On the occasion of the 8th anniversary of the Rojava Revolution ANF-News interviewed YPJ General Commander Newroz Ehmed. She made it clear above all that the Rojava Revolution had shown the power of the population and women. The original interview was published in Kurdish here.
Under which conditions did the revolution take place and what stages did it go through?
A revolutionary initiative had begun in 2010-2011. People had reacted to the existing crisis of the system which they could not tolerate anymore. In particular, we witnessed the revolts of the Arab people in the process called the Arab Spring. The peoples did not tolerate the persecution that was apparent to them anymore. The protests developed in waves. The Kurdish people was also one of the peoples who experienced these difficulties, and were left face to face with genocides in every sense. Thus the Kurdish people joined this wave of uprising. The Kurdish people wanted to fight for their freedom. The situation was very challenging. The only strength the people had wash that they were organized and adapted themselves to the revolution with a sense of freedom. Women in particular filled the squares. The 21st century is the women’s century and this was clearly seen. What makes ours different from other revolutions is the desire to fight for self-determination and freedom, the awareness, development and struggle to ensure the participation of all peoples. we created this popular revolution with our own means. There were forces that wanted to intervene in this revolution, but they were not allowed to do so. Here Arab, Circassian, Assyrian, Syriac, Armenian and Kurdish people lived together for years, this place is a mosaic of different peoples, so these peoples became one united by the desire to live together in brotherhood. The fragmentation pursued and implemented by the Syrian system to divide peoples was eliminated with this revolution.
The Rojava Revolution developed under the leadership of women, the world looks at this revolution in this way… How do you assess this idea of a “revolution within the revolution”?
Since the Rojava Revolution is a revolution led by women, it is also called the women’s revolution. Because it is a revolutionary reality that women were leading in every field. With the love of freedom step by step, we faced all the difficulties, resisted, stood upright, to break the chains of slavery, which were assumed for thousands of years, and to gain freedom. This level of awareness increased with each step taken over time. The YPJ participation influenced the whole society. Women showed that they were able to stand strongly in all areas. For this reason, not only the system of the state has been destroyed with this revolution, but the feature of being a revolution within the revolution showing the women’s strength became clear. Women are involved in political, social, diplomatic, economic and military fields, and everyone can clearly see this. Women are in every area of the society with their views and ideas and in this way we reached the democratic, ecological and free-woman based life.
When the Turkish occupation of Serêkaniyê and Girê Sipî took place, the peoples of the world showed a powerful reaction. What is your comment on that?
Revolutionary women fought everywhere and were faced with attacks. In 2014, the YPJ forces came out against the attacks of the ISIS mercenaries in Shengal and fought against these attacks until the end. Of course, the world also witnessed this. It was a fight for the whole humanity, everyone saw it. The brave resistance of women encouraged everyone. Since the invading Turkish army could not accept this revolution and the resisting women, it launched an invasion attack with no justification. However, the unity of the peoples, their standing up together meant they established their own army without any support from any state. Comrade Hevrin Xelef, Aqîde Ana and comrade Amara, as well as many commanders and internationalists joined this revolution from all over the world. This resistance was possible thanks to the people who sacrifice everything for freedom. Although the Turkish army has occupied some of our areas, it has not been able to occupy the will of women and peoples and their power of resistance: This is the biggest answer to occupation.
Today, Rojava lands are being attacked by the Turkish state. What are you doing against it and at what level are your preparations?
Of course, we achieved many gains in this revolution. Of course, women defense forces will not give up the gains achieved with their people. The Turkish invasion continues to threat and attack Rojava, South and North Kurdistan. We, the women’s defense forces act with awareness. Our people should act with this awareness. We are preparing in many ways. Our people have experienced much pain in these past processes. Despite these difficulties, sufferance and the price they had to pay, our people did not step back, they had always been beside us. They were always with us in a spiritual and material way.
Our call is to protect the dignity and resistance of our people. We are grateful for the efforts of our martyrs and veterans, and we pay respect to the martyrs’ families. We promise to fight to the end for a free, equal and democratic society.