From self-management towards a democratic change: Revolution of 19th of July - (1)
Rojava revolution: its reasons, circumstances and the accumulated heritage of Kurdish resistance
NEWS CENTER (DİHA) - With the beginning of 2010, many countries in the Middle East have witnessed a massive uprisings called "Spring of Nations" due to the injustice, repression and persecution committed by the government on decades-long.
These uprisings have affected directly on Rojava and Syria which have suffered a lot by Al-Ba'athist dictatorship regime. This regime has ruled Syria militarily since the rise of the Baath Party to power in 1963, so the Syrian people broke the barrier of fear with the launch of Nation's spring and announced their uprising against Al-Ba'ath regime. The march of revolution in Rojava was launched on 19th of July 2012 in Kobanê, where the Kurdish people were able to liberate the cities and towns in Rojava, and imposed their presence as a third force that cannot be neglected in the Syrian revolution.
Öcalan's philosophy pioneers revolution
The success of Rojava revolution is due to its commitment to the philosophy of "Democratic Nation" which is mentioned in the thought and philosophy of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) Leader Abdullah Öcallan who was seen as the leader of Kurds. The revolution in Rojava resulted in the announcement of Democratic Autonomous Cantons ( Kobanê, Efrîn and Cizîre). These cantons represent the practical part in the philosophy of the "Democratic Nation" which imposed itself on the political arena as an example to all nations in the region. The revolution which erupted in Syria turned into a civil and sectarian war during its second year due to the foreign intervention, paving the way for devastation and destruction, murder and human tragedies. In the fourth year of the Syrian revolution, the terrorist groups of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Sham) could control a vast areas in Syria and commit terrorist acts against the civilians. In Rojava, there was a revolution within the revolution due to the accumulated legacy of resistance over decades.
Rojava as a model towards a democratic change in Middle East
During the first two years of the Syrian revolution, the Kurds were able to manage their areas by themselves, where they could liberate their areas from regime's control and form different institutions such as "social, service, organizational, administrative and economic". The Kurdish people who were on the edge of the abyss was able to announce Democratic Autonomous Cantons in Rojava despite all the obstacles and difficulties, siege and military attacks against them, also the Kurdish people was able to build his institutions which embraces all the ingredients and spectra in Rojava to become a model towards a democratic change in Syria and in the Middle East. The question that arises here is, with all the devastation and destruction taking place in Syria as a result of overlapping the interests of regional and international powers, what are the conditions and factors that paved the way for the revolution in Rojava?
A revolution with its reasons and conditions
The Nations' Spring or the so-called Arab Spring launched in 2010 starting in Tunisia, moving to Egypt and Libya, and recently its repercussions reached to Syria. The Syrian revolution erupted on 26th of January, but the actual date of the Syrian revolution was on 15th of March of the same year and spread throughout Syria. With the beginning of the Syrian revolution, many countries such as America, Russia, China and some European countries were following the situation in Syria closely, and moving in line with their interests in coordination with some countries in the region such as Turkey, Iran and the Gulf states. Inside Syria, too, the opposition forces started to organize themselves in different names and political formations.
Developments along the country
On September 2011, there was a meeting between 13 leftist and secular parties including 3 Kurdish party, in which they established the so-called national coordination body of democratic change forces in Syria, as some of dissident soldiers and officers established the Free Syrian Army (FSA), where many of al-Qaeda's groups joint to this army later supported by Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia (KSA). On 15th of September 2011, the Syrian National Council was established in Turkey, with direct support by the Turkish government. The Syrian National Council adopted the option of armed warfare against the Syrian regime. As for the aggregations supported by Qatar state, they established the so-called Coalition of National Forces in Syria. All of these formations and attempts were under the auspices of the international forces, each state administrate the revolution according to its interests, which paved the way for devastation, destruction, and sectarian wars in Syria.
Accumulated legacy of Kurdish resistance over decades
The revolution which broke out in the region, overshadowed Rojava, too. We can say that the accumulated legacy of Kurdish resistance over decades, made Rojava seize a leading position in "Nations' Spring". The Kurdish People have suffered a systematic repression and identity smelting since the period of the French mandate through the successive systems ruled in Syria ending with the rule of Ba'athist regime in 1963 which signed the Convention of Adana with the Turkish state against the Kurdish people, who never surrendered to these practices because of the struggle for liberation initiated by the leader of Kurdish people Abdullah Öcallan. As a result, the people in Rojava acquired experiences in struggle over a long decades, these experiences were personified in Qamishlo uprising in 2004 which broke out in protest against massacres committed by Ba'athist regime at that time. Since that time, the core of People's Defense Units (YPG) was formed in Rojava and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) was established which was known as a biggest Kurdish party in Syria at that time.
