People in Reading take creative action to shine a spotlight on Turkey’s invasion of Syria

Squatted space opened in Reading to honour the 'heroic resistance' against the Turkish invasion of northeast Syria
Tom Anderson

A group of people in Reading have occupied the empty Red Lion pub on Southampton Street to create a political space to honour the ‘heroic resistance’ against the Turkish invasion of northeast Syria (aka Rojava). The pub has been renamed Kobanî House, named after the Rojavan city of Kobanî.

Call for solidarity against alleged war crimes and ethnic cleansing

Turkish-led forces invaded Rojava on 9 October. The NATO member has faced accusations of ethnic cleansing and war crimes, and its illegal invasion has so far killed over 300 civilians, created around 300,000 displaced people, and allowed hundreds of Daesh (Isis/Isil) supporters to escape detention.

The occupation of the Red Lion has been timed to coincide with a day of global resistance planned for Saturday 2 November. Demonstrations are planned across the British Isles and all over the world.

Why Kobanî?

As The Canary previously reported, Daesh (Isis/Isil) besieged the blockaded city of Kobanî in late 2014 as Turkey watched from across the border. But the city’s local defence forces resisted for longer than expected, eventually defeating Daesh. This got the world’s attention, and the city became an icon of Rojava’s resistance.

Statement from the Kobanî House occupiers

A statement received by The Canary from one of the occupiers said:

In solidarity with the Kurdish Freedom Movement, we decided to open this building to temporarily create an educational and social space for people to learn about the [Rojava] revolution. We have been tidying up and hope to make Kobanî House a welcoming place for anyone to visit.

Jin, Jiyan Azadi – Women, Life, Freedom! A Kurdish revolutionary slogan
‘European countries are funding this genocide’

Another statement from Kobanî House calls for increased international solidarity:

The recent invasion of Rojava by the fascist Turkish state has made the need for international solidarity even more crucial. European countries, especially the UK, France, and Germany, are funding this genocide by entering into multi-million-pound military trade deals with Turkey

The statement goes on:

[Turkey’s invasion] is a violation of international human rights. White phosphorous, an internationally banned chemical weapon, is being used against civilians across the region. Turkey is attempting to ethnically cleanse the area in a war against Kurds and other groups. The region of Rojava has been a beacon of hope internationally for democracy and women’s rights, with cooperative economy and neighbourhood councils forming the basis of social organisation.

Featured images via the Kobanî House occupiers (with permission)

Get involved

Tom Anderson is part of the Shoal Collective, a cooperative producing writing for social justice and a world beyond capitalism. Twitter: @shoalcollective

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  • Show Comments
    1. Empires have come, and gone for at least 500 years but the Kurdish people still maintain their integrity as a viable culture.
      It’s time for these leaders of Empires to understand this Kurdish culture is far stronger than what they have to offer the world through wars.
      Time to think an entirely different way , and establish a Kurdish State with new logic as to why this ought to happen.
      It hasn’t worked till now, and won’t ever.
      Its curious, culture is spoken of only in relation if were only an art gallery scene then.
      What kind of ignorance do the wealthy have to be so unimaginative in conducting human relations in refusing to experiment, and learn hgow to make the world a better place to live in.
      This class of leadership only knows War and appears without any courage for practice creative reasoning.

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