The two weeks since the 9th of October have seen a full scale invasion and occupation of parts of North and East Syria. War crimes are still being committed, civilians targeted, women forced to cover themselves against their will, fallen YPJ fighters’ bodies desecrated, massacres permitted, as international powers condone the violence or do nothing.
Russia, the USA and NATO have effectively taken the same position on Turkish aggression. For all major world powers’ claims to be in conflict, from where we are standing their goals seem much the same. They are in complete agreement on the world they want to perpetuate. It is one where patriarchal violence rules, in all its forms, from violent misogynistic murder to occupation and colonialism.
The revolution of North and East Syria threatens to create a different world, to show an alternative is possible.
In these moments nation states and global institutions will come together, showing their true colours. Some do not bother to hide their fascism, others preach democracy and freedom but take no steps towards them.
Where does this leave North and East Syria? Where does this leave women of the world? Everyone who is fighting for freedom and for a different future?
It leaves us with each other, as the only allies we ever truly have and the only real allies we need. These are dark times, no one could deny that. But these days have also seen an outpouring of solidarity and power from every corner of the world. Women and people have come out for Rojava all across Europe, North and South America, and the Middle East. Love and rage has arrived from Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Africa, Morocco, India, Tunisia, Iceland, Malaysia, China, Argentina, Serbia, and Finland to name just a few of the farthest edges our web stretches to. And we know there is more to come.
Actions have ranged from writing letters, to demonstrations, to art, to direct action to shut down and destroy the global war machine, and everything in between.
Any positive steps that have been taken by global powers or institutions, such as the banning of weapons sales to Turkey, or condemning of the attacks, we of course welcome. But we know they are all a result of the pressure put on by the outrage and self defence of people fighting for freedom. Every one of these steps is a sign of our power and every action however small has contributed.
But the solidarity of the world is about much more than getting a response from powerful forces. It is part of the process of building a different future. Part of the process of ultimately defeating those forces, dismantling them and making them meaningless.
If there’s one thing the Kurdish freedom movement knows how to do, it’s how to build something beautiful and powerful out of something bleak. How to to find hope in darkness, and how to turn every attack of the enemy into power for the resistance. The Kurdish freedom movement is in part an act of revenge for those taken from us. We we will take revenge for any occupied lands of North and East Syria as well.
Revenge here does not mean more blood, it means to do the very thing our enemies are so afraid of. Build another future. And we need to do that across the whole world. North and East Syria is an important front line of the fight against the violences of capitalism, the nation state, colonialism, and patriarchy. We fully understand every act of solidarity is not made to “help” Rojava, but to join energy to that fight.
The relationships we are building now will not die, no matter what the next days and weeks bring. The anger created by this fascist occupation will only make us stronger. Not only in an ideological sense, but in the concrete realities of the links made and organisational base built up.
What our enemies do not understand is that we do not rely on holding onto seats of power, on certain buildings, or official symbols. There is no amount of territory they can occupy that can destroy the revolution, because it lives in the fight itself and in all our hearts. And more and more hearts are joining in this revolution.
Women of the world are rising up for Rojava and making connections, reaching out. Strands are connecting across the world, link by link, that build a huge web. Our love, our ideology, our struggles, flies across and lives in this web. Right now a new link is built every day, and the connections grow tighter and stronger even as the enemy advances.
We must defend Rojava, now more than ever. And we must not doubt that when we do it has meaning, and it will change all our futures.