Donald Trump’s October withdrawal of US troops from the Rojava region of north-east Syria, home to the Kurdish allies who fought off Isis, and the subsequent Turkish invasion, created an instant humanitarian catastrophe with more than 300,000 internally displaced people already.
Melbourne singer-songwriter Les Thomas quickly wrote and recorded The Great Betrayal (Rojava) to highlight the plight of those in the region.
“If ever there was a time for global solidarity with the Kurdish people, it is now”, says Les Thomas. “The Turkish invasion and developments since represent a genocidal threat that would undo all of their sacrifices over decades trying to establish a just and equitable society.”
“According to an old saying the Kurds have ‘No friends but the mountains’. I hope this song can communicate their situation to a wider audience and help to prove that there are many people who care and want to see them and their inspiring example safe and flourishing.”
Thomas posted lyrics for the song on his Facebook page on October 10 and performed the song at an anti-invasion rally at Federation Square on October 12. Ruth Hazleton and Lachlan Dorse volunteered their time and talents, providing backing vocals and piano, respectively, to the self-produced recording. Mixing (Christopher Sprake) and mastering (Adam Dempsey) for the song was partially funded by the Melbourne Kurdish community.
An early release of the single on social media has attracted an overwhelmingly positive response from the people most affected, reaching more than 50,000 people in the first week without any paid promotion.
Esteemed folk musician and singer Penny Larkins has described the track as “Beautiful and important work.”
Downloads, purchases and streams will be available from November 15 on Spotify and other digital platforms.