Pkk Photo Essay

Founded in 1978 as a revolutionary Marxist-Leninist organization, the PKK had for thirty years been waging an insurgent war on behalf of the roughly 15 million Kurds living in Turkey who have suffered a long history of violence.For decades, Turkey has prohibited Kurds from speaking their own language, wearing customary dress, using Kurdish names, teaching the Kurdish language in schools, or even playing Kurdish music.We’d talk about everything and everyone—friends, family, and thinkers from Karl Marx and Karl Polanyi (whom he admired) to then-president George W.

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The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Iraq created the first female unit in 1996.

In Syria, the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) was founded in 2013 as the autonomous armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and female equivalent of the People’s Protection Unit (YPG).

Viyan, whose story is one of the main focuses of the report, says she joined the guerilla fighters at 18 without informing her family because it was a way to get out of her upcoming marriage.

Her father was against the decision, saying that “In our culture, we don’t like freedom of women. However, this is what the party wants.” Viyan’s sister, who is married with children, wishes she had done the same: “She is risking her life but at least she has peace and quiet.”Instead of taking an orientalist-like fascination in these female fighters, we should acknowledge that Kurdish women have long been fighting for their rights as part of Kurdish nationalist movements.

He paused, and out of the blue disclosed what seemed an odd piece of news: “Apparently,” he said, “the Kurds have been reading my work and are trying to implement my ideas.” He said it so casually and off-handedly that it was as if he didn’t quite believe it himself.

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My father, eighty-three years old at the time, had spent six decades writing hundreds of articles and twenty-four books articulating an anticapitalist vision of an ecological, democratic, egalitarian society that would eliminate the domination of human by human, and bring humanity into harmony with the natural world, a body of ideas he called “social ecology.” Although his work was well-known within anarchist and libertarian left circles, his was hardly a household name.Unexpectedly, that week, he had received a letter from an intermediary writing on behalf of the jailed Kurdish activist Abdullah Öcalan, head of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).As its co-founder, sole theoretician, and undisputed leader, Öcalan had a larger-than-life reputation—but nothing about his ideology seemed in any way to resemble my father’s.Today, female recruits, like men, take up arms to protect their people and other minorities from ISIS and chase the extremist group from what they consider as their territories.Often seen wearing their hair loose or in a ponytail, carrying Kalashnikovs, they look young, determined and at least as courageous as their male counterparts., who usually depict them as heroic, highly trained combatants willing to sacrifice their lives to defeat the brutal invader that is ISIS.In the chaos of the Middle East, these female fighters appear as a light in the dark.At least that’s what the media is trying to tell us.Iraqi Kurdish female fighter Haseba Nauzad and Yazidi female fighter Asema Dahir aim their weapon near the frontline of the fight against Islamic State militants near Mosul, Iraq, April 20, 2016.REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah Women have been a part of the Kurdish military forces in Iraqi Kurdistan and the People’s Protection Unit in the Kurdish region of Syria for decades, fighting alongside men to achieve the nationalistic goals of Kurdish rebel movements.It is also in stark contrast with the way women are treated in Saudi Arabia or Iran.We are therefore fascinated by these women not only because of their courage, but also because they defy our often mistaken idea of the subdued Middle Eastern women who need to be saved.

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