Power to the people: a Syrian experiment in democracy

Error message

  • Notice: Undefined offset: 0 in similarterms_list() (line 221 of /usr/local/www/apache24/htdocs/infoshopnews/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
  • Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in similarterms_list() (line 222 of /usr/local/www/apache24/htdocs/infoshopnews/sites/all/modules/similarterms/similarterms.module).
RSS icon
Reddit icon
e-mail icon

Perhaps the last place you would expect to find a thriving experiment in direct democracy is Syria. But something radical is happening, little noticed, in the eastern reaches of that fractured country, in the isolated region known to the Kurds as Rojava.

Just as remarkable, perhaps, is that the philosophy that inspired self-government here was originated by a little-known American political thinker and one-time “eco-activist” whose ideas found their way to Syria through a Kurdish leader imprisoned upon an island in the Sea of Marmara. It’s a story that bizarrely connects a war-torn Middle East with New York’s Lower East Side.

I visited Rojava last month while filming a documentary about the failings of the western model of democracy. The region covers a substantial “corner” of north-east Syria and has a population of approximately 3m, yet it is not easy to get to. The only passage is by small boat or a creaky pontoon bridge across the Tigris from Iraq.

Turkey has closed its borders with Rojava, preventing all movement from the north, including humanitarian supplies to Kurdish-controlled areas. To the south, in Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government does not make access easy; permits for journalists are not straightforward and, we were told, repeat visits are discouraged.

The isolation is not only physical. Turkey regards the Syrian Kurd YPG militia that is fighting the jihadi organisation Isis in Rojava as synonymous with the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK), a longstanding enemy inside Turkey.

Read more

Article category: 
Subject Tags: 
Rate this article: 
Average: 1 (2 votes)