News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
(ANF/SEYİT EVRAN – AFRİN) With nearly one month now having passed since the proclamation of autonomy Abdulhamid Mustafa, the Vice-President of the Efrin Canton and an Arab, sat down with ANF and spoke about the model of democratic and its role in bringing democracy to the region. According to Mustafa “the Rojava autonomous governments are a decision to cheat the death that the capitalist system had prepared for the people and to begin a life of freedom.”
Mustafa is a member of the Arab Amirati tribe. He was born in the village of Babelüta in the Cindires district and has been living in Afrin for forty years. He graduated from the Production Enginnering department of the Technical Highschool, is married and is a father of five.
The people of Rojava have chosen the canton model as its model of government. Why did you chose such a system and government?
The Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Syriacs, Turkmen, Chechens and other peoples and minorities living in our region and throughout Syria are confronting a great danger. Because the hegemons will reach their goals in Syria by playing the peoples, cultures and faith groups against each other. For that reason they wanted to distort the developments that began in the name of the Syrian revolutıon and to bring them to this point. This is why they supported the gangs and because of thıs all of the people living in Rojava and in Syria are in great danger. Our proclamation of our autonomous Cantons was to put an end to this danger. It was to show that it still possible within Syria for different peoples, cultures and faith groups to live together democratically in peace and in brotherhood. Despite just very short period it is becoming more obvious every passing day that this is the most correct and necessary way. It is being proven. We have a claim to protect all the peoples living in our cantons and in Syria from this danger. And we believe that we will succeed.
With this model what kind of message did you want to send to regional and international powers?
We want to show a good picture of Syria’s reality. Because in our cantons are people of every faith, people and culture. This picture represents the reality of Syria. The autonomous canton government which we have proclaimed is to defend a democratic and unified Syria. For that reason we believe that this system will not only have its borders in Afrin, Kobanê and Cizîrê and will be a model for a solution in the other regions of Syria. And we are seeing signs that we will see developments in this direction with a short time. We believe that in keeping with our success in Rojava it will be successful within a short time. Because we do not believe that anything but this can solve the problem in Syria. This project is the project of a future Syria. It is the project of a democratic and free Syria. It is a project that will replace the mutual denial of peoples, faiths and cultures with respect and a living-together.
Only a short time has passed since you proclaimed the autonomous canton governments. What reactions have you encountered in this short time?
International powers are in a state of confusion. Some are confused about how this happened and others are looking suspiciously wondering if such a thing could work in a country in the Middle East. Actually with their approaches and confusion they are demonstrating their views of our region. According to them our region is very backwards, it cannot govern itself and there is a contemptuous approach that says the people are ignorant how could they accomplish such a thing? But the peoples of the region will show who is more progressive and who is more backwards. Even our first step was greeted with great enthusiasm in the region. And many countries and similar formations have begun to prepare themselves in this direction. For example a short time before us Yemen, a country of the region, announced that it would organize itself into six cantons and would transition to canton government, thinking that only by taking this road could they solve the problems they have been experiencing for different reasons over many years. We are saying that certainly Yemen took strength from our courage in taking this step in the Syria where the violence and conflict is multi-edged and it implemented such a decision. Moreover that is the right thing. If we had not taken this step I do not think that Yemen would have proclaimed such a form of government. Because within this kind of government peoples have self-government. This is a government that will address the foundation of the problems experienced in the countries of this region. This will not remain within the borders of a few countries. Within a short period this will be the model of the all the countries in the region. Because within this model there is freedom, there is democracy, there is brotherhood, and there is respect for faiths, cultures, ethnic groups and peoples.
What things did you want to put an end to and to go beyond with your government model and your system?
The proclamation of the autonomous canton governments was a decision toward breaking the capitalist system which is founded on the forcing of the peoples of the region into a nation-state model by international powers and their exploitation by family sovereigns. They are a decision to cheat the death that the capitalist system had prepared for the people and to begin a life of freedom. The oppressive and denialist sovereignty of a people, faith, culture or nation over another is ending. It is a system in which all will be partners and govern themselves. For that reason this system will win. The peoples of the region have begun to say no to the century of slavery which they have experienced. All peoples, nations, and cultures will live with their own languages, identities and histories.
What can you say about your government president being a woman?
No one can now deny that women are at the vanguard of the revolution being carried out in Rojava. The affect they had and their active role has shown and will continue to show to everyone how women are moving toward freedom in the region. That the president of our canton government is a woman is also proof of this. And in fact this is not something culturally or historically unknown to us. Because we have many examples of this in our recent history. Zenubya, Belkıs, and Nefertiti are examples of this. There is the example of Dayfa Hatun, the niece of Selahattin Eyyübi whose government in the Aleppo Castle continued for years in our recent history. However in our region and among the Kurds it is rare example in a period of wild capitalism. Actually this has proven that the Kurdish woman is at the women’s vanguard in the region and globally.
You are an Arab. How do you evaluate [this system] from the perspective of peoples’ representation?
Yes. As Arabs we have taken a place in this government with our own language, culture, identity, and community values. In the area of Cizîrê Chechens, Turkmens, Assyrians, Syriacs, and Armenians have also taken a place with their languages, cultures, histories and identities. This also holds a mirror to our reality in a region of many peoples, cultures, languages and nations. And it shows that such a life is within the bounds of possibility. For that reason we are calling on all those fighting and being forced to fight with one another on this earth to make peace so that the spilling of blood does not increase. Let us live in a free and democratic world. Let us shut all doors to the spilling of blood. Let us found a new Syria of the future together, where everyone will be equal and there will be justice for everyone. We have taken a step toward this and we will continue taking such steps no matter what the danger. Because we have no other road. We will struggle for this. It will also be us who wins. Because nothing comes to people from pain except death, blood and tears. We are trying to lesson these pains.