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The Statement of Kani Xulam on 11th day of Fast
October 30, 1997

Dear Representatives, Dear Friends, and Dear Kurds,

On behalf of my fasting friends, it is my pleasure to thank you all for coming here.

I am here to thank especially the four members of the United States Congress, Elizabeth Furse, John Edward Porter, Esteban Torres, and Frank Wolf for initiating the Congressional effort to seek Leylaís immediate and unconditional release from the Turkish prison.

Of course, I also would like to acknowledge the staff of these wonderful representatives.  They are, respectively, Marie Reitmann, Kelley Currie, Eric Ruether, and Anne Huiskes.  Thank you.  You have brought excitement and hope to Leylaís life.  You have become a symbol of freedom in her sights.

It is rather ironic that I stand before you today to thank you for an effort to free a woman who, for addressing another body in this Congress, received 15 years in jail.  I am very happy that 152 other Representatives have joined this effort to free Leyla Zana.  In that freedom lies the hopes of millions of Kurds and the will of 42 thousand Kurdish constituents.

We, four Kurds and two Americans, who are on our 11th day of a fast, want to add momentum to the effort to free Leyla Zana.  We wish to see the peopleís choice, President Clinton, be cognizant of another choice that was made by the Kurdish people.  Our suffering is for the restoration of the democratic choice in Turkey.

We will continue with our fast in front of this building with the hopes that as we lose strength, the champions of human rights will gain the upper hand to offer freedom to Leyla Zana and bring some sort of sanity to a corner of the world known as Turkish Kurdistan.  We want them to prevail in the debate with the Turkish interlocutors who seek to contain Leyla in a jail cell and condemn the Kurdish people to perpetual war.

We are drawn to this place because Leyla was a duly elected representative and also because it was here that President Wilson announced the right of the subject peoples such as the Kurds to self determination in 1917.  The dream endures.  We want to see this country honor its 28th President and side again with the political destiny of the Kurds.

Thank you.

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