Writers, artists and academics have made a declaration on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the ‘Rojava Revolution’.
The declaration was published on Thursday in Commondreams, a pioneering independent and non-profit news outlet on the Web.
“Ten years ago, an auspicious experiment started alongside one of the most atrocious bloodsheds of this century,” the signatories said in their declaration, entitled “We Celebrate 10 Years of Rojava: A Visionary Social Experiment Under Threat”.
Noting that by the year 2017 the Rojava revolution came to encompass five million people, Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Turkmens, Armenians, Yazidis, and others, “guided by one of the most democratic constitutions in the world,” they went on to say:
“The people of Rojava have established a system of decentralised self governance based on popular assemblies, gender equity, and radical inclusion of minorities.”
Stressing that the Turkish administration and its jihadist allies in Syria had committed war crimes by invading the Rojavan canton of Afrin and launching armed assaults on larger territories, forcing half a million people to flee their homes, they said:
“Despite a ceasefire agreement, Turkey has led a perpetual war with consistent drone attacks, which has barely been reported in Western media (…) Turkey’s attacks are not caused by ‘terror,’ as Erdoğan often voices. The people of Rojava pose a core threat to any existing government, especially those with imperialist ambitions, by showing the world a viable model of peaceful multi-ethnic coexistence, grounded in lived political, cultural and ecological autonomy.”
“Standing with Rojava means joining in the work of reclaiming autonomy and experimenting with concrete ways of life beyond nation-states, capitalism, and patriarchy. We may not be able to overcome these outdated systems immediately; however, we can create more and more spaces outside the life-denying logic of capitalist modernity.”
The ‘Rojava Revolution’
19 July this year marked the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the profound political and social transformation in North and East Syria, leading to the foundation of an autonomous entity in January 2014, and resulting in changes involving forms of local governance, social and political empowerment of women, recognition of ethnic and cultural identities, and attempts at a more democratic education and health system.
On 19 July 2012, Kurdish self-defence forces – organised under the People’s Protection Units (YPG) – took control of the city of Kobani in the midst of the turmoil of the ongoing Syrian civil war. The cities of Amude, Afrin, Ras al-Ayn (Serê Kaniyê) and Al-Darbasiyah (Dirbêsiyê) followed.
This was the beginning of a process led by pro-Kurdish political parties, particularly the Democratic Union Party (PYD), in which local councils and administrative bodies started to emerge mostly in Kurdish-majority parts of the region.