YPG Media Center reports from the frontlines of the fight for the city of Kobane
URGENT APPEAL FOR THE VICTIMS OF ISIS
The UN and other agencies have no presence in the Kurdish refugee camps along the border and Kurdish Red Crescent is the main charity aiding Kurdish refugees.
Many Kurds, mainly women and children, face bitter winter. Help the displaced Kurds to survive the winter by donating to Heyva Sor a Kurdistanê (Kurdish Red Crescent).
KOBANI, Rojava, DEC. 4, 2014 – The attacks by the ‘ISIS’ terrorists to occupy Kobani continued on the 80th day. The terrorists on the eastern front of the city are now totally on the defensive whereas our forces are continuing their operations against the terrorist groups.
An operation was conducted by our units last night against several positions which were occupied by the terrorists on the south-eastern front. In the operation near Kobani’s Cultural Center 9 terrorists were confirmed to be killed.
Advancing towards the occupied areas on the southern front, our forces last night led an operation against the terrorists, and managed to take control of 2 neighborhoods. In this operation 13 terrorists were killed while 5 bodies were captured.
One of our comrades who actively participated in the last night’s operations, fought courageously, and was martyred on the fields of battle.
KOBANI, Rojava, DEC. 6, 2014 - The attacks by the ISIS terrorists aiming the occupation of Kobani continued on the 82nd day. Having the initiative on all the fronts of Kobani, our forces of the People’s Defense Units (YPG) and the Women’s Defense Units YPJ are incessantly conducting operations against the areas that have been occupied by the terrorists.
Our units last night led an operation against the terrorist groups who were positioned near the Botana Rojhilat neighborhood on the southern front. In this operation which lasted until this morning severe blows were inflicted to the terrorists.
According to what has been confirmed from this area, 22 terrorists were killed, 14 bodies of the terrorists, and a large number of weapons and ammunition were captured by our forces.
KOBANI, Rojava, DEC. 5, 2014 - The brutal attacks by the ‘ISIS’ terrorists aiming the occupation of Kobani have passed the 81st day. The terrorist groups who have been situated on the defensive due to the operations led by our forces, are now expected to be calling for more weapons and mercenary reinforcements.
Our units last night conducted an operation against a group of the terrorists who were on the movement on the eastern front, the operation resulted in the killing of 5 terrorists.
On the southern front of Kobani, fighting between our forces and the terrorist groups erupted on several positions. In these battles 6 terrorists were confirmed to be killed.
I. KOBANI, Rojava, DEC. 7, 2014 – Eighty-three days have passed since the launch of the brutal attacks by the ISIS terrorists who aim to occupy the city of Kobani. Leading the initiative on all the fronts of the city, our forces of the People’s Defense Units (YPG) and the Women’s Defense Units YPJ are advancing on a daily basis.
Last night on the eastern and southern fronts of Kobani sporadic clashes between our forces and the terrorist groups were experienced on several positions. However the number of dead or wounded of the terrorists was not immediately confirmed.
II. JAZ’AH – A number of operations were conducted by our forces against the terrorists who were positioned near Qadesiyah Bichuk (Jadidiyah) village in the south of Jaz’ah region. Yesterday evening our troops carried out two separate operations against the terrorist groups in that village, killed two terrorists, and injured another one.
Yet again in the Qadesiyah village our units last night conducted an operation. In this operation as confirmed, a vehicle of the terrorists was destroyed, 2 terrorists were killed, and 4 others were wounded.
KOBANI, Rojava | December 8, 2014 – The brutal attacks by the ISIS terrorists aiming the occupation Kobani continued on the 84th day. The terrorists are seeking to reach their objectives by shelling the town with mortars. Yet our forces of the People’s Defense Units / Women’s Defense Units YPJ are continuing to advance inside Kobani.
On the eastern front of the city, a short-time fight was erupted last night between our forces and the terrorist groups. The number of dead and wounded of the terrorists for this battle was not confirmed.
Our units’ operations on the southern front of Kobani are regularly continuing. Our forces last night conducted an operation against several positions on this front which were occupied by the terrorists. In this operation 3 occupied sites were retaken from the terrorists, however the number of casualties are not confirmed due to the ongoing patrol process in these areas.
