Women First: How we confronted the Iraqi army

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The story by the witness of yesterday’s protest at the border of Syria and Iraq about the final journey of Zeki Şengali, leader of Ezidis.

Caravans from cities in Rojava started toward Şengal to bid farewell to Zeki Şengali. Many kilometers of hundreds of white cars drove to the border of Rojava and Iraq… the Iraqi and Başur officials did not relish such a prospect. They decided to close the border to the funeral procession. Mam Zeki’s coffin has not yet arrived from Derik, but people started to worry.

The situation in Bashur is extremely tense. For some reason, Prime Minister Barzani attended an event of the fascist AKP party in

Turkey. Delegations from Europe have recently been rejected at the border between Başur and Rojava; foreign citizens are not allowed entry into Mahmur camp anymore. Allegations that the whereabouts of Zeki Şengali were provided by members of the Kurdistan Democratic party (KDP) increasingly sounds like the truth.

Caravans are rejected at the border between Bashur and Rojava.
 

Yes, the situation is difficult. But no one expected the Iraqi authorities to dare prevent people bidding Zeki Şengali farewell on the territory for which he had fought so long and so selflessly.

We’re standing on top of a hill right near the border. From this hill you can see the border post: the flag of Iraq and arriving there more and more military vehicles with soldiers.

“No, they can’t keep us out,” the woman standing next to me convinces me. – We’re not gonna let that happen. This is no longer a matter of policy. This is a moral issue!

But morality is hardly what governments are rich in. After an hour of standing under the scorching sun we were fed up with dull desert landscapes and sour faces of the Iraqi soldiers. “Hevalen Jin! Hevalen Jin!” someone yelled at the border post, urging all the women to come closer.

A few minutes later, hundreds of women gathered near the border post. In a few moments the women moved decisively toward the Iraqi flag. A crowd of women confidently walked to Şengal without paying attention to the shouting soldiers and guns pointed at them. After a while almost the whole crowd of women was in so-called Iraq. My friends and I looked at each other. It seems that this is really a women’s revolution.

On the other side border nothing threatened us except heat. Here, an acute strain was in the air. But at the same time the visible resolve of all ages of women spread through the atmosphere of the demonstration. The Iraqi army’s armoured vehicles intentionally drove into the crowd of women. Women retorted: “Şehit namirin!”(Martyrs don’t die!) in the memory of Zeki Şengali.

The Iraqi military did not let up. More and more military vehicles were arriving at the border to create an atmosphere of fear by pulling the troops to the border post. They sat on the scorching asphalt, completely ignoring all the shouting of the soldiers and their nervous waving of Kalashnikov rifles. Each armored car formed a desirable shadow to sit and while away the time waiting for the decisions of officials of Başur.

With time, the Iraqi army made concessions while the women did not. They began to let men, YPG and YPJ.

Later, the coffin with Zeki Şengali’s body arrived and many thousands of people passed through the border. Women sang partisan songs, shared stories, and jokes about Barzani and Erdogan.

“In Sorani is the word “Kudo”. It means “Shorty.” Do you hear the Kudo chanting? They’re about Barzani,” a smiling woman in a military uniform told me.

 

 

Yes, hevalen heja. Any one is «Shorty» as compared to these fearless women. It was a women’s protest. And this is definitely a women’s revolution.