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 ISIS attacks on Yezidi Kurds in Sinjar and the political games being pursued by regional and international powers in Kurdistan, such as the United States and Turkey. He also touches upon the response of the Kurdish diaspora and points to the ways in which 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. Eezham Tamils in particular. Athithan can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the course of the siege and following the takeover of the City of Sinjar in Southern Kurdistan by the fascistic Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), coordinated policies of eliminating the Yazedi and the Kurdish population were unleashed, forcing a mass exodus of people from the city of 300 000 towards the inhospitable mountains adjoining the city.
The situation of the tens of thousands of Kurds and Yezidis who were stranded in the mountains with no access to shelter, water, medicine or food quickly became critical as the international community failed to facilitate adequate humanitarian assistance or intervention. UN groups stated that at least 40 000 people were believed to be stuck in the mountain while more than 130 000 have fled to Rojava (Western Kurdistan) where the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) are in control.
On 7th august the various Kurdish resistance forces were successful in rescuing thousands of trapped Yezidis in the mountains by clearing up a path which allows them to take refuge in Rojava. Recent reports from Sinjar stated that around 3000 people have been killed in the region by ISIS since it launched it genocidal offensive against the Kurds on the 3rd august with more than 5000 people feared kidnapped by the fascist ISIS (1).
While the West, preoccupied with the humanitarian situation in Gaza, neglected the Kurds, a fate shared by the Baloch and the Eezham Tamil nations, Kurdish forces from other parts of Kurdistan have displayed a historic and phenomenal cooperation in coordinating the Kurdish national resistance. Subsequently on the 4th of August, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) issued a statement on its website “ All Kurds in the north, east, south and west must rise up against the attack on Kurds in Sinjar” (2).
The PKK were quick in their response to the fledgling attacks in south Kurdistan, and in a historic display of national unity Executive Committee member Murat Karayilan expressed in an official statement in mid July that “We are ready to defend our people and their gains in the south. It is clear that no power can defeat us when we have proper relationship and cooperation. Today our people of the south are facing the threat of ISIS attacks. The HPG is the force that is able to back these attacks and to respond to the attacking forces. At this historical stage in order to create the possibilities for guerilla forces to resist together with the pesmerge I want to make this call to the KDP and YNK: I am calling on them to allow HPG forces to participate in the defense of our people particularly around Kirkuk and Sinjar.” (3)
The PKK which have fought the fascist Turkish state consistently for 30 years is for Kurds of the other regions an indispensable source of knowledge, experience and expertise in guerilla warfare and in mobilizing national armed resistance. They have also proven over the course of their liberation war their strong commitment for Kurdish self-determination and sovereignty. Their involvement in Rojava revolution over the past three years and now in Sinjar has engendered a phenomenal transnational integration among the Kurds, rendering the oppressive borders separating them increasingly insignificant.
U.S ‘intervention’ and Kurdish sovereignty
The US and the west have consistently avoided assisting the Kurds in fighting the ISIS for a number of reasons; amongst them are vested interests of the imperialists and the regional establishments in avoiding or countering the unfolding historic processes of transnational armed and political mobilization among the Kurds which is materializing an independent Kurdistan. Such an event would lead to the collapse of the western backed yet fragile Iraqi central state and the destabilization of the U.S sphere of influence in the middle-east.
Moreover if the people of Kurdistan in all its regions are to attain sovereignty and be masters of their own collective destiny it would foresee an unprecedented revolutionary transformation of the region and its geo-politics, which would prove devastating for the Imperialists and their comprador states.
Nevertheless forced to protect its own interests and diplomatic personnel in Southern Kurdistan’s capital Erbil, the U.S is reported to have provided the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and its armed forces the Peshmerga limited aerial military assistance in targeting ISIS artillery. However Kurdish activists have righteously pointed out that such assistance was not given to Rojava and its Kurdish resistance fighters who had for many months fought against the genocidal campaigns of the Saudi and Turkey backed ISIS and Al-Nusra. The activists were also questioning the real extent of such U.S assistance, pointing out that it was only delivered in Erbil purely in the interests of the Americans. The reluctant and limited intervention by the U.S against an organization such as the ISIS which proclaims a war against infidels and the West is extremely peculiar and corroborates further the linkages between the ISIS and the imperialists.
