When, on 19 July 2012, the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) forced the withdrawal of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from Kobani, a Kurdish-majority city in northeastern Syria, this day marked the birth of the Rojava revolution, finding its echoes regionally and globally.
Starting from Kobanî, by the 19 July 2012, democratic counter institutions that had been built over a long period finally came to power and the cornerstone of the autonomous project in north east Syria has been established. This groundbreaking progress in leading the community towards a gender-equal, ecological, federal democracy – what is defined as democratic confederalism by Abdullah Öcalan – was from the beginning led by women who made this a women’s revolution.
One of the women who has actively engaged in this revolution is Mizgîn Idris, a Kurdish YPJ fighter, who joined the revolution in 2013 from Ras aş-Ayn (Serêkaniyê). Idris has fought on many fronts and in one clash, she was heavily wounded, according to ANHA.
“It was a re-birth,” she said, describing the nature and form of the revolution. “I felt like I spread my wings to freedom when I joined the revolution. Joining the movement, getting to know Abdullah Öcalan’s ideas bring a whole new meaning to one’s life. That is when one can realise one’s own truth.”
According to Idris, the path towards liberation has never been easy for the people. “To fight for your country, for your people, for the children of your people on this path bears more than one meaning to me. This thought gives me great moral strength,” she said.
What if there had never been a revolution? For Idris: “Sometimes I think about that and I believe that if the revolution had not been accomplished, we would have been living a life far from our own truth.”
Idris took part in the liberation campaigns of Mebrûka, Kezwana Mountain, Silûk, Tell Abyad (Girê Spî), Ayn Îsa, Sirîn and Manbij in the ranks of the YPJ and said goodbye to the war fronts after she was paralysed in a conflict in Manbij.
“Us becoming war veterans is nothing like a fighting for a state and becoming a war veteran. Ours is a sacrifice. This sacrifice is an honour for us. I am honoured twice, being a woman war veteran. We have all made great sacrifices for this revolution. We have sacrificed our lives for our people, for our lands. Our lands are our mother,” she said.
Many things have been said, written and discussed about the Rojava revolution, but for Mizgîn Idris, who actually fought for this revolution, the experience has been life-changing: “I always knew that this was the path to liberation. The Rojava revolution has been a great source of morale for the oppressed peoples. Starting with the Kurdish people, this revolution has built a groundwork for the oppressed people.”