The award ceremony for the Theodor Kramer Prize for writing during resistance and exile took place in Niederhollabrunn, Austria, on Friday. The winners are Kurdish writer Meral Şimşek and Austrian writer Gerhard Oberschlick.
After the ceremony, Meral Şimşek said in a speech that she was accepting the award on behalf of the women of Kurdistan: "That's why this award means a lot to me. I was still in my country when I was awarded the prize. I was charged because of what I wrote. There are proceedings against me in Turkish courts because I am Kurdish. I've already been sentenced and the trials continue. I now live in exile in Berlin. My homeland of Kurdistan has been occupied for centuries. As Kurds, we are oppressed and subjected to genocide. We are raped, murdered and expelled from our country by the occupiers. What we want is to live like other peoples with our language and identity. We don't want to die and experience genocide. Just like you, we want to be able to speak our own language. We want the same rights as other peoples.”
The Kurdish writer thanked her mother Xecê, her sister Mülkiyet Doğan, who was murdered in 1993, and her brother Akif Doğan, who was murdered in 1996, for the strength and resilience that they gave her: "I express my infinite gratitude to them, because I have learned from them to resist. I thank heaven and my motherland. I accept the award given to me on behalf of all Kurdish women who were murdered and raped in Kurdistan under Arab, Persian and Turkish colonial rule, who today resist in prisons and fight in the mountains.”