Crisis and suffering have always had the power to bring clarity. When lives are at stake, competing values are inevitably brought into the sharpest relief. Coronavirus has been no different in this basic sense, but even among crises it is remarkable for the sheer scope of its impact and its truly global reach.
The Syrian regime under the Ba’ath Party of Bashar al-Assad is not only infamous for its war crimes and human rights abuses during the war in Syria, but also held a thick record of systematic violence prior to the uprisings in 2011. Apart from its extensive intelligence apparatus, its law and justice system enshrined authoritarianism and state power in the legal realm. The population of Syria, and minorities in particular, were taught to fear the law as the representative will of the oppressive state. In northern Syria, since the beginning of the revolution in Rojava in 2012, manifold initiatives have been systematically launched to undo the state and its domination not only in the realm of politics and society, but also in the psychology of people, who experienced not only Assad’s regime, but more recently the fascist rule of ISIS. Efforts are led not only in the sphere of law and justice, but also in the realm of grassroots-organizing, education and political, economic and social action. There are many difficulties however. What could an alternative, non-statist justice system look like? Let us take a look at Anja Hoffmann’s observations from an Arabic language justice academy in Tel Marouf…
Firik is planted in the fall and grows over winter to be harvested in early summer. Some researchers say that Firik is a type of wheat and grows especially in the Euphrates basin. These days, Firik has been harvested and it will be one of the basic foods such as bulgur and rice. People serve Firik when they have special guests.
With the arrival of the harvest season, displaced women from Afrin and women from Shahba in North East Syria have begun working in the fields together in a communal spirit.
Women in Sheikh Maqsoud, Aleppo turned the roofs of their houses into vegetable gardens. The women are trying to resist the embargo their own way.
The women in Kobane are coming together to work on the fields and try to give life to the lands suffering from this Turkish-made drought.
As the Syrian lira continues to lose value, Syrians who have been badly affected by increasing prices of basic food products have faced food insecurity. People in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES, also known as Rojava) have increasingly been adopting alternative projects – home gardening – to support local agriculture.
Adalet Narin lives in the Hani district of Amed and she is the only female baker in the district. She makes bread and creates a social space for women in the district. She makes bread by giving shape the dough kneaded by women living in the district.
The Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM) has continued its organizational activities with different professional associations in Aleppo's Sheikh Maqsoud and Ashrafiyah neighborhoods in 2020.
Lack of international recognition as a state has disastrous consequences on an area already suffering from war and displacement.
North and East Syria faces serious challenges in the fight against COVID-19. 600,000 IDPs and refugees live in camps across the region, their situation already precarious without a pandemic. Ongoing attacks by Turkish forces, Turkey-backed militias, and ISIS complicate the security situation and threaten essential civilian infrastructure like water lines. According to the Rojava Information Center,
Şîfa Jin is a health and healing center for women and children based on natural and modern medicine and has been a fundamental part of the village since the beginning of the construction of JINWAR.