“If I cannot dance, this is not my revolution.” We wonder what Emma Goldman would say if she could be here with us, looking at these hundreds of people, dancing, during an action of shielding the electricity power plant of Swedî, Derik, in North East Syria.
Swedî is the largest electricity plant in the whole region, it supplies energy and gas to more than 2 million people. Because of its essential importance, it is also one of the many sites that have been recently bombed. In response to this and to the risk of new attacks, that could interrupt definitively its electricity production, the population of Derik and the many villages of the region of Koçerata have decided to organize several “days of action”. In these days the people have gather around the plant and other essential infrastructure (the basic needs of the people) to shield and protect them, with their own physical presence, with their own life. In this, as in other cases, in front of this continuous and total war, the society has took initiative and organized itself in order to carry on different forms of resistance, according to the needs of the situation. There, all the people gave a lot of effort. Everybody took part in the organization with different tasks. Some organized the cars to reach the different sites, some gave speeches and others prepared food and coffee for everyone. And of course, then everyone joined the dances.
“We cannot live without soil, without water, without electricity.” Delila told us, a young 22 year old woman who came to the action, “and that’s why we are here today, to show our resistance. And we will resist until the end. We will not leave our land. Even in the face of all the attacks that Erdogan can carry on, we will not go away and not protect these places.” Something very impressive is the spirit of social and collective commitment that the people show, even under the constant threat of new attacks. The responsibility and love that we normally associate from parents to their children, here, is collectivized toward the broader society. Hearing “You are my child” from a mother is not rare, also for us internationalists, this expresses the nature of the community bonds.
The struggle for resistance and self defense takes very different shapes and one of these is the creation of life and the coming together as community. These demonstrations don’t only have the aim of physically protecting specific sites, but even more, these are moments of strengthening the bonds among the people, re-affirming the principles around with which this community exists and wants to build itself: freedom, democracy, multiculturalism, multiethnic and religion, resistance.
What we have also asked ourselves is from where the people take the strength to resist from, and from their words, their way of living, we have understood that this comes from the connection with their land, being rooted in it, and from the the connection with ones own cultural and historical roots. This is also what allows people to take the anger and fear that of course everyone feels and transform them in strength and will to resist.
When a drone started flying very low, above the plant and our heads, the people immediately decided to move and make a march inside the plant, spreading out, in a way to occupy a larger portion of the plant, sending in this way a clear message to the Turkish state “We will defend this place, this electricity plant, in every way possible, with our bodies too.”
The contrast was incredibly clear, on one side, above us a drone, a product of high technological war and weaponry industry, was threatening the people present, on the other side, on the ground, the society (young and old woman, workers of the plant, children etc) were together, ready to resist, creating in this way the strongest form of self-defense.
When talking about the situation, the people also share their anger, and aversion towards the coalition “What do they do? They stay there, and look, while we are bombed”, and at the same time the western countries, which through the propaganda describe themselves as democracies, are recognized as the same actors who then sit together with Erdogan and put economical interest before the respect of any human right and thus enable Kurdish genocide.
While the Turkish army, which has recently undergone high losses in the mountains, has decided to take its revenge on the civilians, on the people of NES, trying to divide them from the resistance of the guerrilla, another aspect that has really impressed us was the clarity with which the people, with these actions, re-affirmed this unity and solidarity.
The message that these days of actions, with the words of the speeches, the march and the dances are sending, not just to the Turkish army, but to the whole world, is that the people of NES will not stay silent, will not let their right to live be affected by the enemy. They will continue to struggle for life. Berxwedan Jiyan e, is an expression of the idea that there is no life without resistance and that to resist is to create new life. Celebrate life despite the hardship, find joy and the will of being together, knowing that only together society can face this heavy situation and not just survive, but create a life that has the colors of all the people.
Internationalist Commune of Rojava,