NYC: Memorial for Lorenzo Orsetti
On Saturday, April 6th revolutionaries, supporters of Rojava, and former YPG fighters gathered to pay their respects to Lorenzo Orsetti (Tekoşer Piling), who fought with Anarchist Struggle and Tikko. Together we commemorated his actions and his charcter, and the legacy he sought to uphold. Those who knew him spoke fondly of their time together. We followed the speakers and videos with a collective send-off and together posted his photo to the wall at the Base commemorating revolutionary fighters who have passed. The night concluded by shooting fireworks in his memory. However, while one evening of collective remembrance has passed, the message we take from Lorenzo is that our communal struggle is just beginning.
We’re here today to pay our respects to anarchist fighter Lorenzo Orsetti, Tekoșer Piling. He fell while fighting in Baghouz, in the Deir Ez-Zor front in Rojava on March 18th.
The revolutionary ideals of Rojava inspired Tekoșer to travel to the region from Florence, Italy in 2017. He was trained by the YPG, joined the formation Tikko, and finally found his home with Tekoșina Anarsișt, or Anarchist Struggle, the anarchist unit in Rojava. He fought on multiple fronts: in Afrin against the Turkish invasion and in Deir Ez-Zor, the last stronghold of Daesh.
In these battles, he displayed his commitment to the movement, and his unfaltering bravery. The Turkish invasion of Afrin in spring 2018 was a hard fight. The region was surrounded on all sides by a superior military, and fighters were bombarded by the Turkish air force day and night. Yet understanding the risks, he volunteered to participate. While fighting in the hills of Afrin, with defeat in sight, he refused to be evacuated with the rest of his internationalist unit, insisting on staying with the villagers to defend them until villagers themselves were evacuated. When Daesh was cornered in Deir Ez-Zor, their last hold out, fighting tooth and nail, intense battles ensued. Tekoșer returned to this front multiple times, despite numerous close calls, and reportedly was again the last to leave the battlefield on multiple occasions.
The significance of Anarchist Struggle, Tekoșer’s unit, cannot be overemphasized. There has not been an explicitly anarchist fighting force since the Spanish Civil War. This type of formation puts into practice the struggle for a borderless world, uniting revolutionaries from around the world, and providing a fertile ground for a more mature international movement. When such an internationalist takes a step towards this struggle, they do so for the greater good of everyone who is living under the brutality of the state and capitalism. It was Tekoșer’s feeling that by putting his life resolutely into the struggle, he was able to overcome the individualism and alienation that prevents revolutionary movements from developing. It was his wish that others will choose to do so as well.
As we honor Tekoșer today for his bravery, his commitment, and for the wonderful comrade he was to others who are still fighting the good fight, we want to honor the fallen in Afrin: the hundreds, if not thousands of fighters, including anarchists Anna Campbell and Şevger Ara Makhno. In the memory of these fighters, the guerrilla struggle continues for the liberation of Afrin. We also want to honor the comrades who lost their lives in Deir Ez-Zor, especially Şehid Ahmed Hebeb, who fell side by side with Tekoșer. As we mourn these losses we also celebrate the victory in Deir Ez-Zor which was declared on March 23 - only a few days after Tekoșer and Ahmed fell.
Today we celebrate Tekoșer and pledge to honor his wishes, and as anarchists we pledge to carry on the struggle to our fullest capacity, and to carry on the stories of his actions so they may inspire others to fight for liberation.
Tonight we’re going to play reflections from one of his comrades, a commemoration video made by Tikko and Anarchist Struggle, a short slideshow of the legacy of internationalist involvement in Rojava, and at the end we hope you will join us to do a vigil outside, where we will light candles for him and read his goodbye letter. We’d like to make a short video of the vigil, (excluding faces), so that we can send it to his comrades and friends to let them know he is being honored by us tonight.
On Monday March 18th, anarchist Lorenzo (Orso) Orsetti, nom de guerre Tekoşer Piling, fell while fighting in Baghouz, as a member of the unit Tekoşîna Anarşîst (Anarchist Struggle). He fought in Afrin and Deir Ezzor, and helped build the only anarchist unit in Rojava.
As fascism entrenches ever deeper in states and territories around the world, and takes pleasure in subjugating, killing, and torturing, there are few movements that understand the implications and have risen to the occasion. In Rojava, we have seen a beautiful display of community defense against the terrors inflicted by Daesh, despite state-based sponsorship of their massacres.
In this, as in all anti-fascist and humanistic struggles, the role for internationalism is paramount. Domination is aided by the artificial partitions that divide those who would be living harmoniously: from the borders of nation-states to the categorization (and subsequent demonization) of ethnicities and religions. The reconnection between people struggling for a better world begins with the selfless solidarity of people like Lorenzo Orsetti, who traveled to Rojava to participate in this fight.
Anarchist groups with sincere intentions must operate in the shadows; therefore, we will often never know the bravery of an individual, until such a moment as this. Lorenzo’s journey and participation was far from individualistic, yet it is exemplary for this time in history. Not many anarchists have heeded the call to arms, as they have in decades past. As such, those anarchists who step forward from nascent movements, deciding to put their lives at risk for others, deserve a special recognition.
As he affirms in his goodbye statement, “I wish all of you all the best in the world and I hope that one day, you too will decide to give your life for others (if you haven’t already) because that is the only way to change the world. Only by overcoming the individualism and selfishness in each of us can we make a difference.”
While we mourn the loss of a militant whose selflessness, comradeliness, bravery, and commitment made a massive impact on his comrades, we have no doubt that, by following his wishes, we will not only carry him on, but also propel the movement further. His actions during life have raised the bar for anarchists worldwide, and we pledge that his words will be a torch for the movement and an inspiration for all who struggle for a better world. His sacrifice deepens our commitment.
RAM sends a revolutionary salute to this brave fighter and our heartfelt condolences to his friends, family, and all those he touched along his path.