WOMEN’S ALLIANCE FOR KURDISTAN, IRAQ AND SYRIA: NEWS BRIEFING JUNE 2018


https://peaceinkurdistancampaign.com/activities/womens-alliance-for-kurdistan-iraq-and-syria/

* The first 5 items in this news bulletin are contributions from members of the recently-returned Women’s Delegation to Rojava, detailing different aspects of their visit.

#WomenRiseUpForAfrin

It is our political responsibility to ensure that the Rojava experiment does not end, so that it does not lend itself to yet another defeatist narrative that inequality and capitalist greed are part of human nature. No. Rojava shows us the beauty of life when it is lived co-operatively; when we grow the food we need and live in harmony with our surroundings, when we respect all ethnicities and give them equal say in a truly democratic society, when we put women in equal charge of our destinies.

Another world is not only possible, it is here. But this world is struggling to take breath. We have to keep it alive for all of our sakes. Even if it is simply to refresh and reconfigure our own struggles. This is our revolution too.  Rahila Gupta March 2018


1. Building a new society against all odds: Scots activist tells of the hopes and challenges facing Kurds in Syria
2. Afrin and Manbif- A Tale of two Cities
3. Remembering Rojava
4. Speech by Julie Ward MEP at European Parliament: On return from Rojava with Women’s Delegation.
5. Julie Ward MEP and Sarah Glynn interviewd by ANF about the Women’s Delegation to Rojava.
6. One year in the Internationalist Commune of Rojava
7. The Revolution is Female
8. Jin War – The Rojava village built by women, for women
9. Kurdish women protest after being told by Turkish-backed militias to wear the Hijab
10. World failing Yazidi women forced into sex slavery – charity head
11. Documentary on YPJ commander premiers at Sheffield documentary festival .
Commander Arian.
12. Girls of the Sun review – Heavy-handed story of Kurdish women fighters
13. Kurdish female fighters film ‘Girls of the Sun’ sparks furious Cannes row
14. Ballad for Syria. Film.
15. Witch, slut, child murderer – Shaming and other tools of patriarchy
16. New Book Out: A Road Unforeseen – Women Fight the Islamic State

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1. Building a new society against all odds: Scots activist tells of the hopes and challenges facing Kurds in Syria
22 May/Common Space
SARAH GLYNN of Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan was part of a women’s delegation to Northern Syria earlier this month, where she witnessed firsthand the Kurdish women’s commitment to rebuilding the war-torn region, even as threats and instability continue on all sides.
https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/12790/building-new-society-against-all-odds-scots-activist-tells-hopes-and-challenges

2. Afrin and Manbif- A Tale of two Cities
3 June/Bella Caledonia
Earlier this year, the world learnt briefly about a place called Afrîn. There was even a discussion in the House of Commons, though with no motion and no vote. And the BBC was forced to interrupt its coverage of the fight between Assad’s government forces and militant Islamists in Eastern Ghouta to take note of what they termed ‘Syria’s other battle’. But once Afrîn city had been captured by the Turkish army and the jihadi militias with which it is aligned, Afrîn became old news, and quickly forgotten.
https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2018/06/03/afrin-and-manbij-a-tale-of-two-cities/

3. Remembering Rojava
15 June/Linkedin
The legal system very much mirrors the political structure, which is to say that there are fora for the discussion and resolution of legal problems almost from street level upwards. The system is overwhelmingly based on consensual restorative law and mediation; the emphasis is firmly on rehabilitation of offenders rather than retribution, and it seems entirely to lack the adversarial basis of legal practice in the common law world. It is also somewhat difficult to get one’s head around when one has grown up, trained and practised entirely in an adversarial common law background.
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/remembering-rojava-katherine-finn

4. Speech by Julie Ward MEP at European Parliament: On return from Rojava with Women’s Delegation.
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+CRE+20180530+ITEM-026+DOC+XML+V0//EN&language=en&query=INTERV&detail=3-612-000
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/plenary/EN/vod.html?mode=chapter&vodLanguage=EN&startTime=20180530-20:03:02-903#