KOBANI, Rojava | December 9, 2014 - The terrorist attacks by the ISIS mercenaries to occupy Kobani continued on the 85th day.
On the eastern front of Kobani, our forces last night conducted several operations against the terrorist-occupied positions. The operations were carried out in the Kaniya Kurda neighborhood and the Sukul Hal area where 6 terrorists were confirmed to be killed. A small number of weapons were captured by our forces.
On the south-eastern front, an operation was conducted by our forces against the terrorist groups last night near the Azadi (Freedom) square. The operation resulted in the killing of 2 terrorists.
Our units are extending the initiative in the newly liberated areas of the southern front. The terrorist groups attempted to launch an attack in this front but they were sharply repulsed. This attempt took place near the very strategic site of the hospital of Kobani where 5 terrorists were killed in the clashes, also a number of weapons were captured by our troops.
Our forces led an operation against the terrorist groups positioned near the village of Salim, 10 kilometers west of Kobani. In this operation a vehicle of the terrorists was destroyed, yet the number of casualties was not immediately verified.
One of our comrades who aggressively joined the operations on the eastern front, fought bravely and was martyred in the battle.
Rojava, December 10, 2014
I. The brutal attacks by the ISIS terrorists to occupy Kobani continued on the 86th day. Our forces yet are continuing their operations against the terrorist-occupied areas inside the city.
On the eastern front of Kobani, our forces last night carried out two separate operations in the Sukul Hal and the municipality areas. The both operations were successfully conducted where 6 terrorists were killed in the clashes. Our forces safely returned to their positions.
On the southern front, a short-time fight was experienced between our forces and the terrorist groups, one terrorist was confirmed to be killed as a result of the battle.
II. Our forces of the People’s / Women’s Defense Units did conduct an operation against the terrorist groups near the village of Manajir, south Serêkaniyê (Ras al-Ayn). In this operation which was conducted yesterday overnight 4 terrorists were killed.
Yet again last night near the Piriza region 20 kilometers south-west of Serêkaniyê a short-time battle was erupted between our troops and the terrorists. The results for this battle were not immediately confirmed.
III. In a failed attempt, the terrorist groups shelled yesterday evening Shermukh village located 23 km south-west of Qamishlo, our units swiftly intervened to confront the attackers. In this process 2 terrorists were killed while the others fled their positions.
IV. An operation was conducted by our units near the village of Khanamiyah (of Qamishlo) against a group of the terrorists who were on the movement. This operation resulted in the killing of one terrorist.
KOBANI, Rojava | December 11, 2014 – The attacks by the ISIS terrorists aiming the occupation of Kobani continued on the 87th day. Yet our forces are pushing the terrorists back inside the city while the operations outside the town are ongoing.
On the south-eastern front of Kobani, the terrorist groups last night attempted to launch an attack near the Cultural Center. Our forces intervened in this attempt and managed to inflict severe blows to the terrorists. In this region 7 terrorists were killed where the other attackers were only able to collect their casualties and flee the location.
In south-west Kobani, our forces carried out an operation against the terrorist groups in the Rahbe area. The operation resulted in the killing of 2 terrorists. Another operation was also conducted by our troops against the terrorist groups on the Aleppo road, 2 terrorists were killed in this operation.
Our units last night managed to lead an operation between the villages of Sosan and Siftik, 15 kilometers west of Kobani. In this operation a vehicle of the terrorists was targeted and destroyed, yet the number of dead or wounded was not verified.
For the Media and Public Opinion
People’s Defense Units (YPG) – Media Center
reposted from 325, which has additional photos.
reposted from global revolution:
The Munduruku Indians: Weaving Resistance
The Brazilian government is planning to build a vast number of big dams on the rivers around the Amazon Rainforest, destroying biodiversity and disrupting the way of life of thousands of Amerindians and local populations. Now that the work is well under way on the huge Belo Monte dam, on the Xingu river, the government is pushing ahead with its next big project – a series of dams on the Tapajós river. But 12,000 Munduruku Indians, long feared as warriors, live here and are fighting back.
This documentary, filmed in late 2013 and early 2014, looks at life in a Munduruku village, where traditional skills are practised and children are brought up with remarkable freedom. It documents the growth of resistance, even among the women, not traditionally fighters, some of whom are emerging as guerreiras (woman warriors).
