Monday, March 6, 2017

'Every free woman is a free country': YPJ statement for International Women's Day

Rojava's Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) General Command has released a statement marking March 8th, International Women’s Day. The statement was made in the presence of dozens of YPJ fighters and commanders in Serêkaniyê on Monday.

The statement by the YPJ General Command paid tribute to the history of the women's struggle and began by commemorating the women who had started it.

“On 8 March 1857, 129 labouring women working in factories were burned alive because of their reaction to inhumane working conditions. While the mindset that burns women is persisting in somes areas of the world today, the resistance that women have initiated against it continues to struggle to destroy this mentality," the statement read.

"As YPJ, we celebrate the 107th World Working Women’s Day with all the world’s and Middle Eastern women, the mothers of martyrs and freedom fighters.

"As we leave behind the 107th year, women are carrying on the March 8th resistance with great courage in the leadership of Roza Luxembourg, Clara Zetkin, Zarif, Besê, Leyla Qasim, Berîtan, Sîlan, Zilan, Sara, Arîn Mîrkan, Özgür Efrîn, Jiyan Rojhilat and Destina Ba?ûr. At this time when women’s resistance is rising, as YPJ, we repeat the promise on this year’s anniversary and express respect to all the martyrs who have fallen in this struggle. In this context, we express that the women’s struggle will grow even more."

"Today we continue seeing that male mentality and governments see women as property all over the world, especially in the Middle East, where governments regard women as spoils of war. This mentality is trying to make the patriarchal system permanent by imposing it on women; which means we always have to be ready for the struggle."

"The YPJ, with its libertarian mentality, has struggled relentlessly in the Rojava Revolution for seven years. The YPJ has taken historic steps and made significant progress. It has gained political will and is bringing to life the democratic nation mentality [anti-nationalist, anti-capitalist and women's liberation]. At the same time as creating the foundations for a free and equal life, the YPJ continues to crown the revolution with new tactics and approaches in the military sphere, becoming a great power."

"The awareness that “Every free woman is a free country” is the YPJ’s most fundamental principle and task. The YPJ managed to save thousands of Arab, Kurdish, Syriac and Yazidi women from the  occupation and fascism of Daeh (Islamic State), is also celebrating 8th of March with the goal of liberating Raqqan women and children from the oppression of Daesh. We will gift this achievement to the martyrs of March 8th and all women.

"It is much better understood now that the strongest woman is the woman who organises and defends herself. With the experience gained during the 7 years of the Rojava revolution and the historical heritage it is based on, the YPJ is able to spread this knowledge to all women."

The YPJ called on all women to unite their struggles for freedom and said they had determined the principles of this struggle under 7 headings.

1) Our leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has a national and historical role in the struggle for developing women’s freedom, has been held captive by an international conspiracy and is under inhumane torture and heavy isolation for 18 years [in a Turkish prison]. [We call on women] to raise their voice against this torture and isolation and approach this issue as one of their main duties.

2) Women in the Middle East today are facing massacre in the existential, cultural, and security spheres. A common security and defence mechanism as well as effective resistance against this danger must be established. Every woman should wage an ideological struggle against all kinds of sovereignty and domination, especially against Daesh, and should have a basic duty of growing women’s defence.

3) The YPJ is ready to share its experiences with all women who have the courage to resist.

4) Women and children are the biggest victims of all wars and conflicts. They are affected in the spheres of migration, economy, defence and social life. In order to defend the rights of women and children, every woman must fight and stand against this victimisation.

5) The YPJ is not only the defence force of Kurdish women but all women in Rojava. Many fighters from different nations and belief groups fight in the ranks of the YPJ and many of them have been martyred. The essence of the YPJ is an internationalist defence force and this needs to be further enlarged and strengthened.

6) As women who have achieved much we face serious and grave threats. We call on all women to strengthen their struggle for the creation of a democratic nation by eliminating these threats. Every woman can contribute and achieve a great deal.

7) We believe we can destroy this dominant male mentality only by struggling together and that we can create a democratic mentality, moral culture and free life as we defeat it. We celebrate all women's March 8th.

Source: ANF

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