"Women have an unlimited fighting strength"

"Women have to trust themselves and never doubt their strength. The biggest fight is in your own mind," say the guerrilla women of YJA-Star.

YJA-Star (Free Women's Troops) fighters Neval Tolhildan and Havin Zagros spoke to ANF about the role of women in armed struggle.

Neval Tolhildan says that women are always underestimated in the patriarchal system and regarded as not being able to fight. “However, - she adds - a look at history shows that women have played an important and leading role in armed struggle. As YJA-Star, we are fighting against the prevailing system in the mountains of Kurdistan. Our struggle is built on the legacy of Heval Bêrîtan and Zîlan.”

Neval Tolhildan tells: “In normal life, it is always claimed that women are too weak to go to war. In the PKK and PAJK, the will of women and their fighting strength have become clear. When it comes to ethical and aesthetic issues, as well as the details of the struggle, women's conscience and sense of justice are paramount. This shows the extent to which women take on a leading mission in fighting. Women have shown their strength in both urban struggles and in the mountains. Women can fight anywhere.”

The YJA-Star guerrilla continues: “Women are at the forefront of guerrillas. The idea that women have no place in the military has faltered with guerrilla warfare. There is no war in the nature of women, but under the current conditions of war against the people and against women, women feel a responsibility to participate in the war and defend themselves. As YJA-Star, our struggle is based on Abdullah Öcalan's philosophy, from which we draw our strength. Women have to trust themselves and never doubt their strength.”

Women fight for their rights

Guerrilla Havin Zagros believes that defending the people and nature is one of the most important activities for women: “The view that women have to raise children and keep the house clean has gradually fallen apart. This idea has been completely destroyed in the PKK. Women fight in the mountains out of free will and according to their own ethics. The biggest fight is in your own mind. The presence of women in the mountains is very important. Women have recognized their own strength in battle. We benefit from the women who fought before us. The YJA-Star continues to play a leading role in the fight. High sacrifices have been made for this. Abdullah Öcalan's ideology has made women feel more connected to life. They go to the mountains to fight for their rights.”

Guerrilla Zagros continues: “Nowadays women are present in all areas of life. Women worldwide believe that they are strong enough to do something for themselves. Kurdish women such as Arîn and Avesta in Rojava, Şirin Elemhuli in Rojhilat, Sara and Bêrîtan in Bakur contributed to this. Many internationalists have joined the revolutionary struggle in Rojava.”

Guerrilla Zagros adds: “In armed struggle, not only men, but also women can defend themselves and their people. The term 'military' is far too narrow for women. 'Guerrilla' fits much better because when we speak of 'guerrilla' we mean richness. Kurdish women in the 20th century had that richness, and there are examples of this everywhere in Kurdistan.”