This video was produced independently, with the support of some organizations in the UK, such as LAB and Lipman Miliband Trust, Munduruku leaders and their local supporters. The post-production process was made thanks to collaborative and solidarity work.
Dir.: Nayana Fernandez
see vimeo for full transcript
The Munduruku Indians: Weaving Resistance by MiráPorã is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Based on a work at mirapora.com/
Is the Middle East’s newest country a territory called “Rojava”? Out of the chaos of Syria’s civil war, mainly Kurdish leftists have forged an egalitarian, multi-ethnic mini-state run on communal lines. But with ISIS Jihadists attacking them at every opportunity — especially around the beleaguered city of Kobane, how long can this idealistic social experiment last? From the frontlines to the refugee camps, Mehran Bozorgnia filmed in Rojava for the BBC’s Our World and has gained exclusive access and a revealing snapshot of Syria’s secret revolution.
COPYRIGHT: Mehran Bozorgnia / Bozorgnia Films / 2014
Rojava: Kurdish Revolution in Syria
Between 1920 and 1946, when Syria was occupied by France, the national rights of the Kurds were not recognised. Nothing changed after the withdrawal of the French in 1946. The new Syrian government denied the Kurdish people their rights and they were considered as ‘foreigners living in the region’, without rights to education, property and movement.
In 1963, the Ba’ath Party took the control of the country by a coup d’état and declared Syria an ‘Arab country’. Kurds were considered to be migrants from Turkey and Kurdish identity was banned. Original Kurdish names of villages and cities were changed. Kurds were forced to live as refugees in their own land. However, these Kurds have now taken matters into their own hands.
Rojava consists of three main regions: Cizire, Kobane and Efrin. There are working committees affiliated to the Supreme Kurdish Council, governing the autonomous region. The economy, politics, culture and social life are self-governed by the people. The people in Rojava have developed a structure, which could be an example for the whole of the Middle East: a model of administration from below, wherein people actively participate.
The YPG is the biggest military force in the region. Women constitute more than half of the YPG forces. Security is provided by an armed force formed by the people themselves. The units responsible for security and traffic in cities are formed outside of the YPG. They are accountable to the People’s Assemblies and academies have been built for their education.
In all the cities of Rojava, there are councils called ‘Mala Gel’; their members are elected. Mala Gel is a sort of local council and most of its activities are directed by People’s Assemblies, which are formed within the structure of Mala Gels and local problems are solved through these Assemblies.
Trade unions and occupational bodies represent another area in the process of institutionalisation in Rojava. The Union of Tailors, the Union of Electricians and the Union of Health Workers are some of the organisations. The importance of unions in the process of democratisation is emphasised in Rojava.
Rojava revolution is the revolution of oppressed peoples
The Rojava Revolution, led by Kurds and supported by Assyrians, many Arab socialists and democrats, Muslims and Christians, Sunnis and Alawites is the revolution of all oppressed classes and peoples.
All other uprisings, resisting dictatorial governments in the Middle East, so far have become open to imperialist interventions because they lacked organisation, a project for the future and self-belief. But the Rojavan revolution has everything that was missing in the other uprisings. Today, Rojava is organised as a state of the oppressed peoples. It is free and not under the control of any regional or imperialist power. All land and properties in Rojava belong to the people and not to individuals. What is being produced is being shared according to everyone’s labour and needs.
60% of Syrian oil is in Rojava. This is why the western imperialists and reactionary forces treat the PYD with one hand as the representative body they would negotiate with in the future. But with the other hand, they try to destroy it.
Massacres, bombings, kidnapping of women and children, rape, plunder and destruction carried out by Jabhat Al Nusra and Free Syrian Army forces continue in Rojava. Sabotage, border closure, embargoes and attempts to divide the Kurds internally are the other type of attacks. Turkey, Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan have imposed a blockade on Rojava. Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan prevented the passage of humanitarian aid. Under pressure from the people in Iraqi Kurdistan the embargo has been relaxed by the Barzani-led establishment. The forces against the Rojavan revolution are trying to force the people in Rojava to their knees in order to push them into a collaborationist position. The attacks are also intended to prevent international solidarity and to isolate Rojava.
Rojava revolution is a women’s revolution!