5. Julie Ward MEP and Sarah Glynn interviewd by ANF about the Women’s Delegation to Rojava.
http://anfnews.tv/media/rojava-baska-bir-duenyann-muemkuen-oldugunu-goeste

http://anfnews.tv/media/ward-efrinliler-doenebilmeli

6. One year in the Internationalist Commune of Rojava
12 June/Internationalist Commune
Dear friends,
One year ago, 12th of June 2017, we shared the first public statement of the Internationalist Commune of Rojava, presenting our project to the world. Also 12th of June is the birthday of Anna Campbell, şehid Helin Qereçox, who give name to the first Internationalist Academy of Rojava.
Today, after one year of non stop working, we look back and see the big steps we have achieved in this year.
https://internationalistcommune.com/one-year-in-the-internationalist-commune-of-rojava/

7. The Revolution is Female
20 May/Internationalist Commune
Thinking and writing about the issue of women, means calling into question all of history and society. The reason for this is the unprecedented scale of the systematic exploitation of women.
From this viewpoint, the history of civilisation can be defined as the history of women’s losses. During the course of this history – the history of God and his servants, of Lords and serfs, of Industry, Science and Art – man’s patriarchal personality established itself. This was a loss to society as a whole; the outcome was a sexist society.
https://internationalistcommune.com/the-revolution-is-female/

8. Jin War – The Rojava village built by women, for women
31 May/Rudaw News
JIN WAR, Syria – The Kurdish women of Rojava have gained international fame for their strength and determination as they fight on the frontlines in the war against ISIS.
But in a country that has suffered under seven years of brutal conflict, many women have lost husbands and children, and are left with young children and no land or house.
A group of women, with the support of UN bodies and women organizations in the self-autonomous region, are building an all-female village – Jin War, meaning Woman’s Land.
http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/310520183

9. Kurdish women protest after being told by Turkish-backed militias to wear the Hijab
14 June/The Independent
Turkish-backed jihadi militiamen, who seized the Kurdish enclave of Afrin in northern Syria earlier this year, have put up posters carrying instructions about obedience to sharia law beside the outline of a woman wearing a full niqab – a black garment shrouding the body and face.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/kurdish-woman-hijab-protest-turkey-militia-force-a8399206.html

10. World failing Yazidi women forced into sex slavery – charity head
5 June/KNN channel
The world is failing Yazidi women forced into sex slavery by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, with 3,000 still unaccounted for, according to the head of a charity dedicated to helping survivors recover from their horrific experiences.
https://www.knnc.net/en/Details.aspx?jimare=105

11. Documentary on YPJ commander premiers at Sheffield documentary festival. Commander Arian
11 June/The Region
The premiere was introduced by Catalan director Alba Sotorra. She dedicated the film to Anna Campbell, the young British internationalist who joined the YPJ in early 2016 and with whom she became friend. When she was a student, Anna Campbell was well known in Sheffield as an activist who, among other things, partook in student occupations against increase in fees and cuts to higher education under the Liberal Democrats/Conservative coalition. The young British YPJ fighter was killed by the Turkish armed forces in March 2018.
http://theregion.org/article/13618-documentary-on-ypj-commander-premiers-at-sheffield-documentary-festival

12. Girls of the Sun review – Heavy-handed story of Kurdish women fighters
14 May/Evening Standard
Traumatised French war-reporter Mathilde (Emmanuelle Bercot), who has just lost her husband in Libya and an eye in Homs (with her eye-patch, she resembles Marie Colvin), joins the Kurdish miltias aiming to re-take one of their towns near Mount Sinjar in Northern Iraq that fell the previous year to Isis, resulting in a massacre and the kidnapping of thousands of women and children. She embeds with a special group of female fighters, all of whom were taken captive by Isis and now feel they have little left to lose.
https://www.standard.co.uk/go/london/film/cannes-18-girls-of-the-sun-review-heavyhanded-story-of-kurdish-women-fighters-a3838201.html

