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John Dolva

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jin - kurdish word for women, jineoloji - womens studies
- The Kurdish Womens Liberation Movement is teaching a new way.
To get a better understanding of the movement, here are a series of articles drawn from Harvest, a site that gathers news from the Kurdish liberation struggles as the Kurds are leading the fight against ISIS today.

Making a women's revolution

We have some news concerning women’s struggles in Turkey and North Kurdistan today.
First, a teacher in Ankara has been sentenced to five months in prison for cutting a 12-year-old schoolgirl’s throat with a box cutter. Onur Özbek, a 35-year-old science class teacher at the Ülkü Ahmet Durusoy Secondary School in Ankara, received the five-month sentence for “deliberately injuring a person” and the school’s principal received the same sentence for not reporting a crime committed by a public servant, the Habertürk daily has reported.
The girl reportedly told the court that she had no previous disagreement with the teacher. “He was not even teaching us. He just came by as I was sitting at the canteen with my friends and touched my throat with the box cutter, saying he ‘slits throats, not wrists,’” she said.
Onur Özbek said in his defense that he accidentally scarred the schoolgirl’s throat with his nails, not the box cutter, which he admitted to have on him after he had confiscated one during a frisk of students. His lawyer maintained his client’s innocence by stressing that he was appointed as the deputy principal of another school in Ankara after the incident.
According to the newspaper report, Özbek had previously received a suspended sentence for injuring a student at another school. His latest conviction has not been suspended so he will be sent to prison if the ruling is approved by a higher court following an appeal.
“The Facebook page of the teacher shows that he is a fan of (Valley of the Wolves),” the report added, referring to a popular Turkish mafia drama. The show’s protagonist says that he slits throats, but never “slits the drill,” a Turkish expression that means “to put on airs.”
Then we have the news that women flooded the streets of Izmir with multilingual slogans and traditional erbane music as the World March of Women arrived in Izmir, the seventh stop in the international action.
Women arrived at the bank Eski Sümerbank yesterday evening for a welcome with the famous Kurdish slogan of the women's movement "jin, jiyan, azadî" (woman, life, freedom) written in five different languages. After dancing and erbane music, the women marched to Gündoğdu Square. Slogans in Kurdish and Turkish riffed on recent developments, including the scandal over the official Turkish language institute's definition of the word "available" as "easy to flirt with (women)." We have mentioned this previously on this blog.
"We're not available, we're feminists, we're in rebellion!" chanted the women as they took the streets of the Aegean city. The women had come from the border town of Nusaybin, across the border from Rojava, and will next head to Greece. "Our voices, our hearts, our peace, our sisterhood, our love, our freedom is one," said Sevim Fontaine, speaking on behalf of the World March of Women to the women of Izmir. "Women's strength comes from unity and this strength will tear down the walls built over us by patriarchy and capital."
Women danced local zeybek, horon and roman folk dances and an all-woman musical group performed. The March will tour the Selçuk and Şirince regions of Izmir in solidarity with local women's struggles.
We also have the very sad news that the bodies of two women shot to death were found on the Adana-Mersin highway today. The dead bodies of the two women were noticed by a truck driver who was on the way from Mersin to Hatay, near the Karahisalı toll bar on the Adana-Mersin highway, early in the morning. Police units conducted an initial investigation and said that one of the women had been shot in the head and the other in the chest and leg.
Finally, we have three reports on how women view the situation in North Kurdistan and Turkey now.
Argentine Popular Dignity Movement (Movimiento Popular La Dignidad, MPLD) activist Magdalena Roggi told the JIMHA news service that the fight of the Kurdish people, and especially of women, has much to teach movements in the rest of the world. She came to Kurdistan to attend the World March of Women, the Middle East Youth Conference that took place in Amed over the weekend and the historic Newroz celebrations in Diyarbakır with the goal of bringing home lessons for the struggle with capitalism, imperialism and patriarchy in Argentina. Her month-long stay will build connections of solidarity between Kurdistan and Latin America. "The Kurdish youth are very organized and have a clear goal: the freedom of the Kurdish people and to be able to build their society the way they want," she said.
The women's movement in Argentina struggles against femicide and male violence as well as the ban on abortion that disproportionately kills poor women forced to obtain abortions in unhealthy conditions, causing 30% of maternal deaths a year. Women's high level of organization is reflected in the annual National Women's Encounter, which draws 40,000 women to a different site every year.
