On Sunday, the Jineology Journal Editorial Board published an editorial commemorating the first anniversary of the ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ movement. Originating in the Kurdistan region of Iran (Rojhilatê Kurdistan), this movement has become a global call for women’s liberation. MedyaNews has translated the editorial into English to broaden its reach. The movement, which gained momentum following the tragic killing of Kurdish woman Jîna Êmînî (also known as Mahsa Amini) in 2022, challenges patriarchal, capitalist and totalitarian ideologies. As it enters its second year, it aims to continue its struggle for women’s freedom, transcending geographical and cultural boundaries.
‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ Movement: One year on
Jineology Journal Editorial Board
17 September 2023
The slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî (Woman, Life, Freedom)’ which has found an echo worldwide in the persona of Jîna Êmînî (also known as Mahsa Amini), essentially challenges the reactionary, totalitarian, nation-state capitalist, male-dominated mentality. It carries the quality of a great manifesto with significant consequences for global women’s freedom movements.
Global colonial powers are still trying to redesign Kurdistan—with everything it contains and holds: its people, its nature, and its values. But there is also significant resistance against these redesign policies. There is a massive confrontation between democratic society and state-based civilisation in Kurdistan in 2023, the 100th year of the Treaty of Lausanne, the founding document of the nation-state, which imposed these policies of destruction, denial and assimilation. Social resistance is developing moment by moment, led by women under attack and subject to assimilation from every part of our geography. Women’s resistance is on a significant rise against the male-dominated (patriarchal) mindset and system.
Jineology, the science of this resistance, explores ways and methods to overcome systemic crises and attacks with a new breath and consciousness, to regain and create a free life. Women, peoples, faiths, cultures and all the oppressed are making a common, free and equal life possible, by breaking down the boundaries strengthened by the sexism, nationalism, religious fundamentalism and scientism that the nation-state and global exploitation system refer to. The unifying, converging common and free will of women continues to add beauty and meaning to life in the face of the nation-state ideology that divides, allocates, fragments and polarises; …
There are things we need to do against the strategy of divide, rule and conquer, which has its ideological roots in misogyny and peaked in the last century, and also against the destruction of social values. To this end, we believe that in Kurdistan, which this strategy has divided into four parts, the need to reveal once again, develop and bring together with society the moral and political power of women, forms of resistance, ethico-aesthetic measures, the cultural richness of Kurdistan and the values centred around women and life, still has great meaning and importance. With this belief, we participate in the process of weaving the path to the Middle East Women’s Revolution and World Democratic Women’s Confederalism, casting threads from the local to the universal, and from the universal to the local, and once again turn our direction towards Rojhilat, rejuvenating the hope for freedom with Jin, Jiyan, Azadî.
The first year of the resistance led by women in Rojhilat is coming to an end. The killing by morality police of the Kurdish woman Jîna Êmînî because her hair was visible on 16 September 2022 is now well-known. Since then, we have witnessed a full year of immense international resistance led by women, which began with protests primarily in Rojhilat, Kurdistan in Iran, and has been spreading in waves all over the world. Despite the oppression, attacks, hundreds of deaths, hundreds of people injured, and closures, Rojhilat is still continuing its rebellion.
While the impact of this resistance is still under discussion, we continue to ask these questions: What does the rising synergy created by the magical formula of ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ against the sectarian despotism and religious dictatorship hostile to Kurds and women promise to the peoples and all the women of the world? What does a wisp of Jîna’s hair signify to this regime? How should we understand women courageously holding the regime to account and not backing down despite all threats? How and why did the slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ spread so quickly and turn into a movement?
The strength of this resistance lies in women organising the rebellion as a political entity, and embracing the formula of ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’, which gives the movement its name.
The slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’, embodied in Jîna, has found an echo worldwide, and essentially challenges all reactionary, totalitarian, nation-state capitalist, male-dominated mentalities. It carries the quality of a great manifesto with significant consequences for global women’s freedom movements. We know that the womanhood and Kurdish identity of Jîna, who gave her name to this resistance, and the historical-social sources of the slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ come from roots so strong and deep that they cannot be reduced to mere hair-cutting protests. The slogan serves as a formula for the democratic, ecological, women’s liberationist model, and it sets the course for the claim that ‘the 21st century is the century of women’s freedom’.
The impact of this slogan and this movement, which has emerged as another name for the burning desire and need for a life of women’s liberation, has reached such a point that it is clear that nothing will ever be the same again. This one-year period shows that further phases will perpetuate the resistance. This persistence will affect not only the Kurds and Kurdistan but the entire region and the world.
As Abdullah Öcalan stressed, ‘Despite all efforts at maintaining centralisation, beneath the surface Iran is virtually federal. When democratic civilisation elements meet federalist elements (Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Arabs, Baluchis and Turkmens), the project of an Iranian Democratic Confederation may gain meaning and easily become a focal point. The women’s liberation movement and communal traditions will also have important roles within the scope of this project’.
The fact that the unity of pioneering forces that will remove the obstacles to the formation of a democratic Iran is centred around women is, of course, no coincidence. The conditions that prepare and develop the progress of the ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ social revolution are essentially concealed in the historico-social realities of women in Rojhilatê Kurdistan.
This fact reveals the history of the cultural and political resistance of Rojhilat from the Neolithic era to the 21st century, which we describe as the age of the women’s revolution. It also displays the ideologico-historical background of the punishment-pressure-body policies of the system and of the religious, reactionary provisions in this history, the level at which women are affected by this, women’s counter-resistance, and the reasons for this resistance.
From this standpoint, the creative source of the rising ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadî’ slogan worldwide and the truth of women in this source are manifested through the voice, words and experiences of the women resisting in Rojhilat. Naturally, our responsibility to multiply and expand the resistance stands before us on the anniversary of Jîna’s killing. So, in the first year of this movement that has developed in Rojhilat and united all the world’s women’s movements around a slogan, it is time to create the possibilities for social freedom led by women and make this century the century of women’s freedom!