On September 20 and 21, hundreds of youth of the Cizirê region gathered for the first defense conference under the slogan “LI DIJÎ DAGIRKERÎ Û ÎXANETÊ, WERIN CENGA AZADIYÊ” (Against occupation and betrayal, join the freedom struggle). The two-day conference was convened to find answers to the ongoing attacks of capitalist modernity in the form of the fascist Turkish state.
On the first day of the conference, hundreds of youth from the TCŞ (Tevgera Ciwanen Şoreşger – Revolutionary Youth Movement), PYD (Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat – Democratic Union Party) youth, student organizations, along with sports and cultural groups gathered in the city of Rimelan for a diverse cultural program. Theater and sketch performances, govend (traditional dancing) and kick-boxing set the mood for the rest of the program. Harun Baran, the former leader of the Revolutionary Youth Movement opened the program with a speech and praised the conference as a right step according to the current phase, marked by wide-ranging attacks of Turkish fascism and underlined the importance of the aspect of self-defense within the strategy of the People’s Revolutionary War1.
On the second day, the topic of defense was considered philosophically, politically and ideologically. Part of the program was the screening of a documentary by the film commune Rojava (Komîna Film a Rojava), in which it was shown that every living being, every form of life has defense mechanisms and also a society represents such a form of life. Therefore, a society that cannot defend itself is threatened in its existence because it is defenseless against attacks. These do not always have to be physical attacks in the form of war and expulsion, but can also be assimilation and attacks on their culture, their customs, values and traditions. In this sense, defense is also necessary against the multitude of methods of special warfare, the promotion of the capitalist way of life in the digital media, superficiality, consumerism, the introduction of narcotics, and so on. Especially for the youth, since they are particularly often the target of these measures. Those who want to incorporate societies into the capitalist system are aware that youth has the greatest potential for developing revolutionary feelings. The dynamics of the youth, their pace, their attitude and their urge for renewal and change are to be broken by these measures.
If we take a closer look at the situation of many European or North American societies, we see what threatens a society that has lost its consciousness of its defense: Diverse cultures, regional peculiarities, languages and dialects, as well as reference to history have almost completely disappeared, were homogenized and degenerated into an individualistic consumer society without real sociality in the actual sense, i.e. the common shaping of life.
In a video message from the Free Mountains of Kurdistan, the current political and military situation was analyzed. Focus: The resistance of the guerrillas who since April 14 defy a massive military operation, more clearly: a war of aggression, of the fascist Turkish state. This war is a fight for survival: For the guerrillas but also for the AKP-MHP regime. To leave the revolution, the fight against the enemy only to the guerrilla, is wrong and not according to the strategy that promises the greatest success in the fight against the capitalist modernity, the state.
According to the strategy of the Revolutionary People’s War proposed by Rebertî2 in 2010, another pillar, besides the guerrilla, should be the legitimate self-defense of the people and the youth. The guerrilla commander further emphasized that society in all four parts of Kurdistan must rise up and stand shoulder to shoulder with the guerrillas for the dignity and honor of the Kurdish people, who are threatened by genocide.
Multiple times the youth also referred to the protests in Rojhilat and Iran, in which the youth is as well fullfilling a vanguard role in organizing and defending the society.
Based on the impressions of the first part of the program and reading of the report on the work of the Revolutionary Youth of Rojava, the core topics of the conference were discussed: What is the attitude of the youth towards Rebertî’s freedom³? What role can it play towards the (physical) freedom of Rebertî? What does self-defense mean for the youth? Where is the place of the youth in the Revolutionary People’s War?
The discussions were characterized by critical and self-critical insight on the weaknesses and shortcomings in organizing & self-education, reflection of own identities & personalities. It became clear that also in Rojava the influence of the special war in the form of propaganda through social media, smuggling of narcotics and agent activities have a devastating effect on the youth. Again and again, the youth brought up the issue of liberal attitudes in the face of wrong, counterrevolutionary and immoral behavior and approaches.
Some of the things we have heard have made us feel even closer to the youth of Rojava. The attacks we are facing are very similar in certain aspects and the steps we have to take, just like the youth of Rojava, in order to live today the change that will be the core of a free way of life, are the same: First of all, we must learn to know and understand ourselves, our reality and the reality of the enemy, in order to develop a radical stance on this basis.
In the face of the conspiracy, the abduction of Abdullah Öcalan and his imprisonment in solitary confinement on the prison island Imrali, it is the duty of the youth to show an attitude and to dedicate every hour of the day to the struggle for the physical freedom of Rebertî². The freedoms that the youth experience today, the possibility to live their culture, to learn and study in their mother tongue, the existence of a Kurdish identity are only possible through the resistance, the ideas and philosophy of Abdullah Öcalan and the resistance of the guerrillas in the free mountains of Kurdistan. The physical freedom of Rebertî is equivalent to the liberation of the Kurdish people, because a free Kurdistan, a free Kurdish people would force the liberation of Abdullah Öcalan.
Based on the discussions of the two-day conference, some organizational changes were decided to focus the Revolutionary Youth’s work on defending itself against any form of attack and to lay the groundwork for a broader organization of Rojava’s youth. The conference was characterized by enthusiasm and morale; slogans were repeatedly intoned and the packed hall was carried away. There was no break without dancing.
We are grateful to be able to share the experiences of the Revolutionary Youth in Rojava and we also see ourselves in the responsibility to deepen our education and to become an answer to colonialism, fascism & war with the awareness of the attacks on us as youth. The values created here in Rojava in 10 years must be defended and we as youth from all over the world must take this struggle here as our own in terms of 21st century internationalism.
1 The strategy of the Revolutionary People’s War is based on 3 pillars: Guerrilla, Popular Uprising, and Autonomous Self-Defense. In the event that a state does not recognize the people’s desire for autonomy and self-government, the People’s Revolutionary War strategy envisions the organization and mobilization of all sectors of society for their liberation.
2 Rebertî is a name for Abdullah Öcalan, means the leading path, someone who is showing you the path. Also means leading institution, which means he is not referred to as an individual.
3 Within the freedom movement, Rebertî’s “physical” freedom is distinguished because he is considered free from the mentality of capitalist modernity. Although he was locked in a cell, he managed to fight against backward, liberal and individualist traits and a way of thinking within the ideology of capitalist modernity. He managed to develop a free personality and free thoughts.