News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
The following article was written and submitted to the Rojava Report by Athithan Jayapalan – an Eelam Tamil activist based in Oslo, Norway. In it he analyses the current political situation in Rojava, while also drawing attention to the ways in which the national oppression of the Kurds has parallels in other parts of the world and with the plight of the Eezham Tamils in particular. Athithan concludes by making a call for solidarity among oppressed nations and underscoring the need for further cooperation and coordination. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Radical islamists have again displayed their Islamo-Arab-fascist character in their persistent engagement in executing ethnic cleansing of Kurds in Syria. The attack in Northern Syria (Rojava) in the Kurdish town of Ras-Al-hain on 3rd May by the renegade Al-Qaeda group Islamic state of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) left 15 Kurds massacred in which seven were children (1). Although the ISIL was expelled by the Al-Qaeda due to the turf war with Al-Nusra front, the jihadists are nevertheless united in their anti Kurd racism and in their Islamo-Facsism.
Human rights activists in Rojava had confirmed that 450 Kurdish civilians, mostly women and children were massacred by the Al-Nusra Front in Tal Abyad, Tal Hassil and Tal A’ran areas of Rojava between 28th of July to 2nd august 2013 (2).
Such instances of Islamist atrocities constitute a chauvinistic dimension to the imperialist instigated grand war which has devastated Syria as a whole and brutalized its various peoples and nations. Nevertheless the relentless and inhumane attacks on the Rojava Kurds by Turkey, Saudi and US sponsored Islamists are dangerously consolidating a genocidal character to the unfettered anti-Kurd violence perpetuated in Northern Syria.
From the onset of the civil war instigated by the U.S. axis in line with their policy of regime change through arming the opposition as seen in Libya, Kurds have been a peculiar, independent and phenomenal element in the fighting formations which developed since 2011.
The Matrix of the Syrian Civil War and the National Oppression of the Kurds
As Assad’s regime was meeting growing armed resistance from a plethora of opposition groups, mostly belonging to the Sunni Arab populations, the Syrian armed forces were compelled to dismantle the repressive military presence in the Kurdish homelands to focus on the coastal and southern regions to suppress the fledgling rebellion. This left the Rojava Kurds populating the northern tracts of Syria with a historical opportunity to organize national mobilization, regain physical and political control and exercise self determination. The Kurds sensing the impending danger which would result from the civil war organized and armed themselves and ousted the remaining military. The Rojava revolution had begun shaking the foundation of various establishments while invigorating the oppressed.
The Arab nationalist rule in Damascus which shares their neighbours’ contempt for the Kurdish speaking people has perpetuated a protracted discrimination and suppression of the rights of Kurds. It is noteworthy that the Syrian state has disenfranchised a majority of Kurds and it was only in utter desperation that Assad granted Kurds suffrage in 2014 July in a bid to fend off Kurdish animosity as he required stability in the north in order to grapple with the growing rebellion against his dictatorship. In addition to such national oppression the Arab nationalist regime in Damascus prohibited the Kurdish language. Such a similar practice of cultural annihilation and ethnic assimilation was also a protracted state practice in Iran and Turkey against the Kurds. Furthermore the theocratic-fascist Iranian state which is the main regional ally of the Syrian regime has for decades indulged in unfettered national oppression of the Kurds through the iron grip of an occupation in the Kurdish homeland.
The opposition rebels who are entrenched in an externally funded yet democratically mandated attempt to topple the Assad regime do not differentiate from the latter in their approach towards the Kurdish people. Furthermore the opposition armed by the U.S. and their allies Turkey and Saudi Arabia are predominantly constituted by Sunni Arabs and many are of varying degree of Islamist disposition. Arab oriented Islamism in the region is in opposition to the Kurds’ political rights and national aspirations as it does not account for the Kurdish national question and the recognition of the Kurds as a people and a nation entitled to self-determination. A large section of the opposition forces in Syria are rather interested in the moderate form of perpetuating a unitary Syria in a similar manner as the Baath regime. Whereas the radical Islamite form as exhibited by the ISIL or the Al-Nusra aims to create a monarchist centralized rule based on Sharia and religious treaties which are vehemently opposed to the revolutionary Kurdish project of self-determination.
