The Rojava Report

News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan

Women Take the Initiative for Rojava


(DIHA) Helime Yusif, the Coordinator for Foreign Relations of Yekitiya Star, told members of civil society organizations and the press at a panel on “Gender, Violence, War and the Rojava Experiment” that the Rojava Revolution has enabled great gains in women’s unity and leadership, saying “The will of women has grown. A women’s initiative has taken shape, this is a revolution. This initiative has produced a text there that has the character of a constitution.”

The panel was organized by the Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) and took place in the Şişli Metropolitan Cultural Center. In the second round of the panel the stage actress Esmeray joined the discussion on the topic of violence against transsexual and transgendered individuals, and murderers who use the claim of mistaken gender as a justification for killing, arguing ‘transphobia and homophobia does not come from one place.” Discussing her own experiences, Esmeray said “when I decided to have surgery everyone had something to say. My sexual organs are as private as anyone’s. Take your hands off them.”

The co-Presidency has generated Kurdish politics

Prof Dr. Nazan Üstündağ spoke on the consequences of war for women, saying “everywhere war together with militarism inflame an idea of masculinity. The result of this is that women have to stay at home and a situation develops in which violence against women is legitimated.” Üstündağ also stressed the important role that women play in peace processes throughout the world, saying “they struggle seriously in order to preserve the political gains they make during the war. According to a UN decision, women need to play a role at every stage in the construction of peace. Steps need to be taken so that women have equal representation and humanitarian security at every phase. The Kurds in Turkey have enabled that which we are talking about to happen [here].” Üstündağ went on to give a number of examples, such as the implementation of a co-Presidency system by the KCK, DÖKH’s declaration of itself as a monitor in Kurdistan, and the potential for the first female mayor of Diyarbakir. She went on to point out that the AKP has been observed doing exactly the opposite, saying “the “wise people committee’ was only 19 percent women. It is in situation stuck on a road leading to violence towards women. And outside of this there is also the subject of the implementation of serious policies designed to deflate the political strength of women.”

“This talk about male violence came out in 2007”

After Üstündağ finished speaking Meriç Eyüboğlu, a lawyer with the Socialist Feminist Collective, told the audience that “it is not clear who carries out violence against women. This talk about male violence came out in 2007. In a setting where torture and rape was committed by the state. We arrived at Gezi. There is a lot of lessons for us to learn from Gezi.” Eyüboğlu spoke of how women in the opposition were subjected to the threat of sexual violence and despite this being known nothing was done, saying ‘This become apparent with Gezi. The most widely used method during Gezi was the strip search of those arrested. Between May 31st – June 1st it was announced that seven people were subjected to this, and later similar statements emerged. However outside of one case not a single thing has been done on this subject.”

“Kurdish and Arab women are struggling together”

Helime Yusif’, the Coordinator for Foreign Relations of Yekitiya Star, told the audience that her organization was “carrying out this work under the influence of Leader Apo. Yekitiya Star is continuing its work among women in a coordinated fashion. When the revolution began we prepared all of this work. In fact we were already working on the subject of those things internal to the lives of women. We also continued this work.’ Yusif also stressed that when the revolution began it was not only Kurdish women, but Arab, Syriac, and women from other peoples who were subjected to violence, but she noted that “Kurdish women had organization. Kurdish and Arab women can struggle together in the revolution. Academies have been opened and women have been able to receive education. There is a war there and for that reason defense is necessary. After the fatwas there were major massacres. Women now need to bring their organization to the highest level. This revolution began with women and actually the Rojava Revolution is a women’s revolution.” Yusif went on to emphasize how the revolution has provided significant gains in the area of women’s leadership, saying “The will of women has grown. A women’s initiative has taken shape, this is a revolution. This initiative has produced a text there that has the character of a constitution. The first article covers the separation of state and religion. The goal of this constitutional text is to cover the rights of all women. The goal of women right now is that this text finds a place within the constitution in Syria.’

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This entry was posted on December 1, 2013 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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