13. Kurdish female fighters film ‘Girls of the Sun’ sparks furious Cannes row
13May/ Ekurd Daily
On August 3, 2014, Islamic State group has captured most parts of parts of Sinjar district in northwest Iraq, a home to around 400,000 Yazidis, after Massoud Barzani’s KDP peshmerga forces withdrew from the area without a fight leaving behind the Yazidi civilians to Islamic State killing and genocide. PKK was the only force that fighted against Islamic State and protected the Yazidis……… The director, who carried her four-year-old son, Gaspard, into the premiere, described the work as an ode to the female fighters’ staggering courage.
http://ekurd.net/kurdish-female-fighters-film-2018-05-13

14. Ballad for Syria. Film from Women’s Voices Now, a free streaming service.
Women’s Voices Now (WVN), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, uses the medium of film to advocate for global women’s rights. We carry out our mission with our annual online film festival, a free streaming archive of international women’s rights based films, educational programs, screening events, and multimedia workshops.
As a non-governmental organization with special consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UNECOSOC) since 2017, our work is internationally recognized as impacting the following UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs): increasing good health and well being (#3); providing quality education (#4); promoting gender equality (#5); working toward reduced inequalities (#10); establishing peace, justice and strong institutions (#16); and establishing partnerships to achieve the SDGs (#17).
http://www.womensvoicesnow.org/films/ballad-for-syria/

15. Witch, slut, child murderer – Shaming and other tools of patriarchy
11 June/The Region
It is up to us and coming generations of revolutionary feminists and the youth to reveal these and other means of war by the patriarchy and to put up a collective resistance against them. Witch, bitch, slut, child murderess – or whatever name they give us – let us ourselves determine our names, colours, spirits, lives and revolution and rebel against the disenchantment of life and the world, against the artificial hierarchies and powers.
http://theregion.org/article/13623-witch-slut-child-murderer-shaming-other-tools-of-patriarchy

16. New Book Out: A Road Unforeseen – Women Fight the Islamic State
By Meredith Tax
In war-torn northern Syria, a democratic society—based on secularism, ethnic inclusiveness, and gender equality—has won significant victories against the Islamic State, or Daesh, with women on the front lines as fierce warriors and leaders.
https://kurdishstudiesnetwork.net/2016/08/02/new-book-out-a-road-unforeseen-women-fight-the-islamic-state/

Peace in Kurdistan
Campaign for a political solution of the Kurdish Question
Email: estella24@tiscali.co.uk
http://www.peaceinkurdistancampaign.com
Contacts Estella Schmid 020 7586 5892 & Melanie Gingell – Tel: 020 7272 7890
Fax: 020 7263 0596

Patrons: John Austin, Christine Blower, NUT International Secretary, Prof Bill Bowring, Julie Christie, Noam Chomsky, Jeremy Corbyn MP,  Prof Mary Davis, Lord Dholakia, Simon Dubbins, UNITE International Director,  Jill Evans MEP, Lindsey German, Convenor STWC, Melanie Gingell, Rahila Gupta, Nick Hildyard, Dafydd Iwan, Former President Plaid Cymru, James Kelman, Bruce Kent, Jean Lambert MEP, Elfyn Llwyd, Aonghas MacNeacail, Scottish Gaelic poet, Mike Mansfield QC, Doug Nicholls, General Secretary, GFTU, Dr. Jessica Ayesha Northey, International Coordinator, Green Party of England and Wales;; Sinn Fein MLA Conor Murphy, Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley, Kate Osamor MP, Margaret Owen OBE, Gareth Peirce, Maxine Peake, Lord Rea, Joe Ryan, Stephen Smellie, Dr Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Dr Tom Wakeford, Dr Derek Wall, Julie Ward MEP, Hywel Williams MP.

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