The Kurdish Women’s Movement: On Revolution, Militarism and Body Politics

https://podtail.com/en/podcast/lse-middle-east-centre-podcasts/the-kurdish-women-s-movement-on-revolution-militar

 · LSE MIDDLE EAST CENTRE PODCASTS

  • 01:20:20

Women have been at the forefront of many of the political and military struggles in the Kurdish Middle East, most visibly so since the outbreak of the ‘Rojava Revolution’ in 2012. But women have in fact since the foundation of the PKK in 1978 played an integral role in the ideological and political development of the Liberation Movement as a whole; as guerrillas, activists, politicians, mothers and prisoners. Isabel Käser will trace the complex history of the Kurdish Women’s Liberation Movement, discuss how women’s autonomous organisational structures have emerged and how they operate today between the mountains and the cities of the four different parts of Kurdistan. Her talk analyses the emancipatory power this movement holds but also unpacks some of the tensions that emerge from the interplay between militarism, the party’s body politics and the movement’s revolutionary quest for a more democratic Middle East. Recorded on 4 June.
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Isabel Käser holds a PhD from SOAS where she worked on the Kurdish Women’s Movement. Her work contributes to debates around gender and war, feminism and nationalism, as well as conflict and body politics.

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Final Statement of the International Conference on North and East Syria (Rojava) held at the European Parliament on 11-12 December, 2019

The Kurdish Friendship Group in the European Parliament and representatives of the Self-Administration of North and East Syria (Rojava) in Europe, the International Alliance for the Defence of Rights and Freedoms (AIDL), and the Green / European Union (Free Alliance) held at the European Parliament on 11–12 December an international conference entitled “An International Conference on North and East Syria (Rojava): A Regional and Global Litmus Test”. Continue reading

In Memory of Mehmet Aksoy

Debbie Bookchin spoke at the memorial for Memo:

I am very honored to stand before you today and say a few words about Mehmet. Mehmet spoke words of inspiration effortlessly, from his heart, channeling a river of passion for justice and righteousness, with a wisdom that it sometimes seems he was born with, though we all know that he worked hard to become the extraordinary person he was. Unlike him, my words don’t come easily, especially at a time like this. So please forgive me for reading a few comments. Continue reading

Open Letter to the Prime Minister Theresa May on World Kobane Day on 1 November 2017

On World Kobane Day, 1st November, the British government has the opportunity to demonstrate support for rebuilding peace and strengthening popular democracy for the men and women of the Middle East who have fought bravely to successfully resist the encroachment of ISIS, whose aggression and politics has been viewed as a threat to all humanity.

The vision of a future society propounded by the Kurds stands at total opposition to the nightmare of ISIS’ autocratic tyranny that had been enforced against the wishes of the people. The repressive Islamist doctrine imposed a strict code of behaviour on every single aspect of life where women and people of other faiths were compelled to conform and dissenters were eradicated by systematic slaughter. Continue reading

Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women’s Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan. Review.

Michael Knapp, Anja Flach and Ercan Ayboga, 2016, Revolution in Rojava: Democratic Autonomy and Women’s Liberation in Syrian Kurdistan. London: Pluto Press (320 pp., paperback, £15.00)

Pluto Press has done a wonderful service in publishing a “Revolution in Rojava”, a first-hand account of the alternative social project being implemented at this very moment in the area called, in Kurdish, Rojava, or West -three cantons in the north of Syria with a sizeable Kurdish population, but which is home also to Arabs, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Arameans, Turkmen, Armenians and Chechens. As the world has shown images of armed Kurdish guerrillas, the YPG, and as their female counterparts, the YPJ, have made it to the front news, while leading the struggle against the Islamic State (IS). As the world looked in horror at the spread of IS which seemed for some time unstoppable, this group of determined fighters not only held them back, but inflicted them their first massive defeat in the defence of the city of Kobane –with it, their aura of invincibility was irreparably damaged. Continue reading

Bristol hosts event on Rojava Revolution

On 14 December, the Rojava Solidarity group in Bristol hosted an event at the Malcolm X Centre on the origins and politics of the Rojava Revolution:

“Caught between the expansionist ISIS and escalating oppression by the Turkish state is one of the largest and most interesting revolutionary struggles of our times. Rojava, comprising three regions of northern Syria, is home to 2 million people while across the border in South-Eastern Turkey an increasing number of villages and neighbourhoods are declaring themselves autonomous and committed to self defence. Within these areas is a social experiment that incorporates feminism, ecology, has survived four years of military assaults. For much of this time they have been the only successful opposition to ISIS.”

Watch the meeting below: