Interview: International women take part in Rojava Revolution

In the interview with eight international women, who have been taking an active part in the revolution in Rojava and rebuilding of life in Rojava, told us that they have learned how to look inside themselves in Rojava.


Qamishlo- The women-led revolution that took place on July 19, 2012 has become hope for the whole world. Dozens of young people from different countries flocked to Rojava, where the greatest anti-capitalist struggle of the century has been staged. In the interview with NuJINHA, eight international women in Rojava say that the revolution in Rojava is a women’s revolution and a revolution that concerns people all around the world.

During the interview with NuJINHA, eight international women in Rojava commented on the revolution and said why they decided to take part in this revolution.

· First of all, can you please tell us why you came to Rojava?

Lisa, who came from Britain to Rojava: I came here for many reasons especially there was like questions that were kind of motivating me or like driving me to come here and driving my life back at home and what does it mean to live a political life and what is the political like, what does it mean to do political work on a serious level and I think I heard about what was happening here and how it brought together so many different aspects of things. I've been politically involved with them and brought them together aspects such as women's liberation and ecology and decentralized democracy and equality between peoples together it's not being practiced together in a place a living and breathing experiment of so many things are so crucial to the world right now that I see as crucial to the world and so I wanted to come here to be a part of what was happening here and to learn what was happening. I try to go deeper in my answers to the questions.

Anna, who came from Italy to Rojava several months ago: I got to know about the Rojava revolution for the first time from the media during the war against ISIS and then I was lucky enough to know someone who was from here and when I began to deepen the philosophy and the ideology of the movement, I recognized myself in it and I felt that something important was happening in the region.

Coni, who came from Barcelona to Rojava, works in cinema: I did not come to Rojava directly, first I went to Shengal (Sinjar). They needed a sound mixer to shoot a film. Then, Turkey began to attack, so I decided to join the defense units of the revolution. What caught my attention in Rojava was not the differences but the cultural similarities. In Southern Europe, the lifestyle is close to the West.

Julie, who came from Switzerland to Rojava, wants to learn more about Jinwar: I came because when I was young I always said you have to visit 18 other places because Switzerland is very rigid and stable. There is a long history of Kurdish people who came to Switzerland and they share with us their pain and their struggles and their language.

Christina, who came from Italy to Rojava in 2021, is now an YPJ fighter: The reason why I came to Rojava was out of curiosity because I always lived thinking it would be nice if there was a revolution and finally there was a place where this revolution took place and I wanted to see what people lived and their reasons. I decided to stay here because this revolution is not just about me but it is about all of us right. Now we are fighting fascism not only in this geography but the fascism that manifests itself in Europe and in other places all around the world and therefore I can say that first I came out of curiosity because I wanted to understand what was happening here and then I understood that this revolution is also our evolution, for this reason I decided to take an active part in it.

Pilar, who came from Catalonia to Rojava: I came to Rojava because I was in a search. When you see that most things are not done and there is a lot of injustice around you, you say it is time to get to know the women's movement. Our Catalan friends who had been in Rojava and received training shared what they learned with us. I learned and saw the beauty and hope that had been in us. When I felt those feelings, I said yes, I must see, I must experience and I must learn. This is how I came to Rojava.

Journalist and researcher Rohin came from the USA to Rojava about one and half years ago: For me, I will say that the moment that I knew that I wanted to get on a plane and come here was when I read on the Jineology website. There was an interview about beauty with a female fighter from the greatest freedom movement and she had been very injured in her face which left her with a different face than she had had for most of her life and when she was asked about how that made her feel she said that it made her feel powerful because now everyone would always be able to see who she is inside that she was someone who would stand up and fight the truth for yourself, for sisters, for the world and that I think her story is a story which shows me the difference between my society and this society especially as it relates to how women experience themselves and the world and when I read that I said okay, alright and okay I'm going.

Jackie from the USA has been part of the YPJ Department of Health since 2019 : When I first came to Rojava my intention was to help defend the revolution because the values and the goals of this revolution are creating a really big hope for the whole world so my goal, my attention in the beginning was to come here and be a worker and be anything that was needed for the revolution to be successful. But in the time that I've been here this has also changed. I realize that being here but delivering and going to you forces you to look inside yourself to be able to be someone that can build up a whole revolution not just to be a worker within the revolution but to be yourself a resolution.

·What is the difference between your country and Rojava?

Lisa: I think a key difference is the closeness, the togetherness of the society here. People, the society that is open and trusting. I see that it is a crucial part of why things like the community here or like societal justice here why are they able to work is because there's this strong strong social fabric but in my country has somehow really been torn apart and lost and that was one thing I noticed or right I really feel is different here. Another thing is the situation of war here, the ongoing war and the ongoing attacks from Turkey and the way that the wider world in Syria has been making the efforts and building a truly different kind of democracy and life here making it really difficult.

Anna: There are many differences between my country and Rojava. In Italy, there is few barriers to resource problems because Italy is one of the most powerful countries and it has international recognition. In Rojava, people suffer from war, occupation, threats and embargo. In Rojava, there is the power to coexist among different races, religions and cultures. Rojava is different from Italy, you cannot compare them. The ideology of resistance is fresh in Rojava but there is a daily life in Italy.

Julie: The difference between Switzerland and Rojava is that death has a different meaning and value. When you die, your body is gone, but there is a fire in your heart. There is a fire inside everyone I know. In Switzerland, people live, but they are dead inside, the fire inside them dies down.

Pilar: The biggest difference between my country and Rojava is that the revolution has already started in Rojava. I see great faith among the people in Rojava. There is cooperation and friendship among them. For instance, they ask “Do you need anything” before we say see you again. The people of Rojava never think about money or their personal interests.

