Greeting from Women Defend Rojava at Zilan Women’s Festival

In a greeting to the Zilan Women's Festival in Frankfurt, the Women Defend Rojava campaign describes the Kurdish women's movement as a role model for worldwide women's struggles that has lit a fire of resistance.

The Zilan Women's Festival, the annual highlight of the Kurdish women's movement in Germany, is taking place in Frankfurt today.

The first Zilan Women's Festival took place in Gelsenkirchen in 2004 under the motto "Women Cross Borders". The following year, the women's movement dedicated the festival to the internationalists Uta Schneiderbanger (Nûdem) and Ekin Ceren Doğruak (Amara), who died in a car accident in southern Kurdistan on May 31, 2005. In the following years, central themes of the women's movement, such as the struggle against the prevailing concept of honor ("We are no one's honor, our honor is our freedom!") and against feminicide ("Women are life, don't kill life!") took center stage. In 2013, thousands of women declared their determination to continue the struggle of Sakine Cansız (Sara), Leyla Şaylemez (Ronahî) and Fidan Doğan (Rojbîn), revolutionaries murdered by the Turkish secret service in Paris. Other festivals were dedicated to the fighting women in Kobanê and Şengal. In 2018, after the Turkish invasion of Afrin, the motto was "Defending Afrin means defending the women's revolution." The last festival was held in June 2019 under the motto "Women's Resistance Liberates."

The international campaign "Women Defend Rojava", founded in 2019, sent a greeting to the festival, stating the following:

"Today is a day of coming together, a day of celebration, a day of resistance. It joins the struggles of numerous women and people of other oppressed genders around the world. The destructive power of patriarchy is visible in all corners and ends in these times. One expression of this are the numerous wars that the rulers are waging in the most diverse places of this world. Kurdistan, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Yemen, Mexico, Ethiopia. These are only a few of the places where the patriarchal system's life-despising mentality is unmistakable. The ecological crisis is also getting worse and worse. It manifests itself in floods, inundations, storms and other environmental disasters and costs the lives of numerous people. In addition, the imperialist states are trying to distance themselves by, among other things, intensifying their racist policies against refugees. And the number of femicides is also increasing worldwide. Here in Germany, a woman is murdered by her partner or ex-partner every 2.5 days.

Patriarchy is destructive, the Kurdish women's movement a role model

Patriarchy is destructive. It is warlike, violent and oppressive. It is directed against life and especially against women. But as the crises of the patriarchal system intensify, the resistance of women and people of other oppressed genders is growing worldwide.

The Kurdish women's movement is our closest point of reference and role model in this. Together with the ideas of Abdullah Öcalan, it has shown us a way to live together in freedom and solidarity. Today, the revolution in Rojava and the women's liberation ideology radiate throughout the world. And so they have also lit a fire of resistance in us.

"To defend the revolution of Rojava also in Germany"

The Women Defend Rojava campaign came into being in 2019 to make an internationalist statement against Turkey's war of aggression in northern Syria. We came together as women and people of other oppressed genders to defend the revolution in Rojava and all of Kurdistan here in Germany as well. We are in a similar situation today. The attacks of the Turkish state are increasing daily in all four parts of Kurdistan. Chemical weapons, the threat of a renewed invasion of Rojava, drone attacks, the murder of children, feminicides. The time to act is now!

Century of the Women's Revolution

We will not allow the Turkish state and its NATO allies to destroy the revolution in Kurdistan. On the contrary, it will be the global resistance of women and people of other oppressed genders that will bring down the patriarchal system. That will end feminicide and ecocide. That will make the 21st century the century of women's revolution. We see the Women's Festival in Memory of Şehîd Zîlan as a part of this, so we are happy to gather here with you today! Hail to International Solidarity and Jin Jiyan Azadî!”