Women of Rojava building a free society

Women of Rojava building a free society

Kurdish women in Rojava intend to build a new society in the political, economic, social and diplomatic areas as well. Just like in all parts of the region and the Middle East, the freedom struggle of women has been led by Kurdish women in Syria and Rojava, as well.

The long-lasting and challenging struggle of Kurdish women, for which they have paid great prices, have led to the creation of a great organization as well as the establishment of a democratic society.

The history of the organized struggle of women in Lebanon, Rojava and Syria began years ago at the Syrian territory. They carried out significant works in the areas of life, society and philosophy within the period of 20 years.

The development of the women struggle also made great contributions to the women’s struggle in Rojava which began in 1980’s and advanced on the basis of the slogan “the freedom of society hinges upon the freedom of women” like in other parts of the region. Women in Rojava who took part in the Union of Patriotic Women of Kurdistan, which was established in Europe in 1987, took significant steps in Rojava about the “love of country, women’s self-respect and organization”. Their works led to the participation of a number of women in the struggle. 90’s in Roajava witnessed serious developments in terms of women’s liberation and a remarkable increase in the number of women who joined the struggle. As a consequence of their struggle, women proved themselves in both their organization and the society. Women in Rojava gave a liberation struggle in all areas in the region till 2000’s. From 80’s to 2000’s, around 300 women from Rojava lost their life in the struggle.

They went through challenging times, but achieved numerous developments in political, cultural and social areas. They gave a particular fight against the Ba’ath regime’s denial and destruction policy and its reactionary social mindset which disregarded women. They carried out their struggle secretly till 1995, in all villages, towns, districts, neighborhoods and streets. The forces of the Ba’ath regime not only arrested them with the help of its supporters, but also subjected them to physical and psychological torture, intending to break their will.

The women of Rojava expanded their struggle despite all the attacks and obstacles they faced. They took significant steps in terms of organization in 2000’s. They started to lead a mass struggle by establishing their specific organization within the Democratic Union Party (PYD) which was founded in 2003. They on the other hand continued their works for building their own organization. Following intense works and debates, they held their first congress on 15 January 2005 when they declared the establishment of Yekitiya Star, the first organization of women in Rojava. At this conference, they took a decision to carry out organizational works in Syria and Lebanon in addition to Rojava. As they carried out works in line with their decision, the regime increased its repressions and attacks more and more, arresting and dozens of their leading staff and other patriotic women some of whom disappeared in custody.

Yekitiya Star secretly held its second congress in Qamislo in 2007 and in Aleppo in 2008, again secretly carried out all its works till the revolution process which began in 2011. Besides the West Kurdistan Women’s Council and the committees of peace, law, press and peace mothers, it established women councils in the Syrian cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Rakka and Haseki despite all the obstacles. With the beginning of the revolution process, Yekitiya Star held its third congress in Qamislo, in mass and in the open in 2011. The public works it led after this congress led to a great advancement in terms of institutionalization in all areas of life, which has enabled them to be the leading factor in the construction of a new system today. It opened 15 training centers and two academies for women and formed social committees in many areas. While forming the union of young women, the women in Rojava on the other hand achieved a specific organization in People’s Defense Units (YPG), declaring the establishment of the battalions of women so far.

One of the most significant achievement by the movement of women in Rojava has been their works for enabling the unity of Syrian women. The Initiative of Syrian Women, which was established in this context, held a number of talks and meetings before it decided to hold a congress with the participation of women from all ethnic groups in the country. Besides the works for national unity and dialogues with women’s organizations in other parts of the region, women in Rojava attended the international women’s conference in Hewler. Their preparations are currently underway for the Middle East Women’s Conference which will take place in the forthcoming period. Grounding its purpose on the “construction of a democratic transformation and a free society in Syria and Rojava”, Yekitiya Star regards “Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Leader Abdullah Öcalan as the builder and leader of freedom.” It bases on the philosophy of a democratic, ecological, gender-libertarian society.

Hediye Yusuf, an executive of Yekitiya Star which has organized mass activities for 8 March in all cities of Rojava this year, evaluates the current process as a “significant step on the way to freedom”. Yusuf remarks that women in Rojava have proven their existence as a result of the great struggle they have given and great prices they have paid so far, and adds that they are now leading the construction of a democratic society.

On March 10th, 2013, posted in: KJKONLINE, KJK Agenda by