Whose story is told?

For more than three weeks, I have been in Deir ez-Zor following, documenting and publishing information about the evacuation of civilians from Al-Baghouz, the last pocket of the fascist Daesh caliphate. These people have become a significant topic around the world. But who is coming out, how, and what does it mean? There are different…

Women and Self-Defense

“Statist, ruling hierarchical powers aim to eliminate the basis of society’s self-defense basis by applying violence and rendering the women as weak, passive and unable to think and create in various ways and means. This was the strategy of taking over the society.”

‘End tragedies against women and society’: how Rojava’s women’s movement responds to violence

Kongra Star, or the Star Congress, is the civilian women’s movement in Rojava. It fights patriarchal violence through legal and institutional change.

Liberating Life: Woman’s Revolution, Abdullah Öcalan

The 5000-year-old history of civilization is essentially the history of the enslavement of woman.

Building Democracy without the State

The Rojava revolution provides a historic opportunity to put the communalist model of Democratic Confederalism into practice.

The Rojava Revolution: Women’s Liberation as an Answer to the Kurdish Question

The all-female Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) manifest Democratic Confederalism in practice, not only in the battlefield, but in everyday life as well.

Why do they fight?

Based on the principle that "society can never be free without women's liberation", the women of Rojava battle patriarchy, racism, and all other forms of oppression every day. They fight to build feminist, ecological direct democracy in the midst of one of the world's most brutal and oppressive conflicts— a struggle they believe the whole world can learn from.

Why is the struggle so important?

The Syrian Civil War has killed hundreds of thousands of people and displaced millions more. It began as a popular uprising against an authoritarian state, and turned into a fight against some of the most brutal terrorist organizations the world has ever seen.

In the midst of this brutal conflict, Rojava is a place where hundreds of thousands of women and men are not only fighting against dire threats, but fighting for a better future. They struggle to transform society for all the peoples of the region.

Religious freedom, women's liberation, self-determination, and freedom from all forms of discrimination— these are among the many rights Rojava guarantees to its people. These rights were not externally granted, but defended through struggle and resistance.

The women of Rojava have played a pivotal role in defending and expanding these freedoms. Their resistance made the revolution what it is today.

Defeating Oppression

The Syrian government provided some legal protections and freedoms for women, but they were not enough. Before the revolution, male violence against women often went unpunished. Kurdish women— and women from other minority communities— faced both gender-based and ethnic or religious-based oppression. Despite this, they organized in secret, risking persecution, incarceration, and torture.

The Rojava Revolution allowed women's organizations to operate more freely. However, this development was soon followed by the rise of ISIS– which raped, murdered, and enslaved women and girls across Iraq and Syria. The YPJ, founded in 2013, played a key role in decisive battles against ISIS. Its successes, from Kobane to Raqqa, showed how armed and organized women could defeat the most brutal terrorists, and build societies for free women in newly liberated areas.

Building A New Life

"Women took part in the revolution and after that they had to go back to their kitchens. For that reason we put freedom of women at the center of our document.”  This is how Ilham Ehmed, co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council, described the lessons that Rojava's women learned from past struggles.

Women in Rojava work every day to build a new society where they can participate fully in political, economic, and social life. Through guaranteed gender parity in popular assemblies and leadership positions, safe houses for at-risk women and children, economic communes, and other institutions, they are building a framework that all women in Syria can implement and adapt. Through changes to legal codes regulating marriage, divorce, and personal status, they are working to ensure equal status under the law, in a society where such protections are rare. This struggle has continued, and will continue, longer after territory is liberated from dictators and terrorists.

Self-Determination

The revolution in Rojava does not seek to create a state. Rather, having learned from the failures of nation-states in the Middle East, and understanding the diversity of Syria— a country home to Arabs, Kurds, Assyrians, Armenians, Yezidis, and other peoples— it seeks to overcome the nation-state through democratic confederalism. When dictators and terrorists exploit ethnic and sectarian tensions to promote war, Rojava promotes peace through pluralism, self-determination, and coexistence. Women, oppressed by these forces for both their gender and their religion or culture, play a key role in building and maintaining this system. The struggle for women's freedom, then, is also a struggle for tolerance, justice, and coexistence. 

Whose story is told?

February 27, 2019

For more than three weeks, I have been in Deir ez-Zor following, documenting and publishing information about the evacuation of civilians from Al-Baghouz, the last pocket of the fascist Daesh caliphate. These people have become a significant topic around the world. But who is coming out, how, and what does it mean? There are different…

Şopdarên Rojê YPJ YPG

Women and Self-Defense

November 1, 2018

“Statist, ruling hierarchical powers aim to eliminate the basis of society’s self-defense basis by applying violence and rendering the women as weak, passive and unable to think and create in various ways and means. This was the strategy of taking over the society.”

Women's Revolution in Rojava

‘End tragedies against women and society’: how Rojava’s women’s movement responds to violence

October 30, 2018

Kongra Star, or the Star Congress, is the civilian women’s movement in Rojava. It fights patriarchal violence through legal and institutional change.

Şopdarên Rojê ypj ypg

Liberating Life: Woman’s Revolution, Abdullah Öcalan

August 24, 2018

The 5000-year-old history of civilization is essentially the history of the enslavement of woman.

Şopdarên Rojê ypj ypg

Building Democracy without the State

August 12, 2018

The Rojava revolution provides a historic opportunity to put the communalist model of Democratic Confederalism into practice.

Şopdarên Rojê ypj ypg

The Rojava Revolution: Women’s Liberation as an Answer to the Kurdish Question

August 12, 2018

The all-female Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) manifest Democratic Confederalism in practice, not only in the battlefield, but in everyday life as well.

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