The reason behind her self-immolation / “Leila Wali Hussein” was severely humiliated

Leila Wali Hussein, codenamed “Viyan Soran” or “Viyan Jaf”, wass a girl from Iraqi Kurdistan who was in her first year of university and in 1998, when the PKK was organizing in Iraqi Kurdistan and operating under the umbrella of the PKK, and she got acquainted with the group.

At first, she, like all of the many deceived children, believed in and was attracted to the PKK’s promises.


PKK leaders humiliated the educated young woman

PKK leaders, who are low in education, ridicule and humiliate newcomers – especially those that come from the universities and unlike shepherds etc. struggle more to adapt to their new environment – and mockingly call them ‘intellectuals’, as if fighting and killing people is a better thing than education.

From the very beginning, Leila was under the psychological pressure of the illiterate PKK commanders, and everyone was trying to force her to do heavy work at a young age, and to break her pride by carrying a weapon on her shoulders and force her to be like them.

Leila was devastated by the inhumane behavior of the group’s commanders, especially women who were of the same sex and should better understand her, and claimed to be free, and she became depressed.

An educated person, unlike other female members of the group, including Sakine Batman, she wanted to talk to all members, both men and women, as equals.

But based on these behaviors, they considered her weak-minded (sexually) and labeled her as ‘bad woman’.

In the group, they work to cut new people off from their personal lives and aspirations, cut them off from their family, and this is a common practice that the PKK leaders inflict on Kurdish children.

Leila was so dehumanized that she wished for her death, and perhaps it could be said that she had become mentally ill.


Left behind

Leila was the only Kurdish woman in Iraqi Kurdistan left in the PKK when Osman Ocalan seceded from the PKK, as other Iraqi Kurdish members defected from the PKK along with Osman, so the PKK wanted to keep her in their ranks badly. They would use Leila to spread propaganda among the Iraqi Kurdish villagers.

But Leila, who had become a hopeless girl in life, no longer cared about death or life.

One night, after being mocked and threatened with being send to the hardest regions of Turkey, Leila with the code “Viyan”, while the rest are watching the TV news, goes alone to a room and eats gasoline, pours it on his her and face, and sets herself on fire.

The reason for Leila’s suicide could be the threat of sending her to Turkey by the PKK, which she objected to.

Perhaps in those years when the PKK was in a nightmare, Leila was the only woman who repeatedly criticized current PKK leaders.

She was from Iraqi Kurdistan, and like PJAK, which claims to be an enemy of Iran but recruits for the PKK, the PKK also plays the same role in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Leila set herself on fire and died.



The PKK, had other plans for Leila’s death. Instead of accepting her suicide as a protest, they stated that she burned herself as a protest against the isolation of Abdullah Ocalan. After Osman Ocalan left the PKK, the remaining leaders badly needed some publicity with an Iraqi-Kurdish trademark.

The PKK had many internal problems in those years, and Osman Ocalan, who had just left the group, also wanted to use Leila’s suicide as a symbol, as if she had done it to protest him leaving the PKK. This drew less media attention.



Now the question arises why and how a human being with the characteristics of Leila finally commits suicide?

How was she treated in that group and what was the psychological pressure that led to this horrible act?

This question should be asked of “Murat Karayilan” because he was in charge of Botan in those years.

To cover up Leila’s action, Murat Karayilan said grinningly in a meeting that the self-immolation and return of Leila’s body to Sulaimaniyah was worth ten years of organizing work, meaning that they even used Leila’s dead to their advantage.

Today and in the aftermath of those behaviors, the PKK calls Leila a true hero and ‘nationalist of Apo’ and holds a ceremony in her honor every year.

It is clear that the political motives lay behind the glorification of Leila’s suicide, as this girl’s suicide was unlike any other in the PKK.

Had it not been for the political abuses of Leila’s death, she would not have been given the title of martyr and hero.

But can we just say that Leila was a PKK hero ?! So what is the task of the thousands of children who were abducted, killed and committed suicide like Leila, and what is their position among the PKK leaders? How many Kurdish youngsters have thrown themselves off a cliff when they were fed up and saw no way to carry on or escape? Why are they not all made into heroes?

However, it is a common practice of the PKK, which has always tried to make some of its members heroes in order to show its own greatness.

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