It is in this light that the radical Islamists are indulging in ethnic cleansing of the Kurds to destabilize their national mobilization, destroy their revolutionary armed resistance and to subjugate their national consciousness. The necessity for the massacres of Kurds is also based in the Arab chauvinist national interest to destroy the contiguous Kurdish settlements in Rojava in a bid to facilitate their aspired Islamic Sharia based state to exercise hegemony. In the Kurdish perspective, the Baath regime embodies secular Arab chauvinism while the Islamist displays religious Arab chauvinism; both are in contempt for the national existence of the Kurds.
The apparent contradiction which emerges is based on the fact that Western imperialism and Saudi and Turkey sponsored Sunni Islamic Jihadism conflates and works together in the suppression and attempted annihilations of the Kurdish speaking people of Rojava.
The Western imperialists in their pursuit of toppling the Assad regime, are arming the opposition and the radical Islamists in order to counter the Iran-Russia-China sphere of influence in the geo-politics of the region. In this venture, the fascist Turkish state and monarchist Saudi Arabia are on the pretext of Islam, aiding various Syrian groups in both the imperialist agenda of toppling Assad as well as in annihilating the national revolution of the Rojava Kurds. The Turkish state which has a morbid history of executing genocidal violence against the Kurdish people in Turkey extends its activities across the borders to northern Syria in massacring Kurds and conquering their land. This is proven by the direct assistance given to the fascist Al-Nusra who is renowned for their attacks on Kurdish villages, towns and against the civilian population and their liberation fighters.
Kurdish transnationality and the Rojava revolution
The national mobilization and the revolution of the Rojava Kurds and their success in controlling and administrating an independent state in Rojava is creating paranoia as well as racist rage in Ankara and Istanbul as well as creating tension in Damascus and Tehran. The Rojava Kurds declared on 21st of January 2014 an independent administration consisting of three autonomous provinces of Qamishi, Afrin and Kobani. The tripartite administrative model was also devised to equally include Arabs and Assyrians into the decision making processes. In accordance, while the head of the administration Ekrem Haso is Kurdish, the Kurds are reported to have elected Elizabeth Gawria an Assyrian and Hussein Azam, an Arab as deputies (2).
A true revolutionary, federal, inclusive and secular spirit has been exhibited by the Rojava Kurds in materializing their self determination in the unlikely times of religious violence, sectarian onslaught and as dictatorial tyranny ruptures Syria. Nevertheless this was the result of strenuous and courageous resistance organized by the Kurdish people against the Syrian government, the AL Nusra, the ISIL, and other imperialist sponsored opposition militants.
The fortitude and resilience of the Rojava Kurds is phenomenal as they have against all the multifaceted hazards and violence effectively defended their homeland and are consistently defending their people and materializing their right to self-determination, subsequently advancing an unprecedented revolution in the region. The Kurdish revolution espouses revolutionary egalitarianism in a region where national, gender and religious oppression is omnipresent and imperialist exploitation rampant.
While the previously mentioned international links are at work against the Rojava Kurds, the transnational presence of the Kurdish speakers in the region and the military capacity of the Kurds in Turkey led by the revolutionary Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) are assisting their kin in Syria. In this light hundreds of fighters from the PKK have entered Rojava to assist the armed resistance spear-headed by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People’s Defence Unit (YPG). The revolutionary women and men of the PYD and the YPG enjoy strong solidarity from the PKK and are known to advocate the national liberation struggle fought by the PKK against the fascist Turkish State. Moreover the Kurdish Peace and Democracy party (BDP) in Turkey have also welcomed the declaration of the independent administration of the Rojava Kurds.
