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A look at the Kurdish tragedy

Rojava, in Northern Syria is a region composed of Afrin, Kobane and Cezire. In the midst of the horrendous Syrian war, under persecution and direct attack by all factions and nation states in the region, the Kurdish people have made at least two exemplary achievements: a women-led revolution (within a brutal patriarchal feudal society) and Democratic Confederalism, a collective assembly-based form of territorial government led from below and oriented towards the protection and ecological preservation of their territories.


Manuel Rozental


The world came to know and recognize this struggle and achievements after the military defeat of ISIS in Kobane and the presence of a women´s Kurdish defence force, the YPJ.

Although this autonomous women led force deserves such recognition and praise, these women have explained that the defence effort, although crucial, is probably only 10% of what they actually do. Most of their activities have to do with the effective consolidation of a new autonomous society. A Womens’ revolution, is a documentary that shows in practice some of what actually happens on the ground.

Kurdish people live in their ancestral territory (in Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran) but have been denied the right to their autonomy. The Rojava revolution has spread to the whole of Kurdistan. It might achieve the end of patriarchy, as well as peace, autonomy, social justice and an alternative to authoritarian regimes and religions.

This possibility threatens all the nations-states in the region, as well as the most powerful nations in the world and the interests of global capitalism.

If and when women in the Middle East decide to come out of enslavement to build a new society with true democracy beyond the limits of nation-states, extractive interests, then racism and patriarchy will be left behind; an intolerable occurrence for the powers that promote war and oppression in the region and in the world.

The PKK, under the leadership of Abdullah Öcalan, has been the inspiring force of this Revolution in Rojava and beyond. Öcalan was captured illegally on February 15th, 1998 in Africa in a joint US-Israeli-British operation and transferred to the island of Imrali in Turkey, where he has been placed in isolation in-spite of the fact that he has led a peace proposal and negotiation process in conversations with the Turkish government. Öcalan wrote several books in jail, promoting a womens’ revolution, democratic confederalism and peace. And it is as a result of his influence that he has been placed in solitary confinement since 2015.

Turkey, under the authoritarian regime of Erdogan feels this threat more than others. The Turkish regime has always oppressed the Kurdish people, particularly the PKK (Kurdish worker´s party), which it has unjustly labelled a terrorist organization.

Turkey is a NATO ally, with the second largest army within the alliance. Erdogan´s chauvinism and nationalist desire to make Turkey great again, have won him a referendum that gave him exceptional power. The Turkish army has attacked Kurdish cities and communities in southern Turkey in order to isolate them from Kobane and Rojava, crimes that have not received much media attention.

Two months ago, with the support of Russia, it began bombing Afrin, and last week its forces with support from ISIS and other similar militias, invaded the city of Afrin killing hundreds of civilians in the face of resistance from the Kurdish defence forces (women and men) who suffered more than 800 casualties. It has been a brutal use of force. Erdogan pretends to justify this aggression claiming that the Kurds are terrorists and that the territory invaded by Turkey is ancestral Turkish land even though it has always been Kurdish territory.

Erdogan has now announced that he will occupy the rest of Rojava: Kobane and Cezire, crushing the womens’ revolution. The occupation includes the immediate transfer of population into Afrin in order to expel the Kurds.

Although the UN passed a resolution condemning the Turkish attack on Syrian territory, and although Turkey is a member of NATO, all NATO countries have in effect, turned a blind eye to this invasion. As many analysts have stated, all the super-powers have an interest in the destruction of the Rojava-womens’ and Kurdish revolution, because it threatens their interests and plans in the region and beyond. In fact, by turning a blind eye to the Turkish invasion, all the super-powers are in complicity with this act of war and crimes against humanity.

Erdogan´s speech and attitude is a reminder of the Armenian genocide.

The invasion of Afrin and the impending occupation and invasion of all of Rojava not only threatens the destruction of a momentous process for the benefit of peace in the Middle East and beyond, but it also poses the imminent risk of genocide against the Kurdish population.

The Turkish army´s attack on Kurdish civilians, mostly women and children inside Turkey, and now in Afrin are proof of the fact that such a concern has a solid basis in reality.  Under these circumstances, silence equals complicity. It is imperative that respected voices throughout NATO-allied countries immediately raise their voices to denounce the criminal acts of war of the Turkish regime and demand that they stop and for Turkey to leave northern Syria.

Voices of individuals, organizations and societies that demand from their governments to end both their tacit and active complicity with this aggression against Rojava and the Kurdish people.

Voices that show not only their concern, but also their interest in understanding and defending a revolution for peace and a viable democratic society that is overcoming patriarchy, abuse, racism, greed and destruction.

As renowned academics and analysts have stated, this Turkish invasion of Syria, in the circumstances that currently exist in th e Middle East and globally, could be the equivalent of the Nazi invasion of Poland in 1939: a prelude to a wider war.

The unacceptable direct use of force to invade foreign territories, the racist policies, the geopolitical interests involving all the super-powers and the consequent activation of the largest armies in the world and the covert or overt alliance with terrorist forces on the ground, threaten grave consequences for all regions of the world.

Credible, respected voices must denounce what is happening and action must be taken to stop it.. Silence and inaction are not acceptable options.

Given the widespread violence and suffering in Syria, that may spread across the region, it’s not unreasonable that outsiders look at the situation…

For more information see  Şoreşa Jin/Women’s Revolution. And Revolution in Rojava. For further and updated information in English see: ANF | Kurdistan


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