News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
(ANF) In a report carried by ANF, Jina Zekioğlu interviews members of a 6-women committee from the Cizîre Canton in Rojava which is currently on a visit to Diyarbakir. The committee is meeting with various local organizations in an attempt to develop joint-projects and to improve cooperation between women’s organizations in Rojava and North Kurdistan. Zekioğlu spoke with the six women – Necah, Axin, Sadia, Jînda, Nora and Mona – about the Rojava Revolution and the role that women are now playing in transforming politics and society. Below is the first part of Zekioğlu’s report, translated into English.
51 year old Necah Husein Amên starts off our conversation. She explains her life in Qamişlo before the revolution thus:
Zekioğlu: Lets go back a bit, now that your lives have been divided in two. How do you recall your first life?
Necah: Violence within the family was very widespread. It was like it was everywhere. I am certain it still persists. Women used to be imprisoned in their homes. Life was the work of the home. And as such they could not escape from violence. There lives were without security. We women were secretly struggling, we were very few. What we did was to acknowledge the violence we saw and attempt to find a solution. There were many women like this. As we went along our numbers increased but so did the violence. However there are now many more women putting themselves out there to stop this violence. We know this. This is a source of hope for us.
Zekioğlu: Were you able to achieve everything you wanted after the revolution?
Necah: We achieved a lot. There were important steps compared to many countries in the world. But these are not enough for us. We have come to a realization that we are women. We have opened organizations, and within the organizations we have started to come together as women. By organizing we realized our own essential power. We are very proud that we have had a place and a share in this struggle. This is a women’s revolution! Do not forget this, you are also women. We need to announce this to the whole world.
Axin Hasan is one of the women growing the revolution on the ground and within herself.
Zekioğlu: For you personally and as a community, what was the reason behind this eagerness to struggle?
Axin: My own life! Before the revolution there was no me. I didn’t consider myself to exist. I was married. I could not divorce. I have two children. I had no rights or law. Before the revolution there was no such thing as women’s rights. I was married to my husband for 8 years. He didn’t understand anything about me, nor I him, nor did either of us understanding anything about life. We were very distant from each other. I could not separate from him. I had neither the confidence nor the material circumstances. My family wouldn’t look after me. The state would not recognize me. I always went on because of my children.
Zekioğlu: How did your awareness change? How has your fate and the fate of Rojava changed?
Axin: I met some women from the women’s organizations. They seemed very strong. I listened to them. Then I also joined in the work around women, and I got to know my identity, my country and my culture which had been stolen from me. My life changed then. I found strength because of this struggle. I took my children and divorced my husband. Now I live separately. War, struggle…these concepts now reign both in our home and inside of us, and in our lands. I became aware of my humanity and my womanhood.
40 year-old Nora Xexil could not imagine these days before the revolution.
Zekioğlu: Without a doubt it was not easy for you to arrive to today. Can you say “we have meaningfully freed ourselves of those days?”
Nora: There was also a women’s struggle in the past. It’s not that it did not exist. However we are talking about a revolution. A revolution does not happen easily. And it not happen easily. Many sacrifices were made. The Kurdish people are a people who have struggled throughout their history. For us this other way became interesting. Accept life as it comes, bow down before that which is seen as appropriate…we never accepted such a fate, nor will we.
Zekioğlu: You have witnessed and made history. What have you experienced over the past few years?
Nora: Within the women’s movement we did not know so many things about this. But in the course of this process we learned together. We became aware. War and revolution became a part of our lives. Now we have founded organizations. We have also come to posses this cause. We know our role and our mission. We think about everything we want to do, we debate, and we do research. We are getting into contract with organizations within the Kurdish Women’s Movement all over the world, we are consulting with them and working out practices. Right now around 75% of women in Rojava are organized. They are absolutely working in the area of struggle. Or they have experienced an awakening within themselves. Perhaps they held a weapon, or wrote laws. It doesn’t matter! The struggle of women in Rojava is the struggle of the Kurdish people. After the revolution the strength they found within themselves became an example to many, many women, perhaps it became an example to women and societies in many places in the world that has experienced such oppression. We have broken our chains and untied our knots.