“The Kurds from the South have not seen much from their administration, which was founded based on the slogan, ‘An Azadi, An Azadi,’ except for their familial-tribal advantages … Rising social problems have made the women from these lands increasingly desperate,” writes Zeynep Altınkaynak for Yeni Yaşam’s Women Magazine.
The future and the concern for the future has been mainly discussed around debates relating to ‘dreams,’ ‘hopes’ and ‘despair’ over the future. The future has come to represent a symbol of a quest for something to get through the darkness of today.
The genocidal practices of modernity all over the world, conflicts over resource sharing, all kinds of policies put in practice against society and humanity and economic depression today keep societies at the edge of sharp contradictions of plenitude and poverty. Such a sharp distinction between the ‘individual,’ ‘society’ and the ‘state’ weakens peoples’ ties with their communities, leaving them in despair and pessimism that the future holds no light, no hope to get rid of the darkness of today.
‘Umidim Nemawa’ – This Kurdish phrase means ‘I have no hope.’ (…) You can hear this phrase often from women in Federal Kurdistan. And not just in conversations do they use this phrase, but also when reflecting upon moods which are felt deep inside their souls. Such despair has been fed by many sources. The edge between the universe of the woman’s soul and the deep dark mood of depression is shaped, based on how women interact with society, with the men and women in their societies, with the earth, with nature.
One of the grounds for this mood of despair lies in the nature of political instability and the continuing state of war that has become permanent in the region. The lands of Federal Kurdistan have never seen a period without wars and massacres since Sykes-Picot Agreement [a wartime treaty, signed on 16 May 1916 between Britain and France which laid down the foundations for today’s nation states in the Middle East].
Central hegemonic powers for over 100 years have seen the Middle East, especially the lands of Kurdistan, as a field for ‘resource sharing’ and a battlefield to solve their own crises and chaos. (…) On the other hand, the Kurds targeted in the Anfal, in Halabja, in the Yazidi farmans [massacres] have experienced how to become refugees in their own lands. The Kurds from the South [Iraqi Kurdistan] have not seen much from their administration, which was founded based on the slogan, ‘An Azadi, An Azadi,’ except for their familial-tribal advantages. (…) Rising social problems have made the women from these lands increasingly desperate.
Under such harsh physical circumstances of conflict, their war of independence, which they laid all their hopes on, was frustrated. Their lands were laid open to the global hegemonic powers, to be taken advantage of, another outcome of war among the many others. Soaring social problems in society within the past ten years have left women increasingly without hope.
Women have been displaced from their lands, villages and mountains by the hands of colonialism and cooperation with the hegemons. They have been doomed to live in cities, copy-and-paste forms of modern ‘western cities,’ away from the production and labour of their own resources.
Women, in particular, who participated in the war of independence with all their patriotism and strength, have not gained a seat in the regional administration that was founded after the war, except as a reserve for men. Benefits have accrued to men and the ‘family’ has been prioritised. The existence of women in the social sphere have not gone beyond liberal-modernist rights protections being stated on paper. On the other hand, women have continued to face all kinds of repression in the home, at work, on the streets – all kinds of patriarchal targeting and sexism which has peaked, together with a multitude of social problems.
Of course, there are many women ‘symbols,’ who attempt to break these patterns, but these symbols have not been able to organise themselves to be qualified as a collective entity. Either they have remained ‘local’ and ‘individual’ or they have turned into ‘remembrances’ in the collective memory. Strong objections have been raised by women, but these have not spread or reached a level where they have fulfilled women’s great quest for freedom.
Consequently, women have reached a point where they have not been able to carry high hopes in their hearts ‘for the future.’ A generation has been raised that neither accepts what is before them, nor can it find values to replace what is before them. It is not a few who, consequently, have taken to the roads to Europe, seeking freedom and an exit from this chaos. For them, it is a matter of individual rights. Others have shut themselves within the walls and confines of their homes. (…) It is not just a few in the South who say, “Her tiş fişeye,” meaning “everything is empty”. However, it is not just a few who are looking for ways out of this depression, this deadlock. (…)
It is possible to re-build hope by intervening against those who consumed the hopes of people – against those men, the state, the policies of capitalist modernity that have made people individualised and rootless, leaving them with a lack of will to resist and who made women vulnerable to exploitation. (…)
Interventions of this kind will raise the hopes of the people and help to rejuvenate these lands – which form the cradle of civilisation and matriarchal society – so that flowers will bloom again.