‘International Mothers’ in Rojava: Revolutions are common, hope has two adresses
ROJAVA – Women who call themselves “International Mothers” set out to see their children in Northern Syria, their struggle and the place they call ‘hope’. They say that ‘their children are struggling for everyone who doesn’t adopt the system created by capitalism.’ Conslevo, one of the mothers who say that they can’t interfere with their children’s dreams and hopes, tells: “My daughter believes in the Rojava Revolution. I am lucky that my daughter carried me into her own hope, her dream and her struggle.”
By Fatma Koçak
The Northern Syrian Federation, which emerged as a coexistence of the peoples who did not have to choose between the sovereign powers since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, became and still is the place for those seeking alternatives to the monotonous life imposed by the capitalist modernity.
After the Kobanê resistance many women and men from alternative movements who came to say “another world is possible”, tell that they come here to protect ‘the little miracle created at the other end of the earth.’ Some of them are within YPG/YHJ against occupation and assault.
Dozens of international revolutionary lives were lost in this process; British Anna Campbell (Helin Karaçox), Argentinian Alina Sanchez (Legêrîn Çîya) and Australian Ashley Johnston (Bagok Serhed) are just a few of them.
International revolutionaries are not only involved in the field of war, but also choose to live in Rojava to be able to contribute to the created system.
‘International Mothers’ are in Rojava
Mothers, who wondered why their children went to Rojava from the other end of the world, made an unusual visit to the Northern Syrian Federation recently.
In fact, people from many parts of the world visit Rojava to see this model in place. Particularly due to the intense interest of women, the Kongra Star Diplomacy Unit and the International Team of Jineology do a lot of work. Visitors experience the intense participation of women within the self-defense, public order, economy and social sphere from the moment they step into Rojava. For the people visiting Rojova this is where the basic dynamic change of the system lies.
Shervin, who is a member of the International Team of Jineology, says: “There is intense interest. Especially after the Afrin resistance women from many parts of the world are curious about our resistance and system. They come here to show solidarity.”
Seven women call themselves “International Mothers Movement.” Cloa Agistros and Conslevo Nunes are Spanish, Daniele Hackman and Clavidia Lucas are German, Ana Maria is Italian, Katrina Lacardin and Hellen Near are French.
After agreeing on the idea three months ago, they first went to the Federal Kurdistan Region and reached Rojava after a ‘difficult journey’.
After passing the Semalka border with many difficulties and long explanations, the first words come from the mouth of the seven women who reached the city of Derik in the Jazira Region is “We are finally in the free land.”
While seven women, hosted by the International Team of Jineology for a week, are travelling in Nothern Syria Federation city by city, they sometimes laugh and shed tears with women they come by.
We are hoping for an interview with them all, but we are only able to talk to Conslevo Nunes since their time is limited and the visit program is intense.
Link between revolutions: From Spain to Rojava
Conslevo sits with her daughter Arin in a garden in the village of Amude in an autumn evening and begins explaining:
“It was the most instructive journey of my life. I have always supported my daughter, but I am proud of her once again.”
Her daughter Arin is the interpreter and also her host. Conslevo explains in Spanish and Arin translates word by word. She takes notes and translates exactly what Conslevo says. Occasionally they come eye to eye and the way Conslevo looks to her daughter tells a lot about their close relationship.
Born in Madrid, Conslevo has 2 children and celebrated her 59th birthday in Rojava. She studied anthropology and retired after working for many years.
Conslevo, a feminist activist, says she is impressed by the link between the Spanish revolution and the Rojava revolution.
She says “They take our hope from our hands. We have to keep the hope alive” and adds that they started this journey with women who believe this hope.
Conslevo compares Rojava with the dynamics of hope in Spain:
“I believe that all the revolutions around the world start with the same goal. Peoples, who are disturbed by the system and unable to find themselves, want to establish a different system and live there. States have been the means of exploitation throughout the history. And the history of the peoples is full of the struggle against this and the struggle for self-existence. Revolution means hope and this has started with hope. For example, Spain, the land where I live, also has a history of revolution. It was fought against the state system as a paradigm in 1936 and exhibited a great resistance.”
