News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
In a recent article published by Ozgur Gundem, ‘The Rojava Revolution Smells of Clover’` the Kurdish journalist Zübeyde Sarı writes about her recent visit to Rojava. Her piece covers the experience of crossing the border from Ceylanpinar to Serêkaniyê, conditions in the city, and the progress of the revolution more generally, and the progress of women in the revolution in particular. Sarı also offers a number of vignettes of life in the city as it struggles to cope with pressures of war and the task of building a new kind of economy and society. Below are a number of excerpts – translated to English – from her piece.
The Abandoned City
Serêkaniyê is a city made up of two and three story buildings. Most of the houses have courtyards. The yellow and green of the trees which decorate and cool the courtyards give the city a different kind of air. On almost all the walls are the scars left from bullets. Houses bombed by the regime have been wiped from the map. I pause for a minute there and wonder where are those children – those hopes and those lives which once resided in those dark ruined houses.
This city of 50,000 has become a veritable ghost town because of the war. In Serêkaniyê Kurds, Arabs, Christians and Yazidis – peoples and faiths existed together. ‘After the war and particulary the approach of al-Nusra they became scared and left’ says one older Syriac women.
With the war the population of the city has fallen to 5,000. Those who have remained and have taken ownership of the city say ‘we won`t go.’ There are some who reproach and are angry with those who left, and some who say `they were oppressed and for that they went.’
The Field Hospital set up by the PYD
We stop by a field hospital built on the side of the road.
All the hospitals in Serêkaniyê were evacuated. Despite all demands the hospitals were not reopened. In the field hospital set up with the resources of the PYD both civilians and YPG fighters are being treated.
A seventeen year old youth is staying in the hospital. He has been shot in the foot. There is no sign of pain on his face. Everyone in the hospital is mobilized for war – even if conditions are bad they are working on faith. An eight year old girl brings cotton gauze. Another girl – ten years old – is busy cleaning the blood off the floor. Doctors and Nurses look after the wounded.
The walls of the hospital are unplastered. There is not enough medicine and circumstances are difficult but nothing is shaking the faith of these people.
In Serêkaniyê there is only one surgeon and one OBGYN. I am speaking with the doctor and the nurses. They say that `We need medical supplies, pediatricians and we desperately need a cardiologist.`
(Look for Part II later)