Amid war, Syria Kurds celebrate International Women’s Day



ARA News

Qamishli-Amude-Hasaka-Afrin, Syria– The current war conditions didn’t prevent the Kurdish community in Syria from celebrating the International Women’s Day in different areas on Saturday, March the 8th

In Qamishli city, a ceremony was held in the center of the Free Kurdish Woman Association west of the city. Several civil organizations participated in the revival of the women’s Day, including the Kurdish Women Association in Syria, the National Association of Kurdish Youth, the Free Kurdish Woman Association, the Kurdish Woman Association of Afrin, the Kurdish Woman Association of Roni, Soparto Association and Jeladet Badirkhan Association.

Political figures and prominent Kurdish women delivered speeches to praise the role of women in the Kurdish community and the Syrian society as a whole, while Farhad Ajmo and Kone Resh, two well-known Kurdish poets, recited their poems honouring Syrian Kurdish women.    

In its turn, the armed forces of the Women Protection Units (YPJ) –linked to the Popular Protection Units (YPG)– celebrated Women’s Day by presenting a military parade in Qamishli city. 

The Kurdistani Democratic Students and Youth Association also organized a ceremony attended by Kurdish, Arab and Christian residents of the Qamishli.

Following the opening of the ceremony, the representatives of different Kurdish political parties, youth and women associations including the Assyrian Organization delivered speeches for the celebration of Women’s Day. Rap and Kurdish folk dances were presented, and music accompanied Kurdish popular “dabkeh” dances. The celebration included the presentation of a documentary film about the sufferings of women and their essential role in the society, beside the history of celebrating Women’s Day. 

Shivan Ibrahim, coordinator of the Kurdistani Democratic Students and Youth Association, told ARA News: “We organized the ceremony to honor the role of women in the society and to deepen the interaction between the association and the public.”

The women associations of the Kurdish Progressive Party (Pêşverû) and the Kurdish Democratic Party (el-Parti) also organized ceremonies in Qamishli city.

The secretary of the Kurdish Progressive Party, Abdul Hamid Darwish, sent a letter on the occasion, congratulating the Kurdish and Syrian women and “praising their role in the Syrian revolution”.

Narin Matini, representative of the Kurdish Women Association, told ARA News: “I congratulate the Kurdish and Syrian women, and would also like to praise the historical role which the Kurdish women have played beside their participation in the peaceful demonstrations for liberty and human dignity.”

Najah Ahmed, member of the Soparto Association, said that the association participated in the celebration of this “special occasion” to emphasize the importance of women’s active involvement in political and cultural activities in Syria.

“Women should be granted the opportunity to prove their capabilities in making real change and contribute to the development of the Syrian society and the Kurdish community in Syria,” Ahmed stated in an interview with ARA News. “We must break down the constraints on our (women) role and end the dark decades of merciless persecution to the women in the region.”

Yusra Ismail, representative of the Free Kurdish Woman Association, stated to ARA News: “We celebrate Women’s Day freely and happily and we congratulate women all over the world. We also hope that women play an essential role in organizations and associations, and be able to make decisions independently.”

Maha Naso, a psychologist and member of the Afrin Association, said that the empowerment of women “will be empowerment to the entire society”.

“Providing women with an equal platform will open new horizons in our society and will necessarily lead to a remarkable development on different levels in the region,” Naso argued.

In Afrin city, northwest of Syria, dozens of Kurdish women took to the street to celebrate International Women’s Day. Demonstrators demanded Syrian and Kurdish women to fight for their legitimate rights and accomplish their aspirations in liberty and freedom of speech.

In Amude city, west of Qamishli, Amude’s Kurdish Woman Association of Gulshina, the Kurdish National Council and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) also celebrated the occasion in three different locations across the city.

On the other hand, the Kurdish Teachers Committee in Hasaka city revived the Women’s Day with the participation of women poets, artists and teachers of the Kurdish language.

The ceremony was opened with speechs delivered by members of the Committee, calling for the basic rights of women, emphasizing the importance of such a day to celebrate the women’s role in society and political life.

The Committee pointed out that Syria’s women played an essential role in the society, especially during the three-years-old war in the country, insisting the necessity of recognizing women’s role in Syria.   

A number of poets, among them Jamil and Azad, delivered poems written in Kurdish celebrating Women’s Day, pointing to their considerable role in the society.

Every year, Kurds celebrate many occasions during March, such as Women’s Day on March 8, the commemoration of the 2004-uprising in Qamishli/Qamishlo against the Assad regime on March 12, and on March 21 Kurds celebrate the new year known as Newroz Day (as a sign of liberation from tyranny and totalitarianism).  

A female activist attended the celebration in Hasaka, conditioned to stay anonymous, told ARA News that the Kurds suffered a lot throughout history.

“History witnesses that Kurdish women fought alongside men against the tyrannical Baathist regimes in Syria and Iraq, and against suppression in Turkey and Iran,” she said. “In such an occasion wee all remeber Beritana (Kurdish female academic who joined Kurdistan Workers Party PKK and was then imprisoned by the Turkish authorities) and Leyla Qasim (prominent Kurdish political figure and sociologist who was executed in 1974 by the Iraqi authorities due to her political activities).”   

Ahin Baker, member of the Kurdish Teachers Comittee in Hasaka, told ARA News that since the establishent of the Committee in 2003, we were celebrating Women Day in public, despite the risks of arrest by the Assad security forces.

In response to a question raised by ARA News about the role of women during the Syrian ‘uprising’, Baker said: “Revolutions are launched by men, but the greatest burden falls on women’s shoulders”.

Notably, these associations and organizations used to celebrate the International Women’s Day amid threats by the Syrian security forces.


Reporting by: Nisrin Ahmed, Jinda Ahmed, Bishewa Mohammed, Ivana Abdulhalim, Judi Aziz.

Source: ARA News


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