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Kurdistan

Manbij Democratic Civil Administration Legislative Assembly councillor: 'We have organized our own life with great hope'

 

 

By Bêrîtan Sarya & Axin Tolhildan

 

July 12, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from ANF NewsEmel Dede is a representative of the Turkmen people in the Manbij Democratic Civil Administration Legislative Assembly Council.

 

She said that the whole society has the right to work for, take part and to be represented in the autonomous administration. 

 

Turkey: After Afrîn, the Ottoman dreaming of Sultan Erdoğan

 

 

By John Tully

 

May 9, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Tasmanian Times  — On March 18, Turkish troops supported by a 10,000-strong horde of Islamist militiamen stormed into the city of Afrîn in northern Syria. After an unequal eight-week struggle against the Middle East’s most powerful military force, the city’s lightly armed Kurdish defenders had little choice but to melt away and fight another day.

 

The city’s fall was inevitable. Afrîn is isolated from Kobanê and Jazira, the other predominantly Kurdish cantons to the east, and the Kurds had gambled unsuccessfully on international support against the illegal invasion. This was not unreasonable. The invasion was patently illegal, and the world also owes the Syrian Kurds a debt of gratitude for their sacrifices in ridding it of the cancer of ISIS.

 

Sadly, almost all of the world’s governments turned a blind eye to the aggression. Some of them directly or indirectly aided the Turkish aggressor.

 

The Kurdish movement for radical change in Syria and the broader Middle East

 

 

By Chris Slee

 

A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State
By Meredith Tax
Bellevue Literary Press
New York 2016

 

April 3, 2018
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal When Meredith Tax saw pictures of gun-toting Kurdish women defending the northern Syrian town of Kobane against Daesh (so-called "Islamic State") in 2014, she was inspired to find out more. This book is the eventual outcome of her research.

 

The female fighters of the YPJ (Women's Protection Units) are part of a movement aimed at radical change in Syria and the broader Middle East. Tax explores the history of this movement in the context of the history of the Kurdish people.

 

Amedspor: resistance is everywhere

 

 

By Steve Sweeney

 

February 8, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The RegionAmedspor football club was little known outside of Turkey and the Kurdish diaspora until its captain and star player Deniz Naki was shot at on a German autobahn in January 2018.

 

Vanguards of Humanity: Why I support Afrin & the Rojava Revolution

 

 

By Marcel Cartier

 

January 26, 2018 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Region — The dark clouds of 21st-century fascism are once again hanging over the heads of the people of northern Syria. As if the inhabitants of the region often referred to as Rojava haven’t suffered enough over the course of the past 7 years of war, the Turkish state has come to the conclusion that the time is ripe to pick up the fallen, bloodied sword from the corpse that is Islamic State. Together with Salafist mercenaries carrying flags of the Syrian ‘rebels’ – one of the many components of what at one historical juncture seemingly all so long ago was a cohesive ‘Free Syrian Army’ – Erdogan’s regime vows a ‘swift operation’ to destroy ‘terrorism’ in Afrin.

 

It is Afrin that has been a beacon of stability in Syria over the course of the war, not only taking in tens of thousands of refugees from elsewhere in the country, but establishing the principles of direct democracy, women’s liberation and ecology in the midst of an otherwise catastrophic and tumultuous period. It is precisely this model of a socialistic, multi-ethnic, feminist canton advocated by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) that Erdogan’s AKP government sees as ‘terrorism’. The irony could not be more obvious.

 

Syria: Solidarity with Afrin, al-Ghouta, Idlib against all military attacks

 

 

By Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists

 

January 23, 2018
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists Since January 20, 2018, Turkish military assisted by pro-Turkish Syrian opposition militia groups have launched a large scale air and ground offensive, dubbed "Operation Olive Branch" on Afrin province located in northwest Syria with a Kurdish majority population and controlled by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People’s Protection Units (YPG). At least 30 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the operation.

 

Geopolitics of Syrian Kurds and military cooperation with the US

 

 

By Ercan Ayboga

 

December 4, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from ANF English — How did the US end up supporting the Kurds in Rojava?

 

Since October 2014 the Syrian Kurds and their non-Kurdish Allies have discussed military cooperation with the US-led Global Coalition against the “Islamic State” (IS). Towards the end of 2014, the mainly Kurdish People’s/Women’s Defense Units (YPG/YPJ) defended Kobanî, nowadays the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes ten thousand non-Kurds in its ranks, have liberated Raqqa, the de facto IS capital and the eastern parts of the Deir Ez-Zor province. Many leftist and progressive organizations and movements around the world have discussed and were divided about this military cooperation due to the historically contradictory ideological positions of the two forces. On the one hand there are those including some within the Kurdish solidarity organisations, who voiced concerns that the revolution of Rojava could lose its emancipative-liberating value and independent stance. On the other hand, critics think that the SDF is already instrumentalized by the US and has betrayed the revolution.

