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
Wheat and other crops that the people of al-Mansoura town, southeast of Tabqa [Tebqa / Al-Thawrah], rely on in their daily survival have declined to less than half as Turkey continues blocking the flow of the Euphrates river, which constitutes a violation of the Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses. The Euphrates passes through Turkey, Syria
Turkey has always shown little understanding of the environment, also from an ecological point of view. It has shown no mercy towards nature and people, destroying the landscape and burying a millennia of history under water. One of the most perverse and ruthless ways of interfering in a country without actually entering it is by cutting
Spring in Hasankeyf is typically a joyful time of new growth – of flowers blooming in the canyons and gardens, of young lambs and kids tottering about on unsteady legs, of wild herbs ripe for the picking and cooking. This year, though, the feeling is more of endings than beginnings as pressure mounts on Hasankeyf shopkeepers to vacate
Besides the bad news of Afrin, in March we continued working on our ecological project to Make Rojava Green Again. With the rains of winter everything become green, and the firsts days of march have the perfect weather for continue planting shoots and open new gardens. We are planting different kind of trees and starting