The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) which controls Kurdistan in the north of Iraq has received thousands of Syrian Kurds and has initially taken great measures in facilitating them. The KRG has also provided training to the Syrian Kurds in the future pursuit of having friendly elements within the Rojava Kurdish national project of protecting their homeland and advancing their self rule. Moreover the Kurdish refugees are clearly stating their aspiration for self-determination and draw inspiration from the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan. The statement of two refugees who escaped from the southern Syrian town of D’ema given to IRIN exemplifies this: “We will stay, even if the government [in Syria] changes…The other neighboring governments will not help us, because we are Kurds. Even the new Syrian government won’t help us”
“We want a government like that of Kurdistan, with freedom and safety. We just want our rights…For 40 years, I had no rights. I need to be able to feel human again.” (3)
Although KRG has initially been friendly towards the plight of the Syrian Kurds, they have recently been in conflict with the PYD as the latter is interlinked with the PKK which complicate the Iraqi Kurds’ geo-political dealings with regional and international establishments. Due to such strain it is unfortunate that the logic of imperialist geo-politics should obstruct the historic and revolutionary opportunity for Kurds of the region to unite and stand together against the chauvinism in Baghdad, Tehran, Ankara and Damascus as well against the excessively imperialist supported anti-Kurd violence in Syria.
The corporate media funded and driven by the imperialist and neo-capitalist interests of the U.S. and the West is silencing the nature of the violence perpetuated against the Rojava Kurds and is absolving the militants from their systematic violence against the Kurds.
A similar trend is also presently visible in the situation in Ukraine in which the media mystifies the fascist Ukrainian white supremacist militants who are indulging in atrocious violence against Russian speakers and anti-Kiev elements. The calculated massacre of dozens of anti-Kiev demonstrators in the southern Ukrainian region of Odessa on the 5th of May was represented as a street battle between pro-Russian mobs and Ukrainians by the BBC. Furthermore corporate media also represented the genocidal onslaught against the Eezham Tamils in the north eastern region of Mullethivu in 2009 as a military offensive against the LTTE. It is beyond any doubt that corporate media is heavily intermeshed with imperialism and will accordingly silence and facilitate genocide and legitimize chauvinism and fascism.
Another oppressed nation subjected to genocidal violence and corporate media bias as the Kurds are the Eezham Tamils who are presently after three decades of armed national liberation struggle beleaguered in the ethno-chauvinist state of Sri Lanka. Furthermore the Sri Lankan state is in fact tightly interlinked with the unholy alliance constituting the oppressors of the Kurds, with Colombo enjoying a cordial relationship with Turkey and the Iran-China axis while it courts the Western imperialist powers and serves their interests. The predilection of the world establishments towards the oppressors of the Kurds and the Tamils have enhanced the genocidal oppression our peoples face. In these times of genocide and oppression the Eezham Tamils and I extend solidarity to the Rojava Kurds and their courageous peoples’ resistance against the Assad regime and the fundamentalist and fascist elements of the opposition. The solidarity between the oppressed is imperative in fighting imperialism, chauvinism and genocide. Likewise our transnational integration is necessary to educate regarding the situation in our respective areas, and organize agitation against the oppression and in disseminating the information discerning the true nature of the violence we are subjected to. It is the solidarity and workings between the Tamils and the Kurds, both transnationally situated and subjected to various forms of oppression which can genuinely create the prospectus for a transnational solidarity movement which can advocate global solidarity based on the adherence to the principles of equality of nations and the rights to self-determination. Thereby the Eezham Tamil people should extend solidarity to the Kurds and condemn the ongoing atrocities against Kurds in Rojava and in a similar manner the courageous Kurds should extend solidarity to the Tamils subjected to a genocidal military occupation. The Kurds like our people are silenced and submerged in the dominant Western imperialist conditioned narrations of the war which encapsulates them.