 

Anti-imperialists must understand the relationship between the Syrian Democratic Forces and US

 

 

By Marcel Cartier

 

December 2, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from The Region — On October 17, the Syrian Democratic Forces announced the liberation of Raqqa from the reactionary forces of the Islamic State after the so-called ‘Great Battle’ in which over 600 of their comrades lost their lives. The freeing of the city from the region’s most brutal fascistic group was a great moment of jubilation for the forces of the SDF, both in its Arab militias and the predominately Kurdish-forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ).

 

Understanding Abdullah Ocalan

 

 

The Political Thought of Abdullah Ocalan: Kurdistan, Woman's Revolution and Democratic Confederalism
Pluto Press 2017

 

Reviewed by Chris Slee

 

November 19, 2017 
— Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Abdullah Ocalan has been held in a Turkish prison on Imrali Island since 1998. For most of that time he has been kept in solitary confinement. Access to lawyers and family members has been limited and sometimes cut off altogether for long periods. At the time of writing, access to Ocalan is completely blocked, with no contact whatsoever since September 2016.

 

Ocalan is considered the leader of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party). His isolation means that he cannot participate in the party's day-to-day decision making, but his ideas are taken as the basis for the political strategy of the PKK in Turkey and similar groups in Syria, Iraq and Iran.

 

Despite the difficult conditions of prison life, Ocalan has written extensively while in prison. This book's four chapters are articles by Ocalan written at different times.

 

The first chapter, “War and Peace in Kurdistan”, begins with a brief history of the Kurdish people from prehistoric times to the present day.

 

July 19 Revolution: a start towards a federal, democratic Syria

 

 

By Noursham Ibrahim

 

September 7, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Cooperative Economy The July 19th Revolution, whose spark started in Kobanî [Kobanê / Ayn al-Arab] in 2012, soon echoing in the region and the world, has achieved considerable victories on the military, political, and social levels during the last five years ─ achieving unique progress in leading the community towards democracy and federalism, perceived by observers as the best solution not only for Syria, but also for the stalemate in the communities of the Middle East.

 

‘No racism here’: Modern Turkey and the question of race and national identity

 

 

Fenerbahçe fans pointing bananas to Galatasaray players, 
Didier Drogba and Emmanuel Eboue

 

By Bulent Gokay[1] and Darrell Whitman[2]

 

ABSTRACT: Many in Turkey, including its political leaders, don’t accept there is racism in Turkey. They will say they are proud of their traditional hospitality and generosity towards foreigners. Similarly, academic accounts also generally assume Turkish nationalism is neither ethnic nor cultural nationalism, but rather an inclusive civic nationalism. We directly challenge this conviction by arguing there is a dark side of Turkish nationalism, based on clear evidence there is an ethnic and racial discourse that shaped Turkish nationalism from the early years of the republic, and that this discourse plays a significant role in defining modern 21st Century Turkish nationalism. Thus, this modern Turkish nationalism includes, rather than excludes, an ethnic and racially defined narrative, which is a central tenet in defining modern Turkish identity.

 

The freedom to say “No”: Interview with dismissed Turkish academic and Yeniyol editor Uraz Aydin

 
 

Introductory note by LeftEast editors

 

March 31, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from LeftEast – For the last several months in Turkish politics, the party-state’s agenda has been dominated by two interconnected operations: consolidation of power and elimination of opposition.

Fake news about the Rojava revolution

 
 

By Nick Fredman

 

March 28, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – Sharply different opinions have developed among the radical left in recent years towards the Syrian radical democratic movement led by the Democratic Union Party (PYD) — an initially Kurdish-based force which through a series of political and military struggles and alliances has recently formed the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, as a model for a multi-ethnic, non-sectarian, federal and socially just alternative for the nation and the region. Some on the international left have accused this movement of human rights abuses, political repression and collaboration with the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al-Assad.

 

I was prompted to write the present notes in response to two articles by Roy Gutman in the US Nation magazine (here and here). But as these articles both sum up and are fairly extreme examples of the left criticisms of the PYD-led movement, it makes sense to discuss some background and previous articles before taking up Gutman.

 

The Kurdish struggle – An interview with Dilar Dirik

 
 

Dilar Dirik interviewed by George Souvlis, first published at Salvage

 

George Souvlis: By way of introduction, could you explain what personal experiences strongly influenced you, politically and academically?

