Thousands gathered at the Kurdish Community Centre in Haringey to attend funeral services for fallen British-Kurdish activist and filmmaker Mehmet Aksoy (nom de guerre Firaz Dağ) who was killed by ISIS while he was making a documentary about the Raqqa operation alongside the YPG on September 26.
The stage was decorated with images of Mehmet Aksoy, fallen internationalists and Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan, and the hall with flags of PKK, YPG and YPJ.
Martyr Firaz’s coffin draped with a YPG flag was brought into the hall amid slogans “şehid namirin” (martyrs are immortal). Many people couldn’t enter the overcrowded hall and followed the ceremony via cinevision screening outside. The ceremony began with one minute’s silence and followed by the speeches of academic Dilar Dirik on Mehmet Aksoy’s life and struggle, Yılmaz Amed from the Kurdish Community Centre, Birsel Poyraz on behalf of the Kurdish Women’s Movement in Europe and a representative of the Kurdish youth movement.
YPJ commander Nesrin Abdullah also spoke at the ceremony via teleconference and conveyed the message of YPG/YPJ Command.
Following speeches, YPG’s British martyr Konstandinos Erik Scurfield’s mother Vasiliki Scurfield and Mehmet Aksoy’s mother Zeynep Aksoy got on the stage together.
Zeynep Aksoy, wearing a yellow-red-green pushi – Kurdish traditional scarf- around her neck, said the following; “I know that my Mehmet is very happy today. I thank all of you. So glad you are here, with me today. I welcome you all on behalf of my Mehmet and my family.”
Mothers of the two YPG martyrs then held each other’s hands amid slogans “şehid namirin”.
Speaking after, Mehmet Aksoy’s father Kalender Aksoy said: “It is quite difficult to tell about Mehmet. Until today, he has been in my and my family’s heart and from today on he will be in the hearts of all the oppressed and exploited. My son became a drop, a river, a sea…”
Sister Gonca Aksoy read a letter from Mehmet, after which speeches were held by Saint Martin’s Church priest Richard Katte, Westminster Synagogue Rabbi Benji Stanley, Simon Dubbins- international director for UNITE union that is a part of the Freedom for Öcalan campaign- and Şükrü Yıldız from the Federation of European Democratic Alevis (FEDA).
Following the ceremony at Kurdish Community Centre, the funeral procession began to the Highgate Cemetery for burial after women shouldered Aksoy’s coffin as per his will from “female comrades”. With flags of the PKK, YPG and YPJ, thousands attending the procession chanted “Biji berxwedana YPG” (long live YPG resistance), “Jin, jiyan, azadi” (woman, life, freedom) and “şehid namirin”.
Following a long walk, the mass reached the Highgate Cemetery where a minute of silence was observed for the martyrs of freedom struggle by the grave of Karl Marx. Mehmet Aksoy was then laid to rest and a PKK flag was laid on his grave. His parents let doves fly into the air as a farewell to their son.