Women play an active and crucial part in Rojava and they are involved both in the armed forces and social organisations. The Rojavan revolution is the organised action of women for freedom. Before the revolution the women were oppressed both by the Ba’ath regime and the feudal conditions dominating in the region. Now there are women’s academies and centres everywhere, where the next generation of women cadres and leaders are being educated. The People’s Assemblies also have women’s assemblies within their structure. Women’s Security Units protect women in cities. When women have judicial problems or criminal issues to report, they first go to these units. The number of women at work is high compared with other regions of Kurdistan. The number of women in state institutions is rapidly increasing.
These developments in Rojava scare the regional dictatorships and reactionary forces as well as the imperialist countries. For the people of Rojava have given hope to all the people in the Middle East. The possibility of the Rojavan revolution spreading terrifies the rulers. The Kurdish ruling classes are also frightened because the revolution also threatens their historical rule. That is why Barzani’s Kurdish Regional Government (in northern Iraq) has such enmity for Rojava.
The Kurdish struggle in Rojava is a struggle for all the Kurds in the region. Rojava is the fire of a nation longing for democracy. It is the women resisting slavery and defending their freedom. It is the struggle of workers and labourers for a life in dignity. And that is why solidarity with Rojava is a duty of all revolutionary and progressive people around the world. The countries imposing the blockade on Rojava, supporting the terrorist gangs and the imperialist countries which are covertly involved in attacks on Rojava, have to be opposed.
Atılım (socialist weekly newspaper in Turkey)
Source: Revolutionary Communist Group
for more on the protest camp, see:
The Rojava Report
News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
The following text is intended to be the continuation of a dialogue on the tools of anarchist insurgency and the ways of organizing ourselves; a dialogue that was initiated at an international anarchist encounter somewhere in the countryside of France and now continues from a prison cell in Greece.
The opinions expressed here are my own personal views, so it should be clear that they promote a particular position on the issue. However it is not desired to have one position prevail over all the others; what matters is how the various different, yet complementary, points of view communicate and interact with each other. In the face of an enemy that’s very flexible as regards the use and multitude of means and forms of attack, the diversity of considerations and practices on the part of anarchists is self-evident. Whichever different perspectives cannot be promoted dogmatically but rather based on a rationale of multifaceted attack. – NR
First we need to talk about the very concept of organization, a word quite misunderstood in anarchist circles.
We face an enemy with complex and complicated functions. One of the main characteristics that make the enemy powerful is the constant evolution and organization of the social paranoia we are experiencing today: a technological, military, architectural, civil, industrial, economic, scientific organization. Every aspect of this world is being organized, constantly correcting its imperfections through an intelligent system which has a great number of servants.
In the face of this condition, whoever believes that one is able to fight without organization is naive to say the least.
“In 1972, the pigs mobilized 150,000 men to hunt the RAF, using television to involve the people in the manhunt, having the Federal Chancellor intervene, and centralizing all police forces in the hands of the BKA; this makes it clear that, already at that point, a numerically insignificant group of revolutionaries was all it took to set in motion all of the material and human resources of the State; it was already clear that the State’s monopoly of violence had material limits, that their forces could be exhausted, that if, on the tactical level, imperialism is a beast that devours humans, on the strategic level it is a paper tiger. It was clear that it is up to us whether the oppression continues, and it is also up to us to smash it.” (Ulrike Meinhof)
We can thus say that whoever does not organize himself/herself will turn into a harmless aggregation that will be assimilated to the alienation mechanisms of the existent sooner or later. They will lose the combative attributes that make them dangerous for the enemy and subsequently be deported from the field of antagonistic battle.
Conversely, whoever has decided to fight this system will need to organize their hatred, in order to become effective and dangerous. So, the discussion about ways of organizing ourselves, having attributes inherent in our anarchist values, begins somewhere at this point.
The dilemma then is whether we will organize ourselves through a central anarchist organization that will be the reference point for the anarchist movement, or in a decentralized and diffuse manner through anarchist affinity groups that will maintain their political autonomy both in terms of action and collective decisions.
As regards the centralizing mode of organization I will speak in general, instead of specific, terms about who, and how, have opted for it in Greece.
If you look at it historically, these two forms of organization have always existed but never coexisted. In the Spanish civil war, anarchists were organized at the central level to combat the fascists, and the same thing happened during other revolutionary attempts.