· What does the women's revolution mean to you?

Lisa: That women's resistance and gender struggle is fully grounded and is also the driving motor now of what is happening.

Anna: For me the women's revolution means the possibility of building together, is a future in which we rebuild our identity and shape the world around us.

Coni: For me, the women's revolution means an irreversible change, a point from which we can no longer return.

Julie: It means to walk on the path of freedom without stopping. Sometimes you stop; we stop to think but it continues.

Christina:  The women's revolution for me means building a different society or rather returning society to its origins and freedom.

Pilar: Jin, Jiyan, Azadî! This revolution is about life, about the values that women protect. I want to fight injustice and the capitalist system that wants to destroy us. I want to deepen this spirit of struggle and friendship so that this revolution becomes an international revolution.

Rohin: It means primarily in this moment, especially in this place is very strong and powerful and firm now, there are so many things that have gone on for so many centuries and millennia and it means a strong now.

Jackie: To me, the women's revolution is the foundation for all positive transformation towards freedom, without it, freedom is not possible.

·What impressed you the most in the Rojava Revolution and what changes did it create in your personality?

Lisa: The biggest influence on me has been the people I've come into contact with being here, the people who have maybe years or even decades of experience in political organizing and in women's struggle, who have used their skills to teach others, including me, and who are able to really show a path to follow, like building different kinds of relations,  building different kinds of groups and building a different kind of society. The people I've come into contact with, particularly the women, have probably been the biggest factor influencing the change in my own personality and I think the key thing for me has been how you build relationships with other people in a group.

Anna: I believe that one of the most important elements here are values and principles, different from in Europe. Words like justice, freedom and self-determination are seen in daily life here (Rojava). This revolution gives me a lot of strength because you see not how much you are fighting, but what you are fighting for. This gives me strength and hope. We have lost many comrades because of this revolution. Therefore, we take our duties and responsibilities more seriously.

Coni: Implementation of the solution sometimes takes a lot of time. I am still personally learning how this path is working. Now, I am more careful, I organize my emotions better. I cannot say that I have completely changed; it is difficult to change the lifestyle that I have learned in the capitalist system.

Pilar: Appreciating beauty with hope. I think that creates a change in root. I realized this when my female comrades became my mirror. When you do not accept another woman, you do not accept yourself. People should share to get rid of this situation. It also gives power so that we can change not just one person, but the whole society.

Rohin: I'm much less selfish and I think everybody wants to be less selfish, they just need a community to offer them a space. That's what we're working towards, thinking about building a place in which everybody feels more and more peace, more love, more truth in their life. It is everybody being able to step into being a phone number of a community and simultaneously fully themselves so.

Jackie: I think the biggest thing that this revolution has changed in me is my reason for fighting, the reason that I'm fighting and the reason that I'm living and what I'm working towards in every second is on the foundation of love and it's the foundation of freedom and this is what real struggle is and this is what real fight is; it's not to fight against the enemy but it's to create Justice by creating the revolution around you.

· What do you think about the life philosophy of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan?

Lisa: When I first read the books of Serok Apo (Leader Abdullah Öcalan), or other writings from him, I was really struck kind of like, I said before by how everything so many different factors of brought together right in this paradigmatic way, ideas from other people, ideas that have been using other context noble brought together in this part I'm in this kind of systematic way and the idea that is what we want to overcome what we want to fight against is a big system, is an organized system that has so many different networks and actors need to be building our counter system in an organized way, inside of Apo’s writing, we are referencing economy or referencing industrialism, or ecology or the other. I think of it like a different political activity in a systematic and organized way.

Anna: Leader Apo's greatest influence on my personality is the feeling of 'hope'. There is great beauty in this struggle. We cannot expect any change in the system if we do not change ourselves. We need to think deeply and create a different personality and build a free personality together.

Julie: I see Leader Apo's philosophy as a mirror of my consciousness. Because when I read her books, I think of every word, analyze and criticize every sentence against the capitalist system. I learned the importance of words used among people. I see and learn the meaning of this philosophy in practice, in stories, in people's eyes and in the struggle.

Christina: When we understand the project of leader Apo, we can understand that this project is for the whole world, free society and free women. It has built hope and trust inside us. It strengthens me not to lose in daily life and to overcome all barriers.

Pilar: Leader Apo's philosophy is a great source of inspiration for me. Even though he was arrested and his physical freedom was stolen, there is freedom of thought.

Jackie: The ideology and the thoughts of Serok Apo gave me the hope that it is possible to create an entirely different world and not just the hope but also the ability and the methods to be able to reach it and I think this is what's so important is that it's not just an ideology of Serok Apo is giving us it's a way of life and this way of life is the only path towards freedom

·What are your goals, hopes and wishes for the future?

Lisa: I want to still go deeper on the question of what does it mean to live a political life and what does that mean for myself, for my relationship with others, for my work in the future. As individuals will always face with this question what to do how to live and I think continuing to pursue that and go deeper and that is mine

Anna: For the future, I hope that I can learn more and more from this revolution, from the people and their resistance. I also hope that it will support the people of North and East Syria because humanity deserves to know the experiences growing and developing in Rojava.

Coni: My hope is to build a stateless world without a lifestyle based on materialism.

Julie: I dream of having a healthy society because capitalism and patriarchy have taken our health away from us.

Christina: I want the physical freedom of leader Abdullah Öcalan. I hope that leader Apo's philosophy will spread all around the world.

Rohin: I think we can really expand the way that we think about how children are taken care of and how we as a community see responsibility for that.

Jackie: My goal is after being a part of this revolution is to bring it everywhere, is for it to not just be in this one place anymore because this revolution is not just about this place it's about the whole world and the point is to create a different reality.