This post about the campaign Make Rojava Green Again and the tree nursery “Roj” in Dêrik was first published in German by ANF, 15 February, 2019 The Kanton Cizîre [Jazira Canton] was densely wooded until antiquity. No later than the Bagdad railway from Konya to Bagdad was built, more and more trees were burned. Nowadays
The ‘Make Rojava Green Again’ campaign of the Internationalist Commune of Rojava began in early 2018. I am pleased and impressed that they have now published this inspirational book. That such a text is being produced is in itself an expression of hope.
Over the last two weeks we finally planted the first badge of olive trees on the area of our academy. The trees are still small, but already change the appearance of the place a lot. We got the trees from a nearby tree nursery. When the war in Afrin was getting more intense many olive trees were cutted as saplings and brought to the other parts of Rojava, also to that tree nursery. In that way we see on the one side of Rojava the Turkish is brutally acting against people and nature – olive orchards have been burnt down – on the other side we try to contribute to the reforestation of the region.
Of Democratic Confederalism’s three pillars—radical democracy, gender liberation, and ecological sustainability—I would argue that the latter is the most crucial, and sets the foundation for a truly democratic, inclusive and egalitarian society. A society cannot be democratic towards ethno-religious minorities or be truly gender progressive if it cannot first and foremost demonstrate an integral and profound respect for our shared land.
From Institute for Social Ecology board member and UMass graduate student Eleanor Finley: I recently had the opportunity to visit Turkey and North Kurdistan. In that short time, Istanbul celebrated the third year anniversary of Gezi Park, the Democratic Union Party (HDP) won unprecedented political representation in the Turkish parliament, and the cantons of Cizire
Members of the Internationalist Commune, together with archaeology students from Rojava’s Tevgera Xwendekaren Demokratik (TXD, or Democratic Students’ Movement), recently visited several of these ancient sites as part of a joint education. We saw how remnants of over settlements, cities and temple complexes have stood the test of time, hidden beneath the earth.
The tree nursery is part of a very big co-operative, which stores the wheat harvest of the entire region in enormous depots and silos. This co-operative takes also care of the further processing of the wheat and sell the finished bread at a very cheap price. Lentils and chickpeas are also processed in the co-operative, ensuring local people can always access nutritious and affordable food.
May has been an intense month of work for our ecological project. We have planted some new trees for our nursery, and the other shoots and trees keep on growing. We are also expanding our garden by planting a wide variety of seeds – some from local farmers around the commune, and some from different ecological projects from around the world. Melons, watermelons, beans, eggplants, pumpkins, corn… We are learning how they grow in this environment, while hoping that the hot summer doesn’t kill everything. We are also developing a greywater system to recycle waste water for use in the garden, making our camp more sustainable.
"Everything was green before," sighs a young peasant from Sawidiyah, a small Syrian village at the banks of the Euphrates near Tabqa's massive dam. "Now it should be the season, but the crops are lost, because Turkey cuts the water, preventing the production of electricity. For us here everything is linked to the agricultural sector. If there is no agriculture, there is no more work."
During my time in Rojava I want to realise a few ecological projects like a small sized bio-gas station as a source for cooking at the Internationalist Commune, and a water filter to recycle water to grow plants and vegetables all around the camp.
Farmers in Al-Jarniyah have had to stop harvesting summer crops as a result of Turkey cutting the flow of the Euphrates river. The farmers rely on the flow of the Euphrates to irrigate their crops. About 70% of the people in Al-Jarniyah and its countryside use farming as a primary source of income, but a disastrous
Spring arrived to Rojava, and our work to make Rojava green again is blossoming. We are learning with every step we do, working in a collective way to make our life around the international academy more sustainable and to develop social ecology. We made a visit to the ‘Roj’ greenhouse, were we had been working and