The Rojava Report

News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan

Life Behind The Trenches: On The Struggle For Autonomy In North Kurdistan


The following article “Hendeklerin ardındaki yaşam” was written by Ismail Eskin for Özgür Gündem. It has been translated into English below.

(Cizre) The doors of every last house remain open in the neighborhoods where for days the state had tried to enter with thousands of armed soldiers. In these spaces where the people have put forward their own will it is impossible to see the presence of the state outside of a few armored cars on the main avenues.

A Stateless Order

Behind the trenches in Cizîr (Cizre) there is a life closely tied to those who have paid a price for its sake. There is a great enthusiasm and excitement that has not forgotten the sufferings of the past. A people who pay no head to whether or not the state will continue its attacks put their determination front and center, saying “we have paid such a price that if necessary we will go on paying.” It is easy to understand the meaning of the Cizîr resistance from the solidarity shown behind the trenches.  Behind the trenches and barricades a ‘stateless order’ prevails.

Fresh memories…

It is necessary to say that the people of Cizîr have not demanded self-government from anyone, because it is constantly being stressed that by taking these practical steps they have entered on a road of no return. The sufferings that the state inflicted on the people of Cizîr in the past remain as fresh memories. The youth who stand guard day and night behind positions fortified with sandbags are self-government’s biggest guarantee. Because a foundational pillar of self-government is self-defense, which allows the people who reside behind these fortifications to live in peace.

The Children of the murdered

In the pro-government media where they shout lies about how “the PKK is forming a canton in Cizre” the question of “who are these youth” remains hidden. We enter a random house as guests. After food and tea we ask those living in the house some questions: “Who are these youth?” The elderly matron of the house responds: “these are the children of the people murdered in the 90’s.  All of them grew up on these streets and now they are making it known that they do not want to see their own families among the murdered.”

Popular Celebration 

One evening a celebration is held in the Nur neighborhood, where for 9 days special forces teams attempted to enter employing heavy weapons. The people are dancing halays around lit fires. Even if the neighborhood is surrounded by armored units morale is high. The holes in the sheets hung as defense against snipers and the bullet holes in the walls of the houses remain as evidence of the kind of resistance that took place here.

Be Careful Children!

Mothers who tell us how in neighborhoods where there are tens of thousands of residents there is never any incident of theft stand as indestructible monuments in front of their homes. These mothers never fail to offer prayers or warnings to “take care of yourselves” as they distribute food and water to the youth. Children for whom there was no need to compel them to explain their experiences over those many days are smiling and keeping their toys close at hand. Three siblings named Baran, Helin and Esra are playing next to the trenches by their homes.

‘We will no longer go to school’

Baran is 11 years old and explains the police assault on their neighborhoods. Explaining how their houses were incessantly targeted he tell us that it was “like we were in a war.” When we remind Baran and his sisters that school is about to begin he tells us “we will no longer go to school. However if there are Kurdish schools we will go.” In the intimate conversation that takes place in the evening hours accompanied by tea the main topic of conversation among those standing guard in front of the house is of how Turkish public opinion has remained unresponsive to the people living in the district.

In conversations where not a word is spoken about “peace” Cizîr residents, who now hold a light to the road map that the people of Kurdistan are to follow, are resisting shoulder to shoulder with those they themselves have selected, and not those appointed by the state to whom they are no longer answerable.

6 comments on “Life Behind The Trenches: On The Struggle For Autonomy In North Kurdistan

  1. Pingback: Η ζωή πίσω απο τα χαρακώματα. Ο αγώνας για την αυτονομία στο βόρειο Κουρδιστάν. | Lefteria

  2. Pingback: A vida atrás das trincheiras: a luita pola autonomia no Curdistam do Norte | Curdistam

  3. thefreeorg
    September 24, 2015

    Reblogged this on The Free.

  4. thefreeorg
    September 24, 2015

    reblogged this and previous post here:, with thanks.
    comment: Impressed by analysis in 1st post that Turkish State fears ‘autonomy model’ could spread also among non Kurdish opposition. I think this also helps international supporters of Rojava to also support the resistance in Mth Kurdistan.

  5. Pingback: “estos son los hijos de las personas asesinadas en los 90. | ONG AFRICANDO SOLIDARIDAD CON AFRICA

  6. Pingback: Turkish State Fascism And The Kurdish Revolution | The Rojava Report

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This entry was posted on September 20, 2015 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , .

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