“The ties between the concepts of life and women stem essentially from the relationship between the words and symbols used for life and femininity,” writes Zozan Sima for Yeni Özgür Politika.
“Jin, Jiyan, Azadi” (Women, Life, Freedom.) slogans still echo everywhere from the enthusiastic cries of 8 March. Rêber Apo (refers to Abdullah Öcalan) says that these three words is a magical formula for women. Magic, means to get beyond the limits of the impossible and to make it possible. The connections between women and life is the measure of freedom. When women are excluded from the political, military, economic, diplomatic, academic and cultural life, this means those areas of life are not yet freed and when women are at the centre of life, that means the liberation of all areas of life. However, what we are talking about here is the liberated woman’s identity, because one can also observe that some patriarchal values may be voiced by those women, who are only ‘women’ physically.
The language revolution which dates back thousands of years created the first namings of objects and concepts, which have changed humanity’s perception of life. Only through etymological research and interpretations, that we have had the chance to understand the meanings of concepts before they were poisoned by the mythology, religion, philosophy and science, which all favored the ruling powers. Buddhism suggests that when you lose something, you just need to go back to where you have started. Therefore any quest to find the traces of the first meanings of those things, which have lost their original meanings is like an archeological excavation.
The ties between the concepts of life and women stem essentially from the relationship between the words and symbols used for life and femininity and in fact lie on the fact that human beings see themselves as a part of nature, nature as alive, human beings as a small universe, and the universe as a large human being.
The Sumerians expressed this in a vine leaf, the Arabs expressed this in a concept related to the snake. Life is symbolised by a tree in most cultures. In the symbolism of the tree of life, whose roots extend into the depths of the earth, whose body reaches into the earth, and whose leaves reach to the sky, the body of the tree has been considered as a woman or a goddess. There is always a bird on the tree, symbolising freedom, holiness and sky. The helpbird, angelic tawus, eagle and emerald phoenix are the birds on the tree of life. The place where the roots are is the snake’s home. The snake, bird, woman, and tree has become the complete expression of life all entwined. It was symbolised in the Huluppu (willow) tree for the Sumerians, Dara Herhele for the Yazidis, the Christmas tree for Christians, the Banyan tree in India and in different trees that are considered sacred in almost every culture.
There are rich mythological symbols about the connection of the tree of life with the goddess. In the Pyrenees mountains of France a tree branch is depicted in the belly of a bison and a woman in a cave painting that dates back to 25,000 and 10,000 BC. There are paintings of two tree branches depicted on the belly of the Çatalhöyük goddess that dates back to 6000 BC. In the Middle East, especially in Kurdistan, women get tattoos of the tree of life extending from the abdomen to the neck, and embroidered these symbols on pillowcases, carpets, dresses and curtains.
The tree for granting wishes is also culturally connected with the placenta. The term used for the placenta in Kurdish is “hevalpiçûk” (“little friend). In many regions of Kurdistan, when a child is born, the umbilical cord which connects the baby to the mother is ‘buried’ under the ground in places that is believed to be determining the baby’s future.
The form of tree in the placenta that enables a baby to hold on to life, the tree that is the source of life for nature, animals and people, and women’s labor, existence and thoughts that become the source of the basic needs of life determine the relationship between the tree of life and woman.
The magic formula of Jin-Jiyan-Azadi is embodied in the women’s revolution and its roots go deeper like a tree in the earth of where the revolution takes place, its body flows into all areas of life and its branches spreads over the earth, forming a global network.