News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
(ANF/DILÊR CUDİ/AZİZ KÖYLÜOĞLU – QAMIŞLO) In an interview with ANF, Henife Husen – a member of the coordinating body of Yekitiya Star – spoke about the Rojava revolution and the important role that women have played in the revolutionary process thus far. Husen also spoke about the history of women’s struggle in the region and the role that the philosophy of the Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan has played in this struggle.
“The resistance of Kurdish women” said Husen, “has continued without a pause from Ishtar to Besê and Zarife. This struggle has made a number of steps forward over the past forty years through the philosophy of Leader Apo [Öcalan]. Apo tells us that the emergence of women’s free will and a free women is the emergence of a free society, and a free society will mean a liberated humanity and nature. In the same way that the first form of hegemony was developed over women, the self-liberating women will defeat all hegemons.”
Husen also spoke of the effect that the revolution was having on a the process of and thinking around women’s liberation in the Middle East and the World, saying “ the Kurdish woman is growing her struggle in the four parts of Kurdistan. This struggle is taking place in the realm of thought and politics and in society. The most important thing is that women are not in a situation to defend themselves and do their own work. Kurdish women paid a heavy price in this respect. Women such as Leyla Kasım and Şirin Elemhuli were murdered in fascist prisons. Thousands of Kurdish women resisted under torture in Turkish prisons. One of these was Sakine Cansız. There were also our friends in Syria such as Xelat Nazliye Keçel and Gule Selmo that were murdered by the regime. The thousands of our women comrades who have fallen as martyrs have left us a great legacy of resistance. The struggle that women have waged in the four parts of Kurdistan and the gains that they have made offers a serious perspective for both the women of the Middle East and the women of the world.”
The Co-Presidency And A New Government Model
Husin spoke about the new government model being implemented in Rojava and the importance of the co-Presidency system, saying “in the past in struggles waged by other peoples women’s freedom was always left until after the revolution. However the Kurdish woman has changed this equation. Leader Apo has been clear on this subject, saying that without the liberation of women there will be no liberation of society. The freedom of women and the revolutionary development are part and parcel of each other. Now in Rojava women are organizing themselves and forming organizations everywhere. At the same time of the system of co-presidency has become a governmental principal in all areas. In particular in the area of the defense the Women’s Defense Units (YPJ) and the Women’s public security units were a first”
Neither Western Individualism Nor Middle Eastern Reactionism
Husin continued, saying “ın Rojava the revolutionary developments and the freedom of women are developing as part and parcel of each other. We have not accepted either the free individual of Europe nor the slavery wrapped in a black sheet within the tradition of the Middle East. We have based ourselves on the free women who removes herself from the status of property and takes natural morality as the principal for herself. Even if it is happening slowly this is what is emerging. In the first place we have implemented a women’s education that works towards developing a science of ‘jineology’ (women’s studies) and we have supported the formation of free women’s organizations. Thousands of women have received education in our academics on the women’s ‘jineology’ and their rights. At the same time and from an economic perspective work around cooperatives have started in order to include women.
Women Are The Foundational Dynamics Of The Democratic Nation
Husin also spoke on the principles of a democratic nation, and the ways that the struggle of women in Rojava related to the struggle of women throughout Syria and the Middle East, saying “the women of Rojava are taking part in a two-sided struggle to provide for a common force of women in Syria in general while also fighting for women’s liberation from a national perspective. Right now there are Kurdish parties and in particular parties that have been here for years in which there are no women. We are struggling so that women can have a place in these parties and we are establishing alliances. At the same time we have formed a common platform for Arab, Syrian, Armenians, Assyrians and Chechen women and we are inside the struggle. Right now this platform has become known as the Women of Syrian Initiative. From this perspective women are becoming the foundational dynamics in the creation of the democratic nation.”
Islam’s Cultural Aspect
Husin said that while women were facing negative reactions from certain religious organizations they were also taking a cultural aspect of Islam as their base, saying “after the proclamation of the cantons we came together as the women of all peoples and put together draft laws regarding women’s legislation. This legislation is made up of 39 articles and aims at a legal guarantee for all the rights of women. We will be struggling so that these articles we will have an affect on the Syrian constitution that will be formed in the future. As for now certain reactions against the laws have come out saying that they have nothing to do with the religion of Islam. But we as women are not against any religion and there is no crude feminism in our approach. We have taken the cultural dimension of the religion of Islam as our base but not its political dimension. We know now what kind of curse the political dimension of religions has for humanity. That such radical elements have emerged makes this clearly understandable.
Arab Women Are Being Oppressed The Most
Husin also spoke about the situation of Arab women, saying “the situation of Arab women compared with the women of other peoples is one of internal suffering. Many Arabs have accepted the slavery of women as a form of worship. Hundreds [of women] have been given offer to the radical groups in Syria under the pretense of ‘jihadist marriage.’ Until now there was no organization and still now there is no serious organization. For that reason Kurdish and Syriac women became decisive in the formation of the cantons. But even know women do not have the representation in the canton governments on the level the want. We are working to go beyond this.”