One woman’s revolt against the wall of shame

The female mayor of Nusaybin, Ayse Gokkan, has started a death fast among the mines between the border of Turkey and Syria.

Source: Kurdistan National Congress (KNK)

BDP MP fasting protest November 2013Ayşe Gökkan says: “by building if this wall of shame Turkey is not upholding the Ottowa Agreement which it is a signatory of. The wall is being constructed to maintain the minefield. The building of this wall is a crime. Despite the fact that I am the local mayor, I was not informed of this construction. The decision to build this wall is a political decision. This wall is being constructed to further divide the people of Kurdistan. This wall is not being built for ‘security reasons’ or ‘to prevent trafficking’, it is being built to separate the Kurdish people”.

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New research project on Kurdish women’s movement

A new research project by Roj Women will be launched in Autumn 2013. With the financial support of the Feminist Review Trust, Roj women will aim to further the study of the Kudish women’s movement. We are now accepting applications from research consultants. See the Terms of Reference here.

This is a key moment for the Kurdish people and their movement for liberation due to the peace process recently started in Turkey and the Syrian conflict. After decades of women’s participation in the Kurdish struggle is only now that feminism is starting to shape within the movement. Kurdish and feminist women’s organizations like Roj Women see this as an ideal opportunity to advance feminist perspectives within the movement on the one hand, and to visibilize these efforts among feminist and women’s movements internationally on the other hand.

fr trust logo

This project wouldn’t be possible without the financial support of our donors.

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Kurdish women fighting against female genital mutilation

Source: The Independent, written by Loveday Morris

As a nine-year-old growing up in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, Awezan Nuri narrowly escaped female genital mutilation. “My mother was 12 when she was mutilated,” says the 31-year-old women’s rights campaigner, who is also a renowned poet. “She has told me about the terrible pain, how much she bled that night and how ashamed she was to tell her family she was hurting. She couldn’t talk to her mother, because her mother was the one who’d taken her to be cut. She felt alone and scared.”

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Helping women is called ‘divisive activity’

Source: Feminkurd

The first hearing of an application by the Van Prosecutor’s Office to close down 10 organisations conducting activities within the city, including Van Women’s Association (VAKAD), was held in early April at the Van 3rd Court of First Instance. The case has been adjourned until 17 May 2013.  

The case statement which was submitted to the Van 3rd Court of First Instance and which contained reports by anonymous witnesses claimed that the organisations in question were instructed by other parties. Among these organizations was Van Women’s Association, which was founded in 2004 and the case file contains statements of anonymous witnesses about the organization as well as notes from the searches conducted.

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From Rosa to Sakine: the International Women’s Movement and the Struggle of Kurdish Women

Roj Women Association organized a panel for International Women Solidarity Day at the Kurdish Community Center in North London in the evening of Sunday 3 March. Our slogan, “From the Mirabal Sisters to Rosa, from Rosa to Sakine: your words are our words, your ways are our ways” reflected how the Kurdish Women see their struggle as connected to the struggle of women across the world.

By Selda Aksoy (Chair of Roj Women); edited by Virginia Lopez Calvo (Coordinator of Roj Women’s Association)

Reknown book author and journalist Deniz Bilgin  and the Chair of Amed [Diyarbakir] city, from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy party, Zubeyde Zumrut were joined by facilitator Turkan Budak, from Roj Women. The Co-Chair of the Western Kurdistan  Democractic Union Party, Sinem Muhammed, would have also joined the discussion but her visa was not approved on time.

A call for women’s struggles to remain united across the globe

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The Kurdish Women’s Liberation Movement and Virginia Woolf

An evening of discussion by Roj Women and Halkevi on Saturday 23 February

Where: Halkevi, 31 – 33 Dalston Lane, London, E8 3DF

When: Saturday 23 February from 4 pm

Why: Because International Women’s Day is approaching fast and Kurdish women and feminism have much to advance yet!

Halkevi will be delivering a free advice and information session about breast cancer before the discussion, starting at 3 pm. All welcome!

IWD 2012 III

Kurdistan’s Female Fighters

Since the beginning, Kurdish women have played an integral role in the Kurdish movement. They fight and they protest, they vote and they get elected to office. And somewhere along the way they achieved a (very complicated, highly controversial, maybe lasting or even replicable) liberation.

Source: Pulitzer Centre. by Jenna Krajeski

Kurdish female fightersOn January 9, three Kurdish women were shot to death in the office of the Kurdish Information Center on a busy Paris street close to the Gare du Nord. The murders came at the beginning of fragile peace talks between Turkish officials and Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned founder of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), and it seemed clear that they were meant to disrupt negotiations. So far, they haven’t. On the contrary, after the murders both sides adopted conciliatory rhetoric and mourners formed the largest pro-Kurdish public gathering permitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The murders have energized those calling for peace between Turkey and the Kurds. For Kurdish women, the murders tell two intertwined and equally important stories.

For almost 30 years the PKK has been fighting the Turkish Army, a war that has resulted in the death of over 40,000 Kurdish and Turkish fighters and civilians. It has divided the country, hardened long-held prejudices, and filled Turkey’s prisons. It has also brought the cultural and political demands of long-oppressed Kurds into focus, leading to some progress. The war has created Turkey’s most organized and vocal protest movement, not just in the mountains, but on the streets, in the parliament and in the home.

Since the beginning, Kurdish women have played an integral role in the Kurdish movement. They fight and they protest, they vote and they get elected to office. And somewhere along the way they achieved a (very complicated, highly controversial, maybe lasting or even replicable) liberation.

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Pınar Selek sentenced to life

Roj Women’s Association joins PEN International in condemning the life sentence served in late January against writer, sociologist and feminist Pınar Selek.

Source: PEN

See Roj Women’s Assembly statement about this case (in Turkish) below.

Selek is accused of involvement in an explosion over 14 years ago, although she has been acquitted three times previously. The decision was also made despite the conclusions of numerous experts that the 1998 explosion was a tragic accident caused by a leaking gas canister. Detained for two and a half years before being freed pending trial, Selek is now living abroad and the hearing was in absentia. An arrest warrant has been issued against her.

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New Book: The resistance of Kurdish women

Although the Kurdish Women’s Liberation Movement is unique in both its ideology and its scope, it does not get sufficient publicity. There are many reasons for this and one is that the foreign language publications about the women’s movement are very few in number. The book “Resistance and Experienced Utopias: Women’s Guerilla, Women’s Liberation and Democratic Confederalism in Kurdistan” meets this need for German-speaking countries. 

Source: Feminkurd

This book, which has been published by Mezopotamya Yayınları, is the most detailed work on the Kurdish Women’s Liberation Movement to date.

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