We in North and East Syria continue the history of women’s struggle for this International Women’s Day March 8th. A struggle that we know is connected to all women around the world and throughout history. That is why this year we wanted to pay tribute to different revolutionary women in the world and to have them with us on this day. Here we look at the origins of International Women’s Day and the histories of the women in our poster for this March 8th.
Origins of International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day is celebrated every year on the 8th of March.
Linked to the fact that women’s struggles were taking place in different parts of the world, Clara Zetkin (German revolutionary) proposed at the Second International Conference of Socialist Women (1910) the celebration of a day of international struggle to demand women’s rights and to honour women’s struggle. Although at the beginning the date was set for March 19th, on February 23rd 2017 Russian women workers took to the streets in the heat of a strike under the slogan of “Bread, peace and work”, to demand an end to the war, rights as women, and dignified living conditions as workers. It was from this strike led by women that the Russian revolution began. Thus, this date (which in the Gregorian calendar corresponds to March 8) was adopted as International Women’s Day.
It is a day for us to celebrate the great achievements and accomplishments by women throughout history. It is a time for us to look back and appreciate how far we have come. From have been seen as second class citizens who were not allowed to vote, to be women who take their place in society and demand and fight for their rights and freedom. It is on this day that we celebrate all women, from all walks of life. No matter what differences we have, we all strive for the same goal: freedom.
Today we want to honor and remember some of the many women who have dedicated their lives to fight for womens rights, ecology and equality and who stood up and fought against inequality, sexism and the violence and oppression against women.
She was a Lenca indigenous human rights and environmental activist who dedicated her life to fight for social and environmental issues of the Lenca people. In 1993 she cofounded The National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisation of Honduras, the CCOPINH. She also protested against illegal logging, plantation owners and the presence of US military bases in Lenca land.
In 2016 Berta Cáceres was assassinated in her home.
Sara Handelmann, who went under the code name of Sara Dorshin, was born in 1985 in Germany. She joined the Kurdistan Liberation Movement to fight for equality and women’s rights. She fell martyr on the 7th of April 2019, during a the Turkish army air strike in the mountains of Kurdistan. Sara Dorshin took her place in the mountains among the guerrillas of YJA star, the Kurdish Free Women’s Army.
The Mirabal sisters
The Mirabal sisters were Dominican sisters known commonly as Patria, Minerva, Maria, who opposed the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo and were involved in clandestine activities against his regime.
Patria Mirabal was born on 27 February 1927, Minerva Mirabal was born on 12 March 1926, Maria Mirabal was born on 15 October 1936. The dictator Rafael Trujillo had the sisters killed on 25 November 1960. The Mirabal sisters have become symbols of popular and feminist resistance.
Hevrin Khalaf was born on 15 November 1984. She was a Kurdish-Syrian politician and civil engineer. She served as the Secretary General of the Future Syria Party. She died on 12 October 2019. She was killed by Turkish-backed Islamists.
Amara Renas was a Kurdish female fighter of YPJ. Her code name was Aziza Jalal. She was killed on 21 October 2019 by jihadists loyal to Turkey. She was murdered, and her body mutilated and abused by Turkish-backed forces while she was fighting against the Turkish occupation which started on 9th October.
Leyla Soylemez was born on 1st of January 1989 in Mersin, Bakur (North Kurdistan). She worked as an area manager of the PKK youth organisation. On the 9th of January she was assassinated in Paris, France.
Sakine Cansiz was born in 1958 in Tunceli, Bakur (North Kurdistan). She was one of the founding members of the PKK and the organisations first senior female member. She has been described as “ the most prominent and important female Kurdish activist.” Sakine Cansiz was assassinated in Paris on 9th of January 2013.
Fidan Dogan was born on the 17th of January 1982 in Elbistan, Bakur (North Kurdistan) She worked at the Kurdish information center in Paris. She was an activist for Kurdish rights and women’s rights. She was assassinated in Paris on 9th of January 2013.
Mariella Franco was born on 27th of July 1979 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She was a politician, feminist and human rights activist who fought for women rights and who spoke out against gender-based violence and police brutality. Mariella Franco was brutally murdered on the 14th of March 2018.
Daniela Carrasco was 36 year old Chilean street performer. On November 2019, she participated in a protest and was been arrested by the carabinesos police forces. Only a few hours after the police detained her she was found hanging in a park with signs of rape and tourture.
Aqeeda Osman was 53 years old kurdish woman from Rojava. She worked as an executive member of Kongra Star. She was actively involved in organising the women’s movement for a long time. On Sunday the 13th of October 2019 a convoy of civilians and journalists were going from Qamishlo to Serekaniye. Near Serekaniye the Turkish army targeted and bombed the convoy and killed eleven people, including Aqeeda Osman.