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‘Beacon of light’

Unite stands in solidarity with women of Rojava amid ‘an extraordinary revolution’
Ryan Fletcher, Friday, March 8th, 2019

On International Women’s day Unite has expressed solidarity with the women of Rojava in Northern Syria, who are living under the threat of constant danger and invasion.


Rojava is a bastion of progressive values in a country torn apart by a vicious dictatorship, religious extremists and the self-interested meddling of geo-political brokers.


It came into existence to prevent the civil war engulfing the communities of north east Syria after the Assad regime lost control of the country.


Rojava is home to a Kurdish population whose inspirational women not only have been key in the fight against the barbarism of Isis, they have also been instrumental in building a society with women’s rights and equalities at its core.


The most recent example of Rojava taking the lead in women’s rights in a region known for brutal patriarchy is a female only community established by the women of the Kurdish-run administration for the survivors of Yazidi genocide committed by ISIS.


Is it a sad fact that the progress made throughout Rojava in forming a haven from the subjugation and conflict that is currently the norm within Syria stands on a knife edge and will continue to do so until the war ends.


Nothing is certain, especially within the maelstrom of duplicitous alliances and international power-plays that dominate the bloodbath that is Syrian national politics as and, as pressingly, Turkey’s ongoing threats to invade Rojava.


Many women in Rojava feel cut off from the outside world and worry that their voices will be drowned out by the competing interests of the global and regional powers currently setting Syria’s future course.


Unite international officer Clare Baker hailed the women of Rojava.


“The women of Rojava in northern Syria have built a grassroots democratic structure, which puts front and centre equality and women’s rights,” she said.


“It is an extraordinary revolution that is a beacon of light not only in the region but to us in the trade union movement and of the left. On International Women’s Day it is important to stand in solidarity with the women of Rojava as well as the YPJ who have fought the barbarism of ISIS and fascist forces.


“As Abdullah Öcalan, the Kurdish leader and inspiration for the women’s revolution, writes – ‘A society can never be free without women’s liberation’.”


Unite has renewed its call for Öcalan’s immediate release this year, which marks the 20th year of his imprisonment by the oppressive Turkish government.


His continued detention in solitary confinement is all the more pertinent today on International Women’s Day, because it is Öcalan’s feminist writings that form the basis of the women’s revolution in Rojava.


Today, Unite also stands in solidarity with the incredibly brave Leyla Güven, the HDP MP in Turkey on hunger strike to end Öcalan’s isolation.


Find out more about the Freedom for Öcalan campaign, of which Unite is a founding member, here.


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