We, the Internationalist Commune of Rojava, call on people to join the protests against the NATO-organized security conference in Munich. Representatives of military, government and arms companies who meet at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof from 16 to 18 February do not represent our interests but the hegemonical interests of their states and the interests of capital. When these people talk about security, the result is more weapons and war.
In Syria, the consequences of the neo-colonial and imperialist policies of Western states become clear. The consequences of policies that seek to systematically force dependence on the societies of the Middle East and other parts of the world and to make the regional political systems compliant. We have to organize ourselves against this policy and oppose the globalization of capital with international solidarity.
Together with thousands of people from all over the world, the self-governing forces in northern Syria have managed to repulse Daesh. Today the People’s and Women’s Defense Units, YPG and YPJ, fight against the aggression of the Turkish state. But even when humanity and solidarity in Rojava win and the clerical-fascist armys of Erdogan and Daesh are beaten, the war has caused great damage. It has torn families apart and destroyed people’s ecological livelihoods. As important as the military defense of Northern Syria is, it is also important to defend the civil and ecological spheres.
During these weeks, the Internationalist Commune of Rojava, together with the municipalities of Northern Syria, will start the “Make Rojava Green Again” campaign. With our educational work and other ecological projects, including our plans to plant tens of thousands of trees, we want to find an answer to the catastrophic ecological situation in Syria. The destruction of nature is one of the biggest problems people face in Rojava. The Assad regime’s deforestation and enforcement of huge wheat and olive monocultures, as well as climate change, have degraded the land and water. Where once trees grew, steppes have spread.
The ecological situation in northern Syria and in the whole of Western Asia is made more urgent by the wars for hegemony, resources, trade routes and markets driven by regional imperialist states such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as international power blocs, particularly NATO. War damage is usually estimated in the number of dead and wounded, or destroyed buildings. The resulting environmental damage isn’t reported as often. Damage caused by oil, chemicals and landmines often can’t be eliminated for a long time. The contamination of air, water and soil robs people of their livelihoods.
The damage caused by the Iraq War, initiated by the US and other NATO states, are still noticeable in the region today. The smoke from the oil wells set alight during the 2003 invasion contained several tons of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide. In addition, there were carcinogenic heavy metals such as cadmium, chromium and lead. Iraqi industrial plants, including refineries, pipelines, chemical and fertilizer factories, dams and power stations, were bombarded. As a result, hundreds of thousands of sheep and tens of thousands of camels died of air and water pollution. The tons of depleted uranium ammunition continue to pollute water and soil. To date, there are thousands of children suffering from cancer in Iraqi hospitals, whose disease is due to radiation from the remnants of this depleted uranium.
In Syria, chemical warfare agents such as sarin, or chemical munitions like white phosphorus, are now being used on many fronts. Some belligerents are still using depleted uranium munitions. In addition to the environmental damage caused by direct warfare in Syria, economic warfare plays an important role, especially that implemented by the Turkish state. Nature and agriculture in Rojava are dependent on the rivers that flow from the north. The Turkish state uses this as a weapon, through its mega-dam projects, and the water supply to Rojava is systematically restricted. The level of the Euphrates, one of the largest rivers in the Middle East, has seriously decreased, and other rivers have already completely dried up. This leads to crop failure, dessiccated lands, and a further decrease in drinking water quality.
The connections between capitalism, imperialism and the destruction of nature show that the commitment to ecology and the fight for peace are intertwined. An ecological and peaceful society can only be built up against the interests of capital and its states.
We wish success to our comrades who go to Munich against NATO and their security conference. This protest is only the first step on the road to build counterpower, the coming together of people who are building a new life.
We invite all comrades to support the Internationalist Commune in their ecological and social work.Only when we can bring these struggles together will we win.
Long live international solidarity!