Respecting the local people in Syria who led the fight against Daesh
In late 2014, Daesh (Isis/Isil) besieged the blockaded city of Kobanî in northern Syria as NATO ally Turkey watched from across the border. But the city’s local defence forces resisted for much longer than anyone expected, eventually defeating Daesh. And this got the world’s attention.
Your work in celebrating film, and recognising the power of cinema to bring people together, while you have faced the most unspeakable suffering, is truly inspirational.
And he insisted:
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Your political achievements are respected around the world and there are many who support you in their hearts, though you may never hear from them.
Never forget those achievements
Kurdish-led defence forces in northern Syria (aka Rojava) have been among the “most effective” ground forces in the battle against Daesh. And at the same time, these militias have been protecting the formation of a democratic system; one that is secular, feminist, multi-ethnic, and which opposes all religious discrimination. As The Canary previously reported, this system is actively encouraging the growth of an inspirational co-operative economy.
Not all is plain sailing, though. Amid almost total destruction in Kobanî in 2014, the US finally decided to give strategic support to these forces in their fight against Daesh after isolating them for years. But to this day, there is still no meaningful political commitment from the West. And while these forces have played a key role in defeating Daesh in Syria, the West still allows its Turkish allies to attack them.
The Kurdish population is split mostly between Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria; all thanks to colonial interference from Britain and France at the start of the 20th century. And Turkey is currently at war with Kurdish communities at home and abroad because of their demands for self-determination. According to the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, the state has committed numerous war crimes in the process.
Stand up for self-determination
Loach has previously been a vocal critic of Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine. And his solidarity now with the Kurdish people, who have long lived under brutal occupation too, should inspire others on the left to follow his lead. Because we should extend our solidarity around the world to everyone who suffers under occupation.
As Loach said, many people may respect the “political achievements” of the mostly Kurdish communities in northern Syria, but “you may never hear from them”. So the challenge is clear. Wherever powerful states deny people the right to freedom and self-determination, we should raise our voices and show our support. Because there is no excuse for remaining silent.
Featured image via screenshot
– In the UK, ask Theresa May and your MP to recognise and support Rojava, and to stop selling arms to countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey (which have been fuelling the Syrian conflict from the very start). In the US, contact your representative and senator.
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