The same is the case with most urban guerrilla warfare organizations in the past decades that approached new comrades in the context of a particular political project, thus aiming to strengthen the organization instead of an armed diffusion, where the autonomy of each individuality opens up the possibility of creating chaotic fronts of attack.
This understanding of organizational ways should not be viewed separately from the social and political conditions of the time.
The combatants of those times studied their adversary with their own analytical tools, fought for freedom and paid the price with murders, harsh prison sentences, tortures, solitary confinement wards. Those among them who haven’t renounced their values make their own critical assessment of the experiences acquired through the years, experiences which obviously deserve careful study; but if we cling to that we are doomed. What matters is what we’re doing today, in the era we live in.
So, for me, the central organization and the revolutionary centralism are ghosts we need to banish from us.
Besides, an indication of this is the fact that all the remaining central anarchist organizations have simply kept the glorious hallmarks of those times, having sunk deep into reformism while they renounce direct action and rebellion in everyday life, and have nothing to do with something pertaining to combativeness. They refuse to understand the enormous changes at the social and political level, they refuse to talk about the edges of contemporary oppression, the advancement of science, the technological fascistization, the domination of multinationals, and merely trot ideologized theories about the conflict between capital and labour out, using terms that were written one hundred years ago, in another era of capitalism.
Worse still, they refuse to act, unable to understand that if they lived in the glorious past they reminisce about they would only be extras because they would never take any risks.
Now, as regards the revolutionary centralism within urban guerrilla groups, even though I understand the causes and effects behind such a choice, I disagree with that because I believe that our goal is not to walk all together according to a common political project-program but rather to diffuse our means and urge everyone to safeguard their autonomy, thus contributing to the creation of new perceptions and possibilities for the intensification of polymorphous anarchist action.
This is why I opt for the informal organization, which I consider more qualitative and effective for reasons I will explain later. The basic component that gives tangibility to the informal organization (and not only) is nothing other than direct action; otherwise, we would be just a bunch of charlatans with dissident rhetoric.
The most important thing for an anarchist is deciding to undertake action because, in this way, the individuality breaks through the fear inflicted by domination regarding the choice of revolutionary action; when you take action, you overcome inhibitory factors that lead you to inactivity, you take your life in both hands and acquire the ability to affect to a greater or lesser extent the circumstances that define your life. Undertaking action is the equivalent of reclaiming our life that was stolen from us, thus shaping the characteristics of a free human who fights to get rid of their shackles, their social commitments, on a daily basis, abolishing the authoritarian roles imposed on them and building a culture that gestates the quality of a new life, the life of an anarchist insurgent who inflicts open wounds from razors on the contemporary world.
After having made such a decision, comes experimentation. Anarchists shouldn’t have fixed positions; they’re constantly on the move because, without moving, they are driven to self-destruction by ideological dogmatism. They reconsider things, criticize themselves, and explore the collective experience to adapt it to the current historical data. They put their hearts on ice to withstand pain, and set fire to what’s left to wipe out the traces of their past “quiet” life. From this point forward, what counts is the struggle, but also vengeance, because whoever felt violence firsthand and did not seek revenge are worthy of their sufferings.
Let’s go back to the issue of practical experimentation, that is, action with many ways, many methods and many forms.
I believe that the organization of our destructive desires should be expressed through Action Networks of high distinctiveness, where everyone will be able to read one’s own words and works, get inspired, reflect, and act alongside us or fight against us. Being (communicatively) visible is part of our purpose to bring about the maximum degree of social polarization in order to clarify everyone’s role in the authoritarian edifice, and then pass from armed critique to a critique of arms.
In my opinion, the responsibility claim is what gives meaning to an action, leads it to your desired objectives, and explains to whoever is interested in breaking the vicious circle of oppression and passing on the offensive the motives and reasons that made you do it. Simply and clearly. In a world of generalized information overload and terrorism of virtual bombardments, no action can speak for itself unless the subjects-actors speak out about it.
The high level of distinctiveness that I mentioned above is related to both invariable insurgent names and acronyms; for me invariable names in insurgent actions are of particular importance because, in this way, your actions are linked to each other, stepping up their momentum at the same time.
