It’s sometimes hard to put feelings into words, when you are faced with something that is hard to understand. Sometimes even when you were unable to believe something like this before. Because it’s an understanding that is coming from your hearth, deep down inside of you.
When we talked about the cooperatives, I thought about the collective farms I know in France. When we went to Jinwar – the women’s village – I thought about the village of Umoja in Kenya… We don’t have the same experiences, the same methods, the same views. We try with our strengths and weaknesses, with our mistakes and successes, we try to build resistances in our different way. We are all sharing the same drive, the same thrive for solidarity, for freedom, for taking our future into our own hands.
Yan Serkeftin, yan Serkeftin
We talked with many people, in families, in the structures of the autonomous administration. Everyone lost someone, a close relative, a friend, a child… sometimes much more. Thousands made sacrifices so that others could have a chance to build a better world. Against these people that try to create a free life, the Turkish state is launching drone strikes, organizing armed clashes, occupies, leading a war on water that is heavily impacting the humanitarian situation, agriculture, electricity and clean water supply. In addition, the embargo is slowly eroding the economy and the daily life, and the threat of Daesh is still strong. Yes, despite the fact that most of the world seems to see it as a problem from the past, Daesh is here, still with support, a lot of weapons at its disposal and a lot of fighters.
But the people of Rojava and North-east Syria gave a lot of sacrifice, struggled so much and built so much with their own hands. They are connected to this revolution in such a way that it’s a part of them. They made Öcalan’s philosophical and political vision their own. They will never back down. They show a determination that is not only necessary, but also admirable, with a humility that commands respect in view of all they have achieved. At on point, we visited the Black Stadium of Raqqa, a stadium turned into a prison by Daesh where civilians were imprisoned, tortured, murdered by beheading or hanging. In the midst of this heavy atmosphere and the smell of death clinging to the walls, our guide casually smoked a cigarette, explaining that when Daesh occupied Raqqa, if you were caught smoking a cigarette, you will have your fingers cut-off. This is what society was struggling with and now every movement in life to became part of the revenge.
Against all odds, against all of these brutal attacks towards the people of the autonomous administration, they fight. They struggle, they resist, they find solutions, they build the future through sweat and blood, they are tirelessly developing democratic methods to work together, to stop domestic violence, to change society, to create a new life. There is nothing here that will be destroyed by mere violence and aggression. They will struggle until the end. And not only for themselves, the ideals that are put into practice, with all the contradictions and difficulties you could imagine, are ideals of peace, democracy, freedom and justice for the entire world. I never understood internationalism as deep as I understood it here. It suddenly becomes obvious.
The youth: first victim as well as revolutionary vanguard
While only 6 years ago Daesh was enforcing its humiliating laws, we met the youth in Raqqa, in Manbij, and we saw how the young people organise themselves with an unstoppable dynamism, especially the young Arab women. They were asking for our experiences, points of view, our stories with interest and humility. They shared their stories, their experience of war, how they discovered the movement, the philosophy and paradigm from Abdullah Öcalan. Describing the difficulties at first with their families and how it evolved and they succeeded in influencing them. Self-organization is very important to defend against the different attacks of capitalism, here in Rojava it reaches a existencial meaning. The embargo is limiting a lot of aspects of life, but still the Turkish State is oppening the way to drugs to be used as a weapon against the youth, trying to kill their revolutionary spirit. With all the propaganda on mass and social media, many young people think theres is a better future elsewhere, mainly in Europe. Here, the youth develops a political defense: creates awareness, proposes alternatives and a frame of work in order to develop the future here with an unmatched vitality.
During this week, the war felt very close. In the ruins of Kobanê, one of our guides showed us a destroyed building and said “This was my house.”. When we never saw war it seems very abstract. Here, when you walk in the Şehîd cemetery or in the commemoration places and you see pictures of the faces filled with belief and hope of the young people that gave their life defending Kobanê against Daesh, you feel the value of their sacrifices. During the week of our travel, the Turkish state carried out a series of murderous air strikes. Comrades, military and civilians, are falling under these aggressions. People we could have been working with, people we could have been talking to just a few days ago. Maybe the Turkish state wants to invade Northeastern Syria. But after what I saw, I know it doesn’t stand a chance.
Internationalist Commune of Rojava,