Friends of Rojava in North America salute the women of the revolution

The Friends of Rojava in North America released a statement saluting the women of the Rojava Revolution on the occasion of International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2017.

The Friends of Rojava in North America released a statement saluting the women of the Rojava Revolution on the occasion of International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2017.

The full statement by the Friends of Rojava solidarity network is as follows;

"The Kurdish freedom movement has led one of the largest, most effective, and most inspiring feminist movements in the world. The successes of the women’s movements in northern Syria stand in stark contrast with the global trend of consolidating violent patriarchal power as we see in the United States, Russia, Turkey, and the areas controlled by ISIS.

In northern Syria, the feminist movement, despite immense obstacles, is putting its ideas for ending male domination into practice. We, the Friends of Rojava, reject the sexist Orientalism that would only recognize western men as the agents of progressive global change and that asserts that feminism and women’s empowerment are western imperialist constructs. We enjoy the solidarity that we share in the global movement for liberation, led by our feminist sisters in Syria.

The western press has been fascinated with the 10,000 women fighting on the front lines against ISIS in the Women's Protection Units (YPJ) militia, including a new militia of Yazidi women, liberated from ISIS’ sexual slavery by Kurdish-led forces. However, these journalists and commentators have either ignored what these women are fighting for, or stripped them of their revolutionary agency by characterizing their motivation as the “revenge of a woman scorned.” We honor the extraordinary courage and deep sacrifice of our sisters who have taken up arms in defense of the revolution.

Beyond the simple possession of a weapon, women in Rojava are engaged in a liberatory strategy of “self-defense” in the ideological, psychological, and physical sense. Women and men are engaged in a process of liberating society from the structures and habits of domination and exploitation of women, toward a public and private life characterized by participation, equality and mutual respect. While we admire all that has been accomplished thus far, we recognize that this process is on-going, never straightforward, and deserving of our continuing support.

The Rojava Revolution recognizes the centrality of women’s political power in achieving liberation for the entire society. Thus, the people of Rojava have established a system of autonomous women's self-governance. Women's councils have control over anything that they decide are women's issues and have veto power over the entire administration. Throughout the movement, all positions of leadership are shared by a man and woman, and all councils and movement structures must have at least 40% women. Women’s protection committees enforce new laws abolishing child marriages and violence in the home. The justice system is being replaced by reconciliation committees, which includes all-women committees that hear cases of violence against women. In addition to political power, women are gaining economic power through the development of women-led cooperatives.

Women’s empowerment is evident in all aspects of life.

In addition to the deadly threats these advances face from ISIS, Assad, and his renown misogynist allies, Rojava faces daily assault from the fascist Turkey state. In Turkey, revolutionary women also struggle for freedom to collectively control their own life, labor, and culture. Daily, women journalists and political leaders are imprisoned and tortured. The bodies of women activists are left naked in the street by the military, dozens are burned to death in basements, and elected female officials are replaced with male state appointees. Kurdish cities in Southern Turkey, where the greatest advances in women’s empowerment have been achieved, are placed under siege and military control. We are disgusted that the US and Europe, whose politicians claim to be forces for women’s equality in the globe, stand by their NATO ally Turkey as it eviscerates the human rights of women. In this international Dark Ages for women's rights and freedom, we salute the women of Rojava for their burning example which illuminates for the rest of us what our world could be like: a world of equality and respect, a world without gender oppression, rape, domestic violence, and disenfranchisement, a world where the ancient patriarchal structures are demolished by women's revolution. For this future, this new world, we are committed body and soul to fight alongside our sisters in Rojava and across the globe. May freedom's light reach us here, too.

Freedom and equality for women everywhere: Power to the People!"