An emplacement where humanity comes together
After Kobanê, Til Hemis, Til Beraq, Shaddadi, Ayn Îsa, Girê Spî, Tishrin, Manbij, Tabqa... The more the People's Defence Units (YPG) is striking a blow, the more the embodiment of evil, ISIS is falling apart.
The stories of most of them, who betook themselves to the Kurdish freedom struggle, begins with the Revolution of Kobanê. This legendary resistance against the barbarity of ISIS has become a beacon of hope for millions of people. Throughout 134 days a shower of bullets and shells were fired non stop on Kobanê. But at the end, the free will and the people graced with justice, prevailed. And humanity's eyes were resting on it. Some hoped for their beloved ISIS to defeat Kobanê. And again others, whose hearts were aching, found no rest as they partook in this resistance' aspiration. Triumph belonged to Kobanê, humanity prevailed and from then on a new chapter was opened.
With Kobanê's resistance, hundreds of people from the western hemisphere headed to the war against ISIS, to join in this struggle on behalf of humanity and become a part of the Rojava Revolution. Following Kobanê, Til Hemis, Til Beraq, Shaddadi, Ayn Îsa, Girê Spî, Tishrin, Manbij, Tabqa... Every blow the YPG dealt, the epitome of evil, ISIS was more and more mouldering away. Europe was still not ready to pay the bill for its hypocrisy. Those beautiful people on the contrary, took action that suited the peoples' dignity.
The United Kingdom is selling an enormous arsenal of weapons to the backer of ISIS, Erdoğan and making bargains with him. Yet some Britons have gone to Rojava to fight alongside the Kurds against ISIS.
The United States is trying to not tread on their ally's foot, but young Americans have positioned themselves without hesitance among the ranks of the YPG.
The German government, which has remained indifferent towards all the scandalous transgressions of Erdoğan for the sake of 'commerce', 'trade money' and the 'future of their economy', has on top of all banned the symbols and flags of the YPG/YPJ. Still some German activists decided to chase away that dark and black cloud where it has evolved.
Switzerland does not even have the courage to give a single statement, whereas young Swiss have headed to the frontlines in Rojava.
Spain is following its bloody and callous heritage, but young Hispanics are charging this very moment ISIS as part of the International Freedom Battalion.
Numbers can not count these beautiful and lovely European souls, who at times are also called 'foreigners' and have even sacrificed their lives for the prettiness and splendidness of humanity.
Their faces shining with laughter
On Raqqa's frontline, Britons, American, Germans, Hispanics and Swiss are sitting side by side in the same emplacement. I went to their position, which they had set up by sand and stones stacked on top of each other. Their faces were laughing brightly, they were now where they dreamed to be since the first day. Their fingers were holding the triggers and their arms were aimed at ISIS gangs. 23 years old Egid from the UK, 24 years old Arya from Spain, 31 years old Robin from Germany and 39 years old Çiyager from Switzerland. Standing in their emplacement, they opened up their hearts to me.
Why are they in Rojava?
Egid: Three months have passed since I first joined the YPG. What motivated me was to fight against ISIS and support the Rojava Revolution. I regard this effort to build a democratic nation as very important. The Rojava Revolution can become an alternative model for the entire world. For that reason I wanted to contribute also my share to the Rojava Revolution.
Arya: I wanted to become a part of the democratic civil revolution, that's why I am here. The fight against ISIS is a necessity as to realize it. ISIS must be effaced from this world, and in history books must be written that ISIS never had any connection to humanity whatsoever.
Robin: To be honest, the primary source for me to come here was my pure hatred towards ISIS. But after I came to know the Kurdish people better, I have gone beyond that. To become a backer of the Kurdish people's struggle and support them as much as I can, there is no need for ISIS. Until the Kurds live in their lands in peace, I will always be there for them as a sincere fighter.
Çiyager: The fight against ISIS. Yes my main target for now is that indeed. I want to destroy them.
What does Raqqa mean to you?
Egid: It is the symbolic capital of ISIS. Even though they have moved it some time ago to Deir ez-Zor, Raqqa is still used as their capital. The SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) will herald the fall of ISIS to the world with the liberation of Raqqa.
Arya: Raqqa has truly become a symbol. The victory we will achieve here will finish ISIS off once and for all and also end its symbolism. The SDF's target is not only to liberate Raqqa or other areas, but to build up a free society at the same time. After the liberation of Raqqa in military terms, the even more meaningful civil and political work to establish brotherhood among all peoples and manifest democracy will be launched.
Robin: The very centre, from where bomb attacks in Europe had been planned and organized was Raqqa itself. Liberating Raqqa will also put an end to this. This place is for me personally very important. We are very close to smash the head of the snake.
Çiyager: This is a revolutionary movement, and within a revolution all efforts are of great relevancy. But Raqqa is still slightly more important. As here the everlasting pillars of the revolution will be set in stone. As also Robin already said, we will give the death blow to the snake that has plagued humanity. Dreaming of such a victory is also very exciting.
What view do the states hold?
Egid: England must come to know free Rojava. England needs to support Rojava materially, after the defeat of ISIS. However, those who come here and fight are getting criminalized on their returning. This stance against those very persons who have fought ISIS, which has soaked Paris, London and Brussels with bomb attacks in blood, can not be understood. We are fighting here against the worst terrorists ever walking on earth, but still some of our friends who returned home are treated like 'terrorists'.
The second point is, that the relation Theresa May is nurturing with the Turkish state is very annoying. I am not some fervent leftist or communist, but I give my support to Ceremy Corbyn. At least I trust him to put an end to the dirty weapon deal between England and Turkey.
Arya: In Spain the issue of the returnees is a double-sided one. On the one hand, they do not do anything against some of our comrades at all and on the other hand they throw some others into prison on charges of being 'terrorists' instantly. It is not clear with what particular eye Spain is viewing the YPG. But on the question 'what does Spain think of a Kurdish autonomy', I can say for certain: Spain does not think anything of it, it does not have even an own opinion. Spain is totally indifferent.
Robin: I am not very well aware of Germany's policy towards the Middle East and its approach towards Rojava, but what I do know for sure is that it does not support it whatsoever. If it had given some support, the situation would not have ended like this. When we return, it would not have us labelled 'terrorists'. And it would not close an eye to the activities of the instigators of ISIS in Germany. I know all this and am very disgusted. Germany is an old and close ally of the Turkish state, forging also immense weapon deals with Turkey. At the same time I feel ashamed. The ban of the YPG/YPJ symbols is cause for shame.
Çiyager: I do not know whether the police will start an investigation against me when I return home. I do not know if I will get punished. It is not pleasant, but I guess they will prosecute me.
Do you have a message to those living in Europe?
Egid: Do everything in your power you can do for Rojava.
Arya: This struggle is a societal one. Those living in diaspora might not be here in person, but there is still very much they can do in Europe. Whatever they can do, they shall do. The people in Europe need to support Rojava politically, economically and morally.
Robin: I have an account on social media where I regularly receive messages. People keep saying that they regret not to be in Rojava. I can say this to them: If you can not come, just do not watch it silently. I recommend you to do for Rojava all you can while in Europe.
Çiyager: Continue your struggle, we do it here, you do it there. We will fight against fascism at all places and equality based on libertarian democracy will prevail.
* This article by Erem Kansoy first appeared on Yeni Özgür Politika newspaper and was translated by ANF English service.