“The most interesting revolutions in the world are the revolutions led by women. Women became pioneers in the process of revolution in Spain. I find Rojava and our revolution process very similar at this point. Women were the pioneers in Spain and it is the same in here. This is the basic dynamic of change.”
“Exploitation is all around the world”
Conslevo emphasizes that the world is not recovering and there is still a crisis today:
“Every day the poor gets poorer and the rich gets richer. Social problems are all over the world and too many. There is no good life for anyone because every people of the world is under exploitation.”
Conslevo, pointing out that capitalism is not only a material problem, explains: “Capitalism is killing not only our money but also our spirituality. It turns us into machines. In a world such as this, movements that try to establish an alternative life should be supported no matter where they are on earth.”
According to Conslevo there are two adresses for hope: Latin America and Rojava.
“Women are the ones who enlarge hope and that kind of hope exists within the movements in Latin America and also within Kurds. They remind us of hope. Therefore they are fighting not only for themselves but for all of us who do not adopt the system created by capitalism. Kurdish women in the Middle East provide a great social transform. It is impossible not to see it.”
Conslevo underlines that Rojava is an important legacy for all women movements in the world:
“I want to give two examples that became common in your lives and impressed me very much. When my body is in danger while sitting in my street or in my place in Spain, I call the police. However, it is different here. Women protect their own street, house and neighborhood with their self-defence units. It gives you a great confidence. Police means state and the state is a means of exploitation. It protects someone whenever it needs to. When it comes to women, it doesn’t protect most of the time. We know it from our experience. But not here. Women protect themselves and learn to protect themselves no matter what age they are.”
“Another thing… It might sound trivial to you but I can’t express how important it is for us: There is a great respect for those who contributed to this revolution and those who lost their lives. For example there is an Assocation for Martyr Families. In the west, since capitalism tries to take away our spirituality, it also wants to break our ties to the past. Not here. Those who contributed are not forgotten. They are always gratefully remembered. Their hope and dream are kept alive.
There are many things to tell but it is really impressive that the spirituality is so powerful and the life is communal and social. I see it in my own daughter. We have learned how to hug each other in Rojava. How can I even imagine to describe this happiness?”
To understand the Rojava Revolution…
Conslevo says that she didn’t come here just to see her daughter:
“We are here to see our kids and fulfill our longing. But more importantly, we want to understand the system and also the hope which brought them here. We want to get to know, understand the Rojava Revolution and tell it when go back. Another thing – I would like to see the living conditions of people, who were forced to live in Shahba after the Afrin resistance and the occupation. And we would like to do something for them.”
Stating that Afrin is a special place for humanity, Conslevo explains:
“Imagine that you are at home, living in your land and someone attacks you unjustifiably and you resist till the end. In the end someone forces you out from your own land, from your home. This is the shame of the whole world and I would like to do something for them personally since I don’t want to be part of that shame.”
“My daughter carried me into her dream”
At the end of the interview, we ask “Your daughter will stay here and you will leave. How do you feel?” Her answer is a lesson for everyone:
“My job as a mother is to raise and educate her. I did that as much as I could. Now she chose her own way. From now on my only wish is that she becomes a dignified person who contributes to the humanity. Other than that I can’t interfere with her dreams.”
“I miss her (filled with tears), but this longing cannot prevent her from her life and hope. My daughter believes in the Rojava Revolution, and I am lucky that my daughter has carried me into her own hope, her dream and her struggle.”
Conslevo reiterates that she is proud of her daughter and concludes her speech:
“I saw a documentary about Kobanê, where I witnessed the mothers describing their children who lost their lives during the resistance. All of them were after something precious and their mothers were proud of them. It is not about how long we live, but how precious the legacy we leave behind. We have to respect them and I respect my daughter. I am proud of her.”
The International Mothers leave their children in Rojava after “experiencing the most precious journey and collecting many memories” in their own words.