Furthermore it also seems that the U.S aligned with the geo-politics of Turkey is cunningly attempting to create friction and delink the KRG Peshmerga and the people of South Kurdistan from the Rojava revolution and the PKK by criminalizing the latter and providing limited support only for the former.
It is therefore of historic importance for the Kurds to not succumb to the machinations and geo-political considerations of external powers, who would be more interested in a dissected Kurdish national movement which would be unable to materialize Kurdish self-determination and demands of independence.
Meanwhile seasoned Kurdish fighters from Rojava belonging to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the PYD have successfully crossed the borders and assisted their kin and in South Kurdistan. The YPG has since the last few months, been increasingly involved in fierce battles with the ISIS in the province of Kobane in Rojava. Nevertheless they are now fighting alongside the Pesmerga fighters in countering the ISIS alongside their shared border. The bravery, patriotism and skill displayed by the YPG revolutionaries have impressed upon the residents of Sinjar as they welcomed them as the liberators who expelled the ISIS.
YPG spokesman Polat Can said in a statement “ISIS wants to attacks Zuma and Sengal (Sinjar) with a large force to separate it from Zaxo. We are here to prevent that. W have erased the borders between us. We moved to the south with great force in order to protect our brothers in the south from ISIS gangs” (4)
Reports also confirms that the armed wing of the PKK, the People’s Defense Force (HPG) have been extensively involved in the defense of Sinjar alongside the YPG and KRG in fierce fighting against the ISIS. Furthering the self-reliance of the Kurds, the YPG and the HPG have set up local armed units for the defense of the Sinjar region, the Sinjar Defense Units (SDU) in which hundreds of Yezidi youths have been reported to join in the past week. The transnational integration of the Kurdish armed national resistance and defense is furthered by reports of revolutionaries from the Party of the Free life of Kurdistan (PJAK) from East Kurdistan also participating in the joint defense of Sinjar.
The heroic and historic defense of Sinjar by the YPG, PKK, HPG and PJAK revolutionaries have earned them the hearts of the people of South Kurdistan, consequently the treacherous U.S –Turkey effort to divide the Kurds seems destined to fail.
Kurds in the Diaspora reflects national unity in resistance
On the 8th of August 2014, reflecting the call from the PKK and furthering the historic cooperation in the homeland, Kurdish people hailing from all the four regions of the traditional Kurdish homeland gathered in Oslo to hold a protest march calling the international community to halt the ongoing genocide committed by the ISIS against the Kurds and Yezidis in South Kurdistan. The protestors also waved the various flags of Kurdistan and their liberation fighters and demanded the recognition and establishment of an independent Kurdistan.
Kurds both in the homelands and in the diaspora converged in display of national unity as they condemn, protest and resist the genocidal onslaught coordinated by the ISIS with the backing of several establishments in the region.
More than 500 people had gathered in central Oslo, holding flags of the PYD and Rojava, the flag of Southern Kurdistan and the KRG, the flag of PKK and HPG as well as flags carrying the portrait of the imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. The protestors marched up till the Norwegian parliament and in front of it the Kurdish activists sung songs of liberation, slogans and speeches hailing the Peshmerga and the Kurdish armed resistance. They also called for the halt to the genocide and for the inevitable creation of a free Kurdistan.
The historic unity, cooperation and solidarity expressed between the Kurds are phenomenal and are strategic lessons to Tamils who like the Kurds constitute an oppressed transnational people.
In the same spirit, the Tamil people, conveys their solidarity to the revolutionary struggle of the Kurds and alongside them have condemned and protested the ongoing genocide. As history was being made among the Kurds, Tamil activist in London, Chennai and Oslo marked their solidarity and protest on behalf of the Kurds.
Likewise Kurdish activist expressing their solidarity to the Tamil cause have also said that a stronger cooperation between the Kurdish and Tamil activists is needed as international solidarity today is reserved for only few and leaves a range of oppressed nations and their political struggles in the dark.
Stronger cooperation between the Kurds, Tamils and Baloch and other oppressed nations is necessitated to build a transnational platform of alternate or representative international solidarity. Only with such a process can the oppressed nations, which are often neglected by the established international left and its solidarity efforts, righteously communicate the political philosophy of their national liberation struggle alongside the genocide, national oppression and state terrorism which they are resisting.