Today, 19 July 2020, is the 8th anniversary of the start of the Rojava Revolution in northern Syria.
On 19 July 2012, people took to the streets in Kobane, a predominantly Kurdish city in northern Syria, and declared their autonomy from the State.
Since then, a truly democratic system based on neighbourhood assemblies, co-operatives and direct democracy, with women’s freedom and an ecological framework at its heart, has been taking shape and has spread across all of the North and East of Syria.
What our world needs more than anything now are living, breathing examples that show us not only that a better world is possible, but give lessons in how to shape it and a belief that change is possible.
The world needs Rojava. And Rojava is under threat. We must raise our voices and join together in collective action to defend it. Today is a Global Day of Action in solidarity with North and East Syria, and people are taking to the streets all over the world, and taking photos in solidarity.
On 23rd June 2020, Zehra Berkel, a member of the co-ordination committee of Kongreya Star, and two other women were targeted by a Turkish drone strike as they met together in one of their houses in a village of Kobane in Syria. Zehra, as well as Amina Weysi, the 60 year old woman in whose house they were meeting, and women’s political activist Hebûn Mele Khelil were all killed.
Kongreya Star are the umbrella organisation of the Women’s Movement in North-East Syria, which also includes Aborîya Jin, the autonomous women’s economic structure and women’s co-op development body who are some of our main partners in the region. Their logos can be seen in the image above.
The targeted assassinations of the three women above are not isolated incidents. There have been an increase in the number of airstrikes and targeted assassinations by Turkey and Daesh [the ‘Islamic State’] in many parts of Kurdistan on a daily basis. Parts of Rojava – including Afrin, Serekaniye and Tel Abyad – are under occupation by Turkey, and there is a very real danger of further invasion and occupation. On the same day as the assassinations of Zehra, Amine and Hebûn, a Women’s House (Mala Jin) in was attacked by an explosion in Deir ez Zor. The Women’s Houses are centres for community restorative justice and defence of women’s rights.
The Solidarity Economy Association stand in solidarity with Kongreya Star, Aboriya Jin, co-operatives of North-East Syria, and all who struggle for freedom and a better life in Rojava and beyond. We call on all co-ops to join us in taking action.
Recently we began a fund to support vital water infrastructure and women’s co-operatives in the region. You can still donate to the #Water4Rojava Fund here. We also want to work together with other co-ops to build a base of support for the co-ops and people of North and East Syria, as well as to discuss ways we can learn from the Rojava Revolution, and make our own movements stronger and more liberatory.