Urgent Call for Solidarity: Women’s Academic Delegation is being withheld at Iraq-Syria border

To the attention of the International Academic Community:

Since yesterday an international women’s academic delegation group is being withheld from crossing to Northern Syria, from the Semalka border between Iraq and Syria, to explore the humanitarian conditions, situation of women and future possibilities of academic collaboration and research in the region.

Although until recently this has not been the case, the delegation was informed that from now on only journalists and NGO members were allowed to cross.This means an impediment to academic freedom constraining the academics whose responsibility is to safeguard democratic values, social justice, gender equality and peace especially at times of turmoil under authoritarian regimes.

Below you can find the call for solidarity written by the delegation. They are asking international academics to contact the chairman of Selmanka border point to show their solidarity and ask for the authorization to continue their academic work in Northern Syria. As it is a delicate situation, due to the political circumstances and the relationship between Northern Syria and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq, the delegation especially asks the mails to be sent to keep a strictly academic tone in order not to aggravate the tension. With the support of the international academics they are hoping to resolve the situation soon enough avoiding the need for further steps to be taken.

For that if you will be contacting the chairman of the border or thinking of spreading the information in your academic networks please keep that in mind. (Contacts at the end of the call)

In solidarity

CALL FOR SOLIDARITY AND PROTEST AT SEMALKA BORDER OFFICE

We are an academic women’s delegation of five women that intends to travel to Northern Syria in order to explore the situation of women, humanitarian conditions and new forms of academic structures. We want to build contacts for future research in the region. We consider research to have a strong ethical and societal responsibility. Joint research and academic exchange could become part of the process to transform society towards deep democracy, social justice, gender equality and a peaceful joint life. We are a diverse group of a lecturer in transculturality and international relations (Dr. Mechthild Exo, Social Work Department of University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer), a student of philosophy and comparative political thought (starting Master at SOAS University of London), a medical and humanitarian expert (retired medical doctor), an expert of the Kurdish region of Northern Syria, and an interpreter.

The application for border crossing had been submitted with a letter by the vice-president of University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer. In the week before we traveled to Iraq we provided the border office with all requested documents, mainly proofing our ID and the university affiliation. When we requested crossing to Syria today, the border office refused with the explanation that only NGOs and journalists are receiving permission.

We ask you to protest the denying of permission to this academic women’s delegation and the hindrance to enter Northern Syria. For us this decision must be considered as a harm to the academic freedom. We particularly ask all academic and non-academic women to be at our side and build up pressure to the border office to enable our women’s delegation to meet and discuss with women of the new founded university in Quamislo.

Sincerely,

Dr. Mechthild Exo


Please contact to the Semalka border office and Dr. Hamid Derbendi:

hamid ahmad@krp.org or hamid.ahmad2@gmail.

00964 750 390 8589

00964 750 445 2794 (Whatsapp)

and p.peshabor@hotmail.com

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“Better than a one- or two-state solution would be a no-state solution“: a Palestinian Internationalist in Rojava — Internationalist Commune of Rojava

This interview was first published June 2017 in Lower Class magazine. At that time the academy was still under construction – see here for the changes the last 12 months have brought, including the completion of the academy, the launch of the Make Rojava Green Again campaign and our first education together. Baz Soz is […]

via “Better than a one- or two-state solution would be a no-state solution“: a Palestinian Internationalist in Rojava — Internationalist Commune of Rojava

Book Launch. ‘Your Freedom and Mine: Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish Question in Erdoğan’s Turkey’. 11th July SOAS

“Only free men can negotiate. Prisoners cannot enter into contracts… I cannot and will not give any undertaking at a time when I and you, the people, are not free. Your freedom and mine cannot be separated.”

—Nelson Mandela during his imprisonment, 10 February 1985

Join Black Rose Books, Peace in Kurdistan, Kurdistan National Congress UK, Kurdish People’s Assembly in Britain, Freedom for Ocalan Campaign – UK for a special event marking the release of Your Freedom and Mine: Abdullah Öcalan and the Kurdish Question in Erdoğan’s Turkey Edited by Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley and Dr Federico Venturini.

Wednesday, 11 July, 6.30 – 8.30pm at SOAS, Russell Square, College Main Building, Room DLT, WC1H 0XG Register for the free event here:

A solidarity donation of £2 is suggested to help cover our costs. Copies of the book will be available for half price! £12.50 Paper back

Speakers include: Dimitrios Roussopoulos political activist, ecologist, and publisher; Dr Thomas Jeffrey Miley lecturer of political sociology at the University of Cambridge; Dr Radha D’Souza Reader in law at Westminster University; Julie Ward MEP (TBC); Jonathan Steele veteran journalist and author; Simon Dubbins UNITE international director; Joe Ryan Chair, Westminster Justice and Peace Commission. In addition, Adem Uzun, member of the Executive Council of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), will send a video-message.

The event will be chaired by: Dr Federico Venturini independent activist-researcher

About the event

 “It is an objective, extremely well-documented analytical report of Turkish state terrorism against Kurds. Shocking revelations make this an emotionally powerful book.”

Dr. Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, researcher and author.

A revolutionary imprisoned on an island fortress may hold the key to peace in the Middle East. From the confines of his Turkish prison cell, Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdish Freedom Movement, has proposed a political solution to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, leading many to describe him as the ‘Kurdish Mandela’.

His ideas on direct democracy and women’s liberation are what inspired the Rojava Revolution in northern Syria.

As Syria exploded in civil war and Turkey descended into tyranny, an international peace delegation of European luminaries led by Mandela’s lawyer twice attempted to meet with Öcalan at his prison on İmralı Island. This book is the fruit of these momentous delegations.

Your Freedom and Mine offers crucial insight into the dramatic history, reality, and prospects of the Kurdish Question in Turkey by combining historical survey, human rights reports, interviews, personal accounts, geopolitical analysis, and political philosophy. The volume is the remarkable work of 25 contributors, including politicians, academics, journalists, Iceland’s former minister of justice, veteran war correspondent Jonathan Steele, and key leaders inside the movement.

For information in UK contact Peace in Kurdistan:

e-mail: estella24@tiscali.co.uk

Mobile 07846 666804

Red and Black Telly: WILL THERE BE RIOTS THIS YEAR IN THE U.K ?

Fingers crossed, ‘eh!

Commander Arian film screening, in Lewes 14th June.

There will be a screening of Commander Arian at the Depot Cinema in Lewes on June 14th at 6.15 pm. After the screening, director Alba Sotorra Clua will take questions from the audience with Elif Sarican and Dirk Campbell.

On the front line of the Syrian war, 30-year-old Commander Arian guides a female battalion towards the city of Kobane to release its people from the grip of ISIS in an empowering tale of emancipation and freedom. When the war in Syria broke, a group of women from the Kurdish resistance assembled the YPJ – Women Protection Units. Arian, who witnessed at a young age the nefarious treatment of sexual assault victims, leads the unit and dedicates her life to battling ISIS. As the YPJ inches closer to their target, she implores her comrades to discover the true meaning of their fight: freedom for the next generation of women. With unprecedented access to the commander and her troops, including delicate scenes of her recovering from multiple bullet wounds, Sotorra brilliantly crafts an enthralling portrait of a woman on a mission.

Anna Campbell from Lewes chose to support the Rojava revolution by going out and fighting alongside the brave women of the YPJ. She met and was interviewed by Alba Sotorra Clua. After the YPG/YPJ defeat of Daesh in the autumn of 2017, Anna went to defend civilians from the Turkish incursion into Afrin in January 2018 and was killed by a Turkish air strike on 15 March.

Proceeds will be donated to the charity Kurdish Red Moon

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