Last Tuesday, Mehmet Aksoy, a Kurdish filmmaker who grew up and lived in London, was killed in Raqqa during an ISIS attack.
Last Tuesday, Mehmet Aksoy, a Kurdish filmmaker who grew up and lived in London, was killed in Raqqa during an ISIS attack. Mehmet had left London last June to document the YPG's liberation of Raqqa. There is so much to say about Mehmet's life, some of which has been covered by mainstream outlets (Guardian, BBC, Sky News, Daily Mail, The Sun, The Telegraph). It is impossible to sum up his work, and we hope to publish a longer tribute to his life in the next few weeks.
In the last few months of his remarkable life, Mehmet had been helping to professionalise the YPG's press output, making inspiring photo stories and videos of YPG and YPJ fighters to tell their personal stories.
Just a few days before he was killed, he spoke with our co-chair Mark Campbell who asked him to give us the latest news of an historic event - the first ever commune elections in the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (Rojava) since the declaration of autonomy in 2012. Mehmet was really excited to witness this occasion and made two videos for us, the first documenting the huge numbers of women queuing up to vote, some for the first time, and the second an exclusive interview with Hediya Yousef, the Co-chair of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. You can watch them by following the links in the text.
Mehmet was founder and editor-in-chief of the news site Kurdish Question, and was also deeply involved in helping to establish the new media organisation The Region. Mehmet used his immense artistic talents - writing and making films - for political ends, but his skills reached far outside of the Kurdish community and the political movement. He touched so many lives, and did so much with his short life, it is impossible not to be inspired by his commitment to the Kurdish struggle. Although it is an immense loss to us all, the example he has set serves to encourage us in our work to deepen and strengthen the solidarity movement. This is why we say Şehîd Namirin (martyrs never die). Through martyrdom, Mehmet has become immortal, and will live in our movement forever.