Furthermore, your discourse takes on greater importance, as it is connected to the consistency of your action. You have the possibility to devise strategies of insurgent action making your overall rationale understood, creating a point of reference and issuing a challenge to action, thus exacerbating the revolutionary threat, breaking up the State’s monopoly on violence, as anarchists claim their share of violence to turn it against the enemy.
Turning now to the use of acronyms, it’s similarly useful on a more comprehensive level; their main importance is their contribution to recognizing resistance that is manifested without a centre, but instead horizontally and chaotically at the same time, depending on the choices of rebels.
I think that the existence of acronyms is also important as a propaganda tool. Translation networks can do the work of a messenger between insurgent groups regardless of whether or not the latter use an acronym. Nevertheless, the existence of one or more informal networks that use acronyms and recognize one another enhances the momentum of actions placing them within an overall context, rather than something fragmentary, and creates a solid (as to its existence, that is, continuous action) structure which is anarchist and insurrectionary at its root.
Instead of an epilogue
It is clear already that in the name of “citizen security” artificial social threats are constructed in a way to provide political alibi for committing the greatest state crimes, establishing more and more practices of control and surveillance, and toughening anti-terrorism laws. All this is aimed at enabling the privileged citizens of developed countries, who have been awarded this prestigious label, to feel safe while their statist protectors massively and indiscriminately sow death around them.
This is why I envision a belligerent condition in the urban centres where every day the rebels will organize plans for attacks, creating an asymmetric threat that will tear social cohesion and political stability to bits and sow insecurity in the reproduction centres of capitalism. The smooth flow of goods will no longer be taken for granted, and the representatives of oppression will live in fear.
We have nothing to wait for, so we organize ourselves and strike the society of capitalism; revolutionary actions shape the objective conditions, let’s multiply them.
Strength to all captive and fugitive comrades
Strength to the 4 anarchist hunger strikers in Mexico*
Dikastiki Filaki Koridallou,
First published in the 3rd issue of Avalanche (November 2014).
Commitment to foreign jihad is a known fact, the involvement of foreigners alongside Kurdish fighters is less. Who are those who take up arms against the Islamic state? Portrait of an Israeli-Canadian fighting in Kobané.
see video, in french:
Live stream recording – 2014-10-21 21.35 [part 2]
PART 1: http://vimeo.com/debalie/statelessdem…
(there’s more info linked below)
The fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has often been portrayed as a fight between the West and its Arab allies against Islamic ultra-fundamentalists. Over the last several years, however, a progressive Kurdish-led resistance has been forming in Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) amidst the Syrian Civil War. The resistance has successfully implemented new models of grassroots democracy, gender equality, and sustainable ecology, its members practicing a political project they refer to as Democratic Confederalism. Women and men stand side-by-side in its armed forces in the face of both ISIS and the Bashar al-Assad regime. Despite the resistance’s efforts, Rojava is currently threatened by a massacre, and the international community continues to stand by silently as tragedy unfolds.
This conference discusses the current Kurdish resistance in Kobanê, Rojava against ISIS. With help of representatives from the Kurdish movement as well as specialists in the field, it explores the politics and culture of Rojava and the reasons behind the formation and growth of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The question as to what and how the international community and civil society can help is also addressed—not only to stop ISIS, but more crucially, to support a movement from within the region that is offering a new democratic horizon from which the world can learn.
Keynote speeches by Dilşah Osman (co-president of the Kurdish Democratic Society Congress in Europe, KCD-E) and Dilar Dirik (PhD researcher and activist of the Kurdish Women’s Movement), contributions by Joost Jongerden (researcher and Kurdish specialist, Wageningen University), Jolle Demmers (co-founder of the Center for Conflict Studies, Utrecht), Jonas Staal (artist), Jasper Blom (Director Scientific Bureau Groenlinks / Green Party), Dilan Yezilgoz-Zegerius (Amsterdam council memberfor Liberal Party VVD, former Amnesty International specialist on Turkey) en Golrokh Nafisi (artist) and many others.
The conference is hosted by New World Academy; BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht; Center for Conflict Studies, Utrecht; and De Balie, Amsterdam.
Stateless Democracy: The Revolution in Rojava Kurdistan is the first of a series of events on stateless democracy organized by New World Academy in collaboration with the Kurdish Women’s Movement.
