Efrîn's Roma community also takes a seat in Democratic Federation
With the communal elections of Northern Syria Democratic Federal System, the Roma community in Efrîn witnessed an event of historic proportion. A representative of the Roma community in Koçera Quarter was elected Co-chair of the Martyr Dilovan Community.
The Roma people who live in Efrîn's Koçera Quarter for about 50 years and refused to integrate into the former Baathist system despite all the efforts of the regime, joined the federal system since the very beginning of the Rojava Revolution with all their heart and mind.
Efrîn's Roma community that participated in the communal elections on September 22 took for the first time in the history of Syria an active part in the elections and had their representative elected the commune's Co-chair.
ANF paid a visit to the Koçera Quarter and gave an ear to its residents, who were thrilled with excitement because of the election. Co-chair of the Martyr Dilovan Commune Murteza Hacî Kamber and inhabitants of the neighbourhood explained what this election meant to them.
Residents of the quarter assured to take a share in the defensive fight in case of a possible attack on the Democratic Federal System.
THE KOÇERAN NEIGHBOURHOOD IN EFRÎN
The Roma community in Efrîn lives in two quarters, one of them is in Ashrafiyah neighbourhood and the other in Zîdiyê neighbourhood, both of which are the Koçera Quarter. The name of the quarter derives from its residents, as Efrîn's Roma community refer to themselves as 'Koçer' (migrants).
The Roma people living in Koçera Quarter are said to have migrated from Batman and Elazığ to Efrîn 50 years ago following of a blood feud and settled in this quarter. They tell that there was another Roma quarter in the Ashrafiyah neighbourhood.
DESPITE ALL REPRESSIONS THEY DID NOT INTEGRATE INTO THE BAATHIST SYSTEM
Inhabitants of the Koçera Quarter never integrated into the system of the Baathist regime. If asked about the regime's era, they answer that because they were Kurds and Koçer the regime exerted much oppression and force on them and said: "We could not sit in our homes with ease, they used to raid our homes and take us with them. They wanted to disperse our neighbourhood because we were not like them, we were not Arabs and we did not conform to their system. We were Kurds and Koçer at the same time."
SHARED SYMPATHY FOR ÖCALAN AND THE REVOLUTION
Residents of the Koçera Quarter are engaged in the Rojava Revolution since 2011.
Everyone we spoke to expressed their love and sympathy for Kurdish People's Leader Abdullah Öcalan and said: "If it was not for Leader Apo, we would be caught up in misery. Since the very beginning we partook in the revolution. We have given martyrs. We are seated in the YPG and the Asayîsh police force. We even have some guerrillas in the mountains."
EFRÎN'S KURDS SUPPORT THE KOÇERA PEOPLE
The Roma community in Koçera Quarter are very happy to be part of the Northern Syria Democratic Federal System and are convinced that the Democratic Federation will be victorious.
Murteza Hacî Kamber, representative of the Koçera who are partaking in elections for the first time in their lives, has been elected Co-chair of the Martyr Dilovan Commune on September 22.
The communal election for this commune resulted in a draw level between Kamber and a Kurdish candidate, but the Kurdish candidate withdrew so that the representative of the commune was one of the Koçera community. Efrîn's Kurds seek to have also the Koçera community represented in the new system.
Murteza Hacî Kamber, Co-chair of the commune said: "We believe that we will do our job well and take hold of all our rights in the federal system. We were subject to much oppression in the course of Syria's history. We were not able to sit in our own homes with ease. When we slept they stormed our homes and threw us into prisons. Thank God that we are now able to speak the Kurdish language freely, we are also present in the Asayish force. Arabs, Kurds and many others, we all are living together.”
"WE ARE PREPARED TO DEFEND THE FEDERATION"
The Koçera residents shared the following views of theirs with us;
Kazim Dede: "We are ready to do whatever we can. If it is war, let it be so. If it requires fighting, I myself will take up arms and go to war. Until now I was always the victim. But now, what else could we wish for! We are blissful and we have a free homeland now."
Saniye Bahrî: "If our commune works well, also our country will work well. Our enemies shall go down. Syria oppressed us, only because we spoke Kurdish they beat us and imprisoned us."
Hanim Dede: "We are happy, we all Kurds are united. I hope that the Syrian people will not suffer any badness. We are one with the Kurds in Turkey and Syria as well. Erdoğan shall not bother himself with us, we are doing fine."
Dêwar Şêxo: "We are happy to have a Co-chair of the commune. We are all companions. We are contented and happy with our federal system. The federal system is my freedom and the freedom of Leader Apo."
Ramazan Bayram: "I congratulate our people. This is a very beautiful development for us. We cherish it like life itself."