Social development in the economic war

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16 million Syrian pounds, which is currently the equivalent of just over 30 thousand US dollars. That’s how much it would cost to complete the construction of the new social centre in the northern Syrian village of Jarodî. A huge fortune. A decent salary in Rojava is between 70 and 100 thousand Syrian pounds a month.

Heval Rodî, one of the inhabitants of Jarodî, angrily explains to us how Turkey and the collaborating KDP regime in Kurdish northern Iraq uses the embargo against Rojava as a mean of war. “It is simply colonialism. Building materials are extremely hard to come by and very expensive. We get food imports from Turkish production, but that’s all third choice. They also bring various fertilizers across the border. Of course they don’t want to do us any favours. The cheap chemicals make the people here sick and contaminate the water. But the stuff is cheap and works in the short term, so the ignorant farmers use it.”

The flow of goods to Rojava is strictly controlled by Turkey and its collaborators. In masses inferior and unhealthy food is imported at inflated prices, while the really essential resources, such as medicines, medical apparatus and building materials as well as machine parts are extremely difficult or impossible to get.

But the people of Jarodî are determined to finish the “House of Life”. It is an idea for a kind of social centre in which people come together, for example to conduct municipal negotiations, settle disputes, but also to celebrate weddings or other occasions together. The people of Jarodî have derived the idea from the experiences of recent years. “If someone from the village has died before, then all people have gathered here at this place. There was a big tent, we drank tea together and expressed our condolences to those who mourned. Then we thought to ourselves that we don’t only want to come together on such sad occasions. Not only the mourning for the dead, but life should unite us. After all, we all live here.” Reports Heval Rodî as he leads us through the construction site.

Where the long tent was erected in former times, now stands the foundation of the new “House of Life”. The project was decided at a community meeting and since then the people of Jarodî participate in the practical work as well as in raising the monthly costs for building materials.

“We are not afraid of the embargo. Then we will all have to work a little harder and get creative…”