The Kurdish women’s movement, the Union of Free Women (YJA) has changed its name to the Kurdistan Communtiies of Women (Komalen Jinen Kurdistan, KJK) in order to reorganize itself under a confederal system. The Women’s Movement has issued a statement to announce its name change, stressing the importance of women’s organisation on the basis of the ideological and political requirements for a universal liberation of women.
Excerpt from “Between Nationalism and Women’s Rights: The Kurdish Women’s Movement in Iraq”
With the fall of the Baath regime in 2003, many Kurdish women activists initially joined with women activists in the rest of Iraq to promote women’s rights for all Iraqis. However, the violence that has engulfed central and southern Iraq as well as the Islamization of politics there, mean that a large number of women activists in Kurdistan have put their efforts into supporting autonomy for Iraqi Kurdistan as a means of defending women’s rights there. Moreover, many Kurdish activists tend to emphasize their difference from Arabs through reference to their desire for women’s rights (as opposed to what they perceive as a lack of desire for women’s rights in the rest of Iraq). Even those women in Kurdistan who believe that it is important to work with women in the rest of Iraq are largely prevented from doing so due to the practical difficulties of travelling to/within the rest of Iraq. However, some women’s rights activists from central and southern Iraq travel to Iraqi Kurdistan for meetings and workshops as it is much safer than other parts of the country.
The comparison with the rest of Iraq has made some Kurdish women more optimistic about the gains that they have made within the Iraqi Kurdistan region, whilst others remain critical of politicians within the KRG. Some women activists believe that Kurdistan politicians are marginalizing women’s rights to concentrate on the “bigger national questions” of Kirkuk, oil, and federalism. Other women activists believe that these questions of Kurdish rights are also inseparable from achieving women’s rights in Kurdistan. However, both the critics and the optimists believe that autonomy for Kurdistan must be respected by the government in Baghdad.
IRAQ: Interview: Between Nationalism and Women’s Rights – The Kurdish Women’s Movement
KURDISH WOMEN AND FEMINISM IN GUERILLA WARFARE
Within the movement, Kurdish women have their own party, and even community. In the heart of Qandil Mountains, you can find PKK women do everything by themselves, even building houses and military outposts.
If we compare the women members of Turkey’s parliament in the country’s 17th general election which was held on 12 June 2011 to elect 550 new members of Grand National Assembly, we see a huge difference between Kurdish women deputies in the only Kurdish party and the two other opposition parties. There are 20 female deputies out of 135 deputies from the opposition Republican People’s Party, three out of 53 from the Nationalist Movement Party and 11 out of 35 among the Kurdish Peace and Democracy party.
This is the innovation of Kurdish freedom struggle movement that you cannot find in the whole Middle East region. You can hardly find female political figures in Middle East. This is not to say that some female political figures don’t exist in Middle East, but of those that do they rarely get to the higher positions. But in Kurdish the freedom struggle and political ideology, it has become a system that will go forward in the future.
Bear in mind, the women that are guerrilla fighters are not married and if you ask them about marriage, they straightly tell you “If our land is not free, marriage is meaningless.” This is the same for the male guerrillas as well.
To fight side by side to men, Kurdish women fighters have become the soul of the revolution. Though they are martyred every now and then, but they are so proud that they have dedicated their life to the nation and the land.
PKK women say that they are one hundred percent equal to men, yet they want more! They will never see their families once they have joined the revolution. Once I asked a PKK female guerrilla in Qandil Mountains: “Do you miss your mother?”
“Your mother, is my mother, too. Daily, I see her several times here. My mother is here, she is there, she is everywhere in the country. My mother is my HOMELAND.” she replied
The latest achievement of PKK’s women is that they were able to become the top leaders of the KCK. Bese Hozat became the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) Executive Council Co-President in KCK’s last congress which was held in the beginning of 2013. Despite KCK affiliated parties and organizations impleneting the Co-chair system, KCK had not done so. Consequently the last congress became a milestone for PKK’s female fighters because they were able to acheive equality to men within the political structure of KCK.
Gaining equality and high positions within the PKK revolutionary movement was not handed to women on a silver plate. Women struggled against the patriarchal mentality of men, and through constant struggles they acomplished what they set out to do.