This is the story of Dicle Şêxo, a war correspondent in Kobanê, who has been actively reporting from the war field as well as participating in the fight against the ISIS as a fighter, shared by Fırat News Agency.
Şêxo was forced into marriage before the war in Kobanê began. Just one day before her wedding, ISIS attacked her town, which changed the direction of her life.
“My uniform is my wedding gown”
“My uniform will be my wedding gown and I will be the bride of Kurdistan,” she said and immediately joined the civil defense units in 2014.
“There were not too many fighters of YPG-YPJ (Peoples’ Defense Units and Women’s Defense Units) when the war in the city first began. Some fighters sacrificed themselves. The actions of Arin Mirkan and the actions of Destina Qendîl and 11 fighters in Kaniya Kurda are among those significant moments to remember, since they stopped the advance of the ISIS,” she said.
Reporting the stories of the people amid war
As a journalist, she did not have the chance to record the war with a vast number of advanced equipments, but she had decided to contribute to the self-defence of her town, Kobanê, in every possible way she could.
“My main purpose as a journalist was to record the stories of the fighters and the stories of the people trying to survive under the circumstances of war. We have been facing the attacks of ISIS every day,” Şêxo said.
She notes that her dialogues with the children are among her most powerful memories that she will never forget.
“I used to chat with children and record their stories. Some used to tell me how they missed their toys they had to leave when they escaped their home, some used to tell me how they missed their chickens and animals they used to feed before the war began. None of the children were hopeless, they all believed that one day they would return their home,” she recalled.
Memories of the fighters
Referring to her memories with YPJ and YPG fighters Şêxo stresses that what led to the liberation of Kobanê was not the heavy weapons of the Kurdish fighters, in fact, they were fighting with quite basic weapons compared to the technology used by the ISIS, but it was the soul of the resistance, the will to struggle.
“Some of the fighters who came to the town to join the defence died ten minutes after they stepped into the town. So they died for Kobanê before they had a chance to drink a glass of water in Kobanê. It was a total war, but it was a total resistance at the same time,” she said.
“We used to say goodbye to each other each morning before any one of us left for the frontline, because we knew that some of us would never come back.”
Role of the woman fighters
“I would like to especially stress that woman fighters played the key role in the Kobanê resistance. The ISIS members were terrified when they heard the battle cries of the women’s voices or a “zılgıt’,” she said.
“I can say that the YPJ wrote the history in Kobanê. YPJ was the flesh and bone of the leadership of women, the sacrifice of women, the resistance of women.”
Interviews in the frontlines
Şêxo’s office was the war fronts and her interviewees were fighters. “I was conducting my interview at the frontline. I used the visit the same positions on the frontline to show our published interviews with a fighter, only to learn that that very fighter was killed after I left,” she said.
“I will never forget those days. Those martyrs live with me now in my heart. It was emotionally hard to confront, with all those deaths and to be able to continue journalism. Many journalists were also killed and injured as well. As the journalists continuing the tradition of the free press, we were doing out best to report the resistance in Kobanê with the limited amount of equipment we had.”
She finally added, “Maybe our news played a role, even a very small role that the coalition forces decided to act for Kobanê, who knows… I have never stopped journalism after the liberation. We have the flag of the resistance now in our hands and we still try to follow the path of our killed friends.”