Kurdish people chooses a 3rd line
With the start of the popular revolution in Syria against Ba'athist regime, the Kurds participated strongly for their liberation, and we can say here that the revolution in Rojava was already ongoing, so Nations' Spring led to the acceleration and escalation of Rojava revolution. However, the Kurdish movement with dependence on its former historical experiences has chosen a third line which is to distance itself from the regime and the opposition at the same time, so the Kurdish movement appeared as a third force in this revolution. The Kurds took part effectively in the demonstrations which were held on Fridays, in their turn, both of Syrian regime and the opposition tried to drag the Kurds to their ongoing war, at the same time, both of them refused and postponed the Kurdish demands of freedom after the fall of the regime.
Construction of free and democratic life in Rojava
The adoption of the Kurds to the third line in the revolution and their insistence on the active participation in it, and their repel against the policy of the regime and the opposition, which did not recognize the Kurds, motived the Kurds to intensify their political and organizational struggle, so they established TEV-DEM (Movement of Democratic Society ) and People’s Assembly of Rojava. To counter the policy of Ba'athist regime, the Movement of Democratic Society has stepped up its activities and public events, where it managed to open schools teaching the Kurdish language which were initiated in Efrîn Canton. The people in Rojava were able to conduct the service departments which were managed by the regime previously, depending self-abilities. As the movement held campaigns of cleaning in the cities, as the movement distributed fuel on the citizens. Also the first establishment of Kurdish language was formed in Rojava.
In terms of facing the negative attitude of Syrian opposition towards the Kurds, the Kurdish people named the demonstrations on Fridays with Kurdish names in Rojava. The first Friday in Rojava was named (Ala Rengîn) which came as a response to the policy of denial by the Syrian opposition. The next step was forming People's Assemblies which represent the will of independence by the Kurdish people.
YPG changes the scales
With the support of the Kurdish political attitude, the Kurdish people focused on health, security and defense sectors. After that came the announcement of People's Defense Units (YPG) in 2011, where the official announcement of YPG was in 2012. It is worth mentioning that YPG's infrastructure formed in 2004. With the announcement of YPG, it proved that it is the only national force which defend all the components in Rojava and was able to liberate many of strategic areas and border gates, so YPG managed to change the scales and proved that any settlement in the future cannot be done without the Kurdish people.
19th of July Revolution
The Kurdish people could distance themselves from the dirty ongoing war in Syria, on the other hand, they conducted their own policy. On 19th of July 2012, the Kurdish people were able to announce a revolution within the revolution, by liberating many cities in Rojava. The strategy of liberization was built on 3 stages, in the first phase, they controlled on the villages and rural areas in Rojava's cities. In the second phase, they have controlled on the service departments as well as civil institutions which were under regime's control, however, the military centers were still under the control of Syrian regime. In the last stage, people were able to free all of Rojava cities including the military centers.
People revolution step by step
On 18th of July, many officials in the Syrian cell crisis, including officials in high rates, were assassinated during an explosion in the place of their meeting. On 19th of July, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) controlled on the cities of Minbej and Jarablous nearby Kobanê and Aleppo. This summoned from the Kurds to accelerate the application of the third stage of their strategy. So the Kurdish people in Kobanê, expelled regime forces from the entire city on 19th of July, and other cities followed Kobanê such as Efrîn, Serêkaniyê, Amouda, Dirbêsiyê, Derik, Tirbespiyê, Girkê Lêgê and Tel Temer. The people in all of these cities could control on government departments. Also the Kurdish people could repel the Syrian regime from the Kurdish neighborhoods in Aleppo and Heseke. The third stage of liberation strategy lasted for three months. While in Qamîşlo the biggest city in Rojava, all of the civil institutions and government departments were controlled by the Kurdish people, though the Syrian regime forces didn't come out of the entire city.
The revolution of 19th July became a symbol of the beginning of a new historical stage for the Kurdish people, as Kurdish people Abdullah Öcallan had entered Rojava on 2nd of July 1979, where a new historical stage began in Rojava.
Tomorrow: The march towards a Democratic Autonomy in Rojava
By Hesen Rammo - ANHA
Translated by: Perwer Muhammad Ali