Women take to the streets across North-East Syria: “Jin, Jiyan, Azadî"
In the autonomous region of North and East Syria, numerous people took to the streets on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to send a strong signal against misogyny and patriarchal claims to power.
In the autonomous region of North and East Syria, numerous people took to the streets on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women to send a strong signal against misogyny and patriarchal claims to power. "Against all forms of violence and occupation: Jin, Jiyan, Azadî" was the motto of the demonstrations, which were organised by an alliance of women's organisations and institutions.
In Qamishlo, thousands of people took part in a march through the city. Many participants carried banners with inscriptions such as "No to femicide" and "Jin, Jiyan, Azadî" as well as banners with pictures of leading figures in the struggle for equal rights for women and martyrs of the Kurdish liberation struggle. The photos of Sakine "Sara" Cansız, Arîn Mîrkan and Abdullah Öcalan were displayed by the crowd, as well those of as Jina Mahsa Amini. Many people also waved the flag of the women's umbrella organisation Kongra Star.
The demonstration culminated in a rally on the central Şehîd Rûbar Qamişlo Square. Speakers included Remziye Mihemed from the Kongra Star coordination organization, who emphasised the importance of responding to patriarchal violence with organised struggle, saying: "We must unite and organise and fight all forms of violence in order to be free. This is the only way to overcome patriarchy and occupation."
In Raqqa, Zenûbiya Women's Community organised a demonstration together with the Syrian Women's Council, in which hundreds of people took part, including many activists and actors from political, military and civil society institutions. The march started in front of the Children’s Hospital in Raqqa and ended at the Square of the Free Woman. The town is notorious for the crimes committed by the jihadist militia ISIS, which proclaimed Raqqa the capital of the "ISIS caliphate" in 2014 and imposed a reign of terror based on the Salafist interpretation of Sharia law.
In the Free Woman Square, which was renamed after the liberation of Raqqa in 2017, ISIS had operated a "slave market". Bêrîvan Xalid, Co-Chair of the Executive Council of the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), recalled this in a speech and said: "This square is witness to numerous crimes committed by ISIS against women. Today and every year on 25 November, we remember and renew our promise to all women that our struggle will continue until all women are liberated." After the demonstration, Zenûbiya and the Syrian Women's Council opened the "Park of the Free Woman", which is located on the site of the old ISIS slave market.
In Kobanê, too, many people took to the streets to denounce patriarchal gender relations and express their anger at violence against women. In a speech about the women's liberation struggle, Macida Hesun from the local branch of Kongra Star focused on the influence of Abdullah Öcalan, the founder of the Kurdish liberation movement. "Abdullah Öcalan rightly pointed out that the liberation of society is impossible without the liberation of women. The Rojava Revolution was built on the foundation of this ideology of women's liberation, so it has a firm basis."
The programme continued with a performance by the cultural movement Hîlala Zêrîn and the group Şehîd Sakine. With this impressive performance, the actresses and activists expressed their anger about femicide. The play, which was performed on the street, aims to put an end to the patriarchal normality and will also be performed at other events in the near future.
Hundreds staged a march in Manbij, after which a press statement was made, saluting the struggle of women against the crimes of the Turkish state forces and allied mercenaries in the occupied territories.
Hundreds of women and residents of the Hesekê Canton participated in a march to mark 25 November. Speaking at the rally that followed the march, Kongra Star Coordination Spokesperson Rihan Loqo said: “Our gathering here and our solidarity committed to Leader Abdullah Öcalan’s philosophy and ideas shows the power of women in Rojava and the fact that they will be victorious in their resistance.”
Cizire Region Executive Council Co-Chair Vivian Beho Osê highlighted the importance of women’s unity. After speeches, members of the Hilala Zêrin movement in Hesekê staged a play about violations of women’s rights.
Kongra Star organised a march in the self-governing Sheikh Maqsoud neighborhood, which was attended by thousands of women, members of NGOs, HPC (Women's Civil Defense Forces) and Internal Security Forces.
Democratic Union Party (PYD) General Assembly member Velentîna Ebdo said: “The Turkish state and mercenary allies attack our territories, targeting our pioneers. The goal of the attacks is to break the will of women. They can’t achieve it because we enhance our struggle and we fight to free ourselves from the savagery of hegemonic systems.”
Kongra Star Academy Administrator Muna Kibik pointed out that women could not make this much advance if it was not for the Kurdistan Freedom Movement and Leader Abdullah Öcalan.
Women in the Shehba Canton staged a march from the Ehdas district centre to the Şehit Viyan Amara Academy. Speaking after, PYD Shehba and Afrin Canton member Sureya Mistefa spoke about the achievements of women and the great changes they have made in North-East Syria.
Elif Mihemed, member of the Kongra Star Coordination in Shehba and Afrin Cantons, said: “Leader Öcalan states that the freedom of women is the freedom of society. The building of a society based on co-existence and equality started with the Autonomous Administration, and it is expanding. Women have made major gains and now they have a place in all areas of life.”
Zenubiya Women’s Community in Deir ez-Zor organised a series of activities to mark 25 November, which concluded with a march on Saturday.
Zenubiya Women’s Community member Îxlas El Ehmed said: “Women have learned not to surrender to attacks. They organised against the repressive system and responded strongly against all forms of violence.”