Celebrating Kurdish Women: ‘Today, They Rewrite Their Own History’

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by Naila Bozo
March 8, 2015
Alliance for Kurdish Rights

Today, people are celebrating International Women’s Day. To some it is a day to celebrate women like Mother’s Day but to others it is a day to mark women’s past, present and future struggle to achieve empowerment and equality with men.

This year’s international theme is “Make it happen” and in Kurdistan, the women are doing just that.

They are fighting in the face of the oppressive Turkish, Iranian and Syrian regimes and the inhumane terrorist group Islamic State straddling Syria and Iraq while battling the patriarchal traditions and notions of their own society.

In an effort to raise awareness about the Kurdish women movement I asked Kurdish rights activists Dilar Dirik, PhD student focusing on the Kurdish women’s movement, Tara Fatehi, spokesperson for the Kurdistan Human Rights Network and Lawen Azad, former journalist to talk about women’s rights in West Kurdistan/Rojava (Kurdish regions in Syria), East Kurdistan (Kurdish regions in Iran) and South Kurdistan (Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq), respectively. A True Revolution

“Kurdish women have been marginalized and oppressed by so many factors, be it states, their own community or their intimate family – they had long been forgotten and written off among the many wretched and invisible beings in world history. The women in Rojava were even unnoticed among many Kurds. Just when they lost everything, like phoenixes, they magnificently emerged out of their ashes and today, they are seen as fearless torches of freedom by millions of people. But unlike phoenixes, they do not want to be trapped in a circle that perpetuates their old state of existence. They will not return to being ashes. They are now setting their own terms of existence and communalize their struggle. They speak autonomously on their own behalf. They will not remain silent even if this means to challenge their own community and family. This may sound like romanticism, but considering the social realities of Kurdistan, the Middle East, and the whole world, this women’s struggle is true revolution in every sense. This is a source of pride. But not the meaningless kind of pride for belonging to a random community. It is a pride in labor, achievement, insistence, struggle, resistance, sacrifice, and revolution. Kurdish women have always been defined and essentialized by others. Today, they rewrite their own history.”

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