One year in the Internationalist Commune of Rojava

Dear friends,

One year ago, 12th of June 2017, we shared the first public statement of the Internationalist Commune of Rojava, presenting our project to the world. Also 12th of June is the birthday of Anna Campbell, şehid Helin Qereçox, who give name to the first Internationalist Academy of Rojava.

Today, after one year of non stop working, we look back and see the big steps we have achieved in this year.

After the public presentation of the commune under the slogan ‘learn, support, organize’, we started to develop our work and our projects, putting in practice the ideas and dreams we had, and searching for a place to build the first internationalist academy of the Democratic federation of Northern Syria. After a few months, we finally found the right place, and at the end of summer in 2017, we started to build of the academy. Since then, we have been working mostly focused on 3 main lines: internationalism, women liberation and ecology.

Concerning internationalism, our main task has been the construction of the Internationalist Academy, the place to debate, study, research and also to host new internationals who also want to learn, support and organize the Rojava Revolution. At the same time, we have also been working on the up building of the Internationalist Commune itself, as the organizational frame for us and other internationals who want to join, developing a system and a network to integrate and strengthen the international dimension of this revolution.

Concerning ecology, we launched the ‘Make Rojava Green Again’ campaign in coordination with other institutions working topics related with ecology. We wrote a book that we will start to publish soon in different languages, presenting our project and what motivates us to carry it out. Our main goal is to spread an ecological perspective of the revolutionary life, building our academy with a sustainable approach and starting a tree cooperative to help to reforest the arid lands of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria.

Concerning the liberation of women, the women of the commune are organized as an autonomous group, connecting directly with the different institutions and structures of the women’s movement in this revolution. We also supported different projects and campaigns of the women movement, taking part in the work developed by Jinwar, the women’s ecological village. We also studied and organized education programs about jineolojî and the women liberation movements.

In the middle of this first year of life as a Commune, the Afrin war erupted. We know that the revolution will be in defense of the land or there will be no place for the revolution, so we saw the need to slow down our normal projects and take part in the Afrin Resistance, mostly doing translations, international solidarity work and other kind of media work.

The Afrin invasion was hard and brutal. It’s very sad to see the Turkish army and other islamist armed forces destroying the most beautiful region of Rojava. The war in Afrin affected us in ways we were not able to imagine before. The invasion, the struggle, the resistance… it opened for us processes of debate and reflection about what should be, and what can be, the role of internationalism today. Also about how can we help and contribute, as internationalists, to the Rojava Revolution and to all the resistance movements and struggles around the world. A lot of friends lost their lives fighting to resist the fascist invasion, and also several internationalist friends fell sehids in this war. In their memory we will continue walking their path.

In this last month of May, after several months building the academy, we have finally finished. We have decided to name it the ‘Internationalist Academy sehid Hêlîn Qereçox’ in memory of Anna Campbell, the British YPJ fighter who became sehid in Afrin. With sadness for her loss, but at the same time with the will to continue her struggle against fascism and patriarchal oppression, we started the first education course of our academy. We also continued the ecological work for the Make Rojava Green Again campaign, translated and published in different languages an article about the importance of the women struggle in the revolution, started an internationalist radio project in collaboration with other internationals in Rojava, published different articles and letters of international solidarity in our website, etc. But of course, our main project this month has been to organize this first education course.

Now, after one very intense year of work, we have succeeded in organizing a one-month education course for the new internationals, together with the ones who have been here since the beginning of the commune. The education included Kurdish language lessons, ideological debates, knowledge about the society, the history of Midle East and the Kurdish people, and of course, debates about internationalism and the history of the Commune. A few days ago we finished this first education course, and a new wave of internationalists from different parts of the world are just starting to work and travel around Rojava, taking part in the Commune’s work. We are really happy to see how this project is growing and evolving, consolidating and step by step turning into reality the dreams and ideas that one year ago were just in our minds.

Today, we are proud to say that the Internationalist Commune of Rojava is stronger than ever, and that this is just one step more towards the democratic and revolutionary movement that is growing and being connected all around the world. For all those reasons, we invite all the internationalists, revolutionaries and democratic forces once again, all those who want to walk with us, to learn, support and organize this revolution. Because we know that Rojava can be the spark that ignites a new way of understanding life, of developing a society outside capitalism, patriarchy and Nation-States. And because we know that this is just the beginning. As sehid Hêlîn once said:

You should fight with us, and light the fires of resistance.

Biji Soresa Rojava!
Long live international solidarity!

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