 

Dilar Dirik: As a Kurd, you can never run from your identity, because your identity is essentially political and the level of your political consciousness acts as a self-defense as the only way to secure your survival and existence. That is why insistence on the free expression of your self-determined identity is portrayed as political controversy, nationalism, or terrorism by the capitalist-statist system.

 

Syria: A confederal or theocratic revolution?

 
 

By Davide Grasso

 

March 15, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from InfoAUTWhen Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire on December 17, 2010 – few of us knew the dimensions of what was about to happen. North Africa and Southwest Asia were ticking time-bombs waiting to explode, waiting to manifest, sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly, deep contradictions and new paths towards the future. Few among us were aware of how unprepared we were for these events and, initially, for developing a solid analysis of what was happening beyond the Mediterranean.

 

At the time, a friend told me: "These 'springs' have swept away the Salafis from the history of those countries denying that tendency to be the dominant one among the youth." The following events, up to the present ones, demonstrate how incomplete and one-sided this impression was. We were projecting our expectations on the events. We did not analyze the facts in all their complexity, for what they were, albeit in their ambivalence; we looked at them for what we wanted them to be.

 

US policy in Syria: Confused or just confusing?

 
 

By Tony Iltis

 

February 27, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, the US has been involved, at first, through arming and supporting groups opposing the dictatorship of Bashar Assad, and supporting allies in the region doing likewise; and since 2014, through its direct involvement in leading an international coalition in an air war against ISIS.

 

Small numbers of US Special Forces and CIA operatives are also in Syria, supporting different, mutually antagonistic groups in the multi-sided conflict.

 

The US role in Syria often appears confused and contradictory. This seems set to increase under the new US administration.

 

Women’s cooperatives: A glimpse into Rojava’s economic model

 

 

By Hawzhin Azeez

 

February 2, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Kurdish Question — Zahra Shexo bends over her sewing machine and meticulously, but expertly allows the course material to run through her fingers and under the pointed needle of the machine. The sound of over a dozen women’s laughter and conversation intermixes with the repetitive mechanical sounds of the sewing machines in the large room. The sewing room is a Kaleidoscope of different coloured materials, samples, threads and other necessary sewing items. Zahra is the current administrator of the textile cooperative Amargi in Kobane city.

 

Women's Defense Units (YPJ) spokeswoman: 'We also fight for a mental and intellectual liberation'

 

 

January 18, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from ANF English –– YPJ (Women's Defense Units) Spokeswoman Nesrin Abdullah described Raqqa operation that was launched at the end of 2016 and led by the YPJ as the operation to avenge all women, and said “Raqqa’s liberation is also the liberation of mentalities. Because as the women of the YPJ, we aim not only liberation from ISIS but also a liberation of mentality and thoughts. Democratic culture and fraternal life must be deepened because war is not only the liberation of land. We are also fighting for the liberation of women and men. If not, the patriarchal system will prevail once again.

 

A Kurdish response to climate change

 

 

By Anna Lau, Erdelan Baran, and Melanie Sirinathsingh

 

November 23, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Open Democracy — For 4000 years since the breakdown of the Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia, almost every major societal collapse has featured five trends: spiralling migration, state collapse, food shortages, epidemic disease and climate change.[1] What makes the present era distinct is that whilst previous collapses have been geographically contained, the globalisation of carbon-intensive industry since the 1800s and particularly over the last four decades means that the relationship between cause and effect has been obscured. Many of the people worst impacted by human-caused climate change today are also the least responsible for it. The Climate Stories project believes that averting further damage and building a different future means being led by those who are the first to hear the earth rise up in protest, have considered the causes and are innovating solutions. In this spirit, this article documents reflections from a series of conversations with members of the Kurdish movement on climate change.

 

Exploring the roots of a 21st century ‘climate crisis’

 

Kurds and Turks are at the edge of a cliff: An interview with arrested Kurdish women’s rights activist Ayla Akat

 

 

Nadje al-Ali and Latif Tas interview Ayla Akat

 

November 4, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Open Democracy — Ayla Akat, lawyer, former Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) MP for Batman, KJA Spokesperson and prominent Kurdish women’s rights activists based in Diyarbakir (Amed) was arrested a few days ago alongside other Kurdish women’s rights activists.

 

They were protesting against the illegal arrest of Gültan Kışanak, co-mayor of Diyarbakir, who has been detained together with the city’s male co-mayor, Fırat Anlı. In addition, 27 elected Kurdish co-mayors are in prison in Turkey, while 43 of them were dismissed. On 11 September 2016, the central government appointed deputy governors as trustees to replace the dismissed Kurdish mayors who were elected by more than 70% of the public vote.

 

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