Magdalena was impressed by the fundamental role of women for the Kurdish movement, which she says is rare among socialist movements. She spoke at the Middle East Youth Conference and said that seeing Kurdish youth fighting in the streets was moving. "In Argentina, we don't have a fight like this, of course," Magdalena said. "But the responsibility of the youth in Argentina is to wake up and start to fight—not just for public education, social services or for healthcare but also for a new society." She also said that the MPLD is focused on developing those conversations.
Egyptian activist Salma Said spoke to JINHA about the importance of events in Rojava as an example of how people of the Middle East can form alternative models for life. She came to the first Middle East Youth Conference with the goal of learning how to produce alternative ways of life in the Middle East from the Kurdish struggle. In a time when Egypt is dealing with the repression of its revolutionary hopes, she plans to make a short film documenting the Rojava revolution to screen in Egypt.
Salma is part of the campaign against military trials for civilians in Egypt and a founding member of the Mosireen media collective. Her relationship to Northern Kurdistan started in 2003, when she attended a conference of women of the Middle East. Salma later took part in the Gezi movement and followed the Kurdish movement closely throughout the 2011 revolutionary process in Egypt. Since the counter- revolutionary wave of 2014, she says, the movement has been in a period of recovery, focusing its energy on supporting those in jail and families of martyrs.
"This couple of years is a time for us to study different forms of struggle around the world. People want to know what's going on here in detail," Salma said.
Salma plans to make a short film about the alternative system of life being built in Rojava because media representations of events in Rojava are sparse and dominated by Daesh/ISIS propaganda. Salma said that she has been particularly repulsed by the media's objectifying representation of Kurdish women fighters. "They're photos of beautiful women with guns without any real understanding how they organize, how they participate in the fight," she explained. Salma wants to take a less objectifying approach that seriously investigates Kurdish women's organizing and the transformation of everyday life through resistance.
She says that from the beginning Egyptians wanted to create an alternative model that went beyond the Iranian and Turkish models that were presented as the only options for societies in the Middle East. Rojava has a particular appeal because self-organizing in the interstices of the state has always been part of Egyptians' daily praxis. "The Egyptian state does not exist as a state that gives services to the people. It's just a police state that exists to oppress people. So Egyptians have been organizing in different ways because the state is absent. I'm trying to look at this closely and see how we can self-organize to create different models in our own lives," Salma said.
Mosireen, the media collective that Salma helped found, is one example of the effort to create alternative social forms. The collective is based on non-hierarchical, consensus and participatory decision-making. It aims to open knowledge sources to the people, distributing all products under Creative Commons licenses.
The brutal repression of the Egyptian revolution has taught Egyptians that the unity brought out in crisis can fall apart under the pressure of world events, said Salma. Armed with this perspective, she and other Egyptians will be closely following the Rojava revolution.
Assyrian women's fearless battle against Daesh/ISIS attacks on Assyrian and Syriac villages in Til Temir has become legendary for the Assyrian women of Rojava, said Sîham Qirû, an Assyrian woman and an official in the Economic and Trade Ministry of Rojava's Cizîrê Canton. Sîham said that she came to the World March of Women to give the women of the world the good news that women in Rojava have accomplished a revolution and created a self-defense system.
Daesh/ISIS began their attacks aimed at the Assyrian and Syriac people starting with the February 22 assault on the Rojava city of Hesekê. In the ongoing attacks on Til Temir and Til Hemis, which resembled Daesh attacks on the Êzîdîs to the extent that they aimed to kidnap women and children, Kurdish and Assyrian forces worked together to defend the villages. Rojava’s People’s/women’s Defense Forces (YPG/J), the Syriac Military Council, the Xabûr Defense Units and Rojava Asayiş Forces have all taken part in the defense of the Rojava revolution, one in which all ethnic groups in Rojava take part.
Sîham spoke to JINHA in Nusaybin during the World March of Women and explained that Assyrian women in Rojava have fearlessly defended themselves and their communities against Daesh's masculinist and culturally genocidal violence. And just as Arîn Mîrxan has become the symbol of the Kobanê resistance, so has Widad Yûnan, an Assyrian woman, become symbolic for her defense of the house in which she lived alone. Widad killed five ISIS gang members who were attempting to take her house. "No one knows what happened to Widad Yûnan after that day," said Sîham. "All we know is that she has become symbolic for Assyrians." She also said that after this, Kurds, Arabs and Assyrians would form a united front. "The struggle of women in Rojava against Daesh gangs has demonstrated women's willpower and women's revolution," she said. "I think these Daesh gangs, who are a danger to all humanity, will receive their answer: all peoples' self-defense."
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