forward and try to organize more, try to move more and maybe be more effective.
My trial here was very interesting because we could see that the Swiss states tried to push a very political line against me in general, also against internationalist. They had nothing in the case. They meant investigation for seven years during seven years, they tried to find information on what I’ve done during my time in Rojava, but the file was still empty. They tried to push it and in the end I got acquitted. They did not wanted to try again to pursue me after it, so I walked out free. Now we decided also with the International Red Help, where I’m organized to do a political campaign around it. Here in Switzerland, we mostly attacked the myth of the Swiss neutrality. Most of the law that is against me during this trial was about the Swiss neutrality. They don’t allow you to go in another country army because they want to keep Switzerland neutral and for us it was important to attack this and to say that Switzerland is not neutral. Switzerland is part of Western imperialist and they really support different countries. They invest money in weapons industry, they sell weapons to Turkey, so if they are really an ally from Turkish fascism. So for us, we tried to push this line and it was pretty effective and we had different groups from different cities who organized small actions to denounce this thing.
We also wanted to say that on our side we are not neutral. We want to take a side in imperialist war and will always take the side of the oppressed people and the people that are fighting for freedom. So it was important for us to push the internationalist political line during the whole process. For us, it was also very nice to see all the solidarity actions we had all around in different countries, in France, in Belgium. Many comrades did some solidarity actions and it was very heartwarming for me also to see this solidarity.”
Declaration of the comrade of Secours Rouge de Genève front the court accusing
him of his involvement in Rojava
Today I am accused of military service abroad. The big question seems to be whether or not I contributed to the resistance of the People’s Defense Units (YPG) during my stay. As a Swiss communist militant, the purpose of my trip was to see a revolution with my own eyes and to participate in it.
Today, the Swiss Confederation is judging me through you because I would have violated the “famous” Swiss neutrality by going to the north of Syria and I would have damaged the defensive power of the country. One wonders if Switzerland has so much in common with the Islamic State or Turkish fascism?
Two police reports clearly state that it is not possible to know what I would have done during my stay. The evidence is obviously lacking. On the other hand, there is plenty of evidence that Swiss neutrality is just a myth that is useful to the bourgeoisie; When Switzerland sells arms or arms components to the Turkish fascist state,
neutrality is not important, only profit counts. These weapons are used to repress progressive movements in Turkey. Some of them have also found their way into the hands of the Islamic State. When Switzerland extradites Turkish and Kurdish progressive activists at the request of Erdogan’s regime or other European states, where is the neutrality? When the country’s largest banks invest several billion each year in the arms industry, which fuels conflicts around the world, where is the neutrality? The Swiss state is not neutral. It chose its side a long time ago, the side of Western imperialism. I too have chosen my side, the side of the oppressed.
For two centuries, a tradition of international revolutionary solidarity has developed. By going to Rojava, I supported the side of the people who are fighting for their freedom. There is only one international solidarity, its forms are multiple and all are legitimate. A revolution cannot be built without a social project and it cannot live if it cannot defend itself. Following the example set by Norman Bethune or Barbara Kistler, I have continued this tradition. As well as all those who have participated, in one way or another, in the struggle of peoples that were not their own. From the anti-fascist resistance in Spain to the struggle for the liberation of Algeria or Palestine, there are many comrades who have carried their commitment to the international level. This commitment has taken different forms, all of which have their importance.
By going to Rojava, I supported the construction of a society based on principles of social justice, feminism and ecology. A society that today is still fighting against Turkish fascism and its Western supporters. My choice is a political one, just like the one the Swiss state is making by bringing me, on a mandate from the executive, before this court. Without concrete evidence, I am brought before you, this on a simple and sole opinion of the Intelligence Service of the Confederation, which has obviously not deigned to provide the basis for their allegations.
All over Europe, solidarity with the Kurdish movement is under attack. The people of Kurdistan show us that a revolution is possible and real. That is why our solidarity and the ties we build are seen as dangerous. Whatever the outcome of this trial, I have no regrets. I will continue to support the revolutionary struggle in Kurdistan because as one of their proverbs says, “Resistance is life!”
As a revolutionary and internationalist activist, I would like to end my statement by saluting comrade Alfredo Cospito and all those who are fighting against the 41bis isolation regime in Italy.
I also salute Georges Ibrahim Abdallah and the prisoners of the Palestinian cause.
I salute Pola Roupa and Nikos Maziotis imprisoned in Greece for their revolutionary commitment. I also salute the thousands of political prisoners currently in the jails of the Turkish fascist regime.
I salute the commitment of those who shout every day in the streets of Iran, “Jin, Jîyan Azadî” and are imprisoned or killed.
I salute Serge, a French activist in a coma who is fighting to stay alive. Two weeks ago, he was seriously injured by the police during the demonstrations against the ecocidal project of mega-pools in the west of France.
All these activists show us that even in the face of the harshest repression, the struggle for a better world continues. As comrade Fred Hampton famously said, “You can jail a revolutionary, but you can’t jail the revolution.”