The question on ‘How to find solutions for our problems?’ is a really essential topic of our time. Social problems require social solutions. “If we don’t educate ourselves we will just repeat what has been done before and nothing will change. If we don’t go at the root of the problems we will never be able to find real solutions”. With this spirit, and after the collective reading of Reber Apo’s book Sociology of Freedom, more than 150 young people came together, for the first youth conference focused on the methods of the paradigm, named “With the methods of Sociology of Freedom we will solve the problem of the youth”. The Kurdish, Arab and Armenian youth has joined from all areas of NES. From more than 74 cities and villages, and from different organizations. Some friends from the Internationalist Commune have also participated and have shared here their reflections.
The conference has seen the alternation of seminars and discussions about the struggle of Rêber Apo and some of the problems that are currently most affecting the youth of the region. In order to find solutions for them, in particular underage marriage, fleeing and migration, and the use of drugs have been discussed.
Beside the military attacks, the population of North-East Syria and its revolution are, since more than 11 years, at the center of a heavy special warfare (psychological, economical, cultural etc.). In this framework women and the youth, the vanguards of the revolution are particularly targeted. What the capitalist system, firstly embodied by the Turkish state, seeks to deepen is the ongoing societycide. This term was created by Rêber Apo to refer to the annihilation of society, destruction of its social fabric, its identity, erase of its history. Confronted with this, what the youth of the region are doing everyday, is struggling against this enemy, in order to build a democratic society and a free life. During this conference the determination showed by the youth to fight on one side the feudalism present in the region, and on the other, the influence of capitalist modernity, has given us a lot of strength.
The first problem that has been discussed was underage marriage. Analyzing the reality of the region, it has clearly emerged how patriarchy, in the form of feudalism, had used religion to legitimize a life-cage for women. A model of how a woman should be, how her life should be. Silent, submissive, serving in the house (cooking cleaning, taking care of children, and the elderly). In front of the search of many women for a different life, capitalist modernity has answered manipulating the idea of freedom, especially through social-media, creating new models of how a woman should be, how her life should look like. But what does a young woman from the Middle East see when she opens Instagram or Facebook? She is bombarded with gender-sexist contents, showing marriage as main goal to achieve. Early marriage and self-sexualization are shown as modern, symbols of progress and “freedom”. With the liberal idea of “Everything you want, you can do it” women are manipulated to think that marriage is their greatest desire. In this way capitalist modernity pushes women, again, inside the same cage of slavery. But with the illusion that this time it’s their “free” choice. Moreover, with the idea of “I want my freedom, to make my own choices” the system pushes individualism and competition between women, in order to break the unity among them and make them isolated and weaker. As an answer, the youth have reaffirmed that the philosophy of Rêber Apo, the science of Jineoloji and the principles of women’s liberation, will be the foundation of their struggle. Something very important has also been the will of “starting from ourselves”, from our own family, challenging the patriarchal mentality within it, and bring instead the principles of women’s liberation, democratic family and Hevjiiyana Azad1. This, next to the organization of seminars and educations on women’s liberation, is the way chosen by the youth. This is how they are showing what it means to put in practice the methods of Sociology of Freedom.
Fleeing and migration of the youth, direct consequences of Turkish long-time total warfare, have also been discussed. The continuous threat of invasion, the tension created by the almost daily drone strikes and the economic warfare aim to break the moral of the people and weaken the relation with their land. Making people flee is a strategical step in the colonialist vision of the Turkish state. Especially in a region where the main strength is the resistance of the people, an empty land is easier to occupy. The answer elaborated by the youth is multi-polar. As youth, we have to ask ourselves which world do we want? And, for who do we want it? Just for us, or for everyone? The main perspective elaborated as an answer, by the youth, regards the development of people’s economy, on the basis of democratic modernity. Advancing with the system of cooperatives will be the way to reply to the economical issue. This struggle also means to re-build a deep and truly love for the land, highlighting the indivisible relation between defense of land and society’s self-defense. Beside this, deconstructing the narrative of finding a “better life” abroad, exposing the lies hidden in it, also plays an important role.
In a context of physical and psychological attacks, an additional weapon that is especially used against the youth are drugs. We know very well how also in Europe the spread of drugs, in particular in political environments, is a destructive tool for hundreds of thousands of young people that are searching for perspectives, answers, searching for a community in which being able to share their contradictions, fears and dreams. Drugs have been used as a tool by Nation-states to break revolutionary movements for a long time. Now this is again clearly visible in the region, where both the Turkish and Syrian regimes, through agents and mercenaries, are pushing drugs into North-east Syria. The importance of increasing awareness about it has emerged among the youth. This will not regard only the health effects but will expose how drugs are part of the wider war on society carried on by the system to kill the youth and their spirit, to kill the will and strength of change, to make people dumb and passive.
In all these cases the role of special warfare has emerged as crucial. Of fundamental importance is, therefore, to deepen the understanding of how the system is trying to break the moral of the society and its resistance, substituting at its place individualism and liberalism. In this process the role of so-called ‘social’ media has also been seen as a very powerful tool of manipulation. Labeling many things as backward, the system wants to distance people, and especially the youth, from their roots, it wants to show itself as the only possible alternative, and for this it needs to create fake images of the life in capitalist modernity and make society believing in it. As an answer to all these attacks, the youth have replied expressing their will to increase the level and the strength of social organization, “from village to village, commune to commune, visiting the families and organizing them.” with the aim of re-building a stronger spirit of communality. Also through sport, artistic and cultural activities more and more young people will be involved. All of this would have no basis, methods and perspectives without the philosophy of Rêber Apo, that’s why deepening its understanding is necessary. The will of bringing the paradigm more inside the society, closer to the youth, making it more and more accessible, will be pursued through the organization of seminars, meetings and conferences. The enthusiasm at the end of the discussion has also led to the proposal that a conference like this will yearly be organized.
“A Revolutionary is one who loves life so much that they cannot accept less than a free life, for everyone. A Revolutionary is one who is always looking for solutions to the problems of society” in this vision, these young people, with their level of organization, commitment and love for life are an inspiring example.
This gathering has continued on the path opened by Rêber Apo and all the democratic and resistance forces that have come before us. This conference has definitely made a step in the way towards freedom.
Also check out the interviews with 3 members of the revolutionary youth movement, young people who came from different parts of Rojava like Sehba and Kobanê:
Internationalist Commune of Rojava,