Trees planted in Switzerland in memory of Rojava martyrs

Forest dedicated to the martyrs of the Rojava Revolution.

Dozens of activists from Europe have planted trees for a forest on Mont-Soleil (Mount of the Sun) in memory of the internationalist revolutionaries who lost their lives fighting in Rojava. The place has a historical significance for the international anarchist movement and was in the 19th century a nucleus of the international labor movement.

The project of the memorial grove was initiated on Mont Soleil by activists of the Swiss Mont-Soleil Collective of the same name. Saturday's inauguration ceremony saw the participation of dozens of internationalists from different parts of Europe as well as the families and companions of some of the martyrs. The area with the grove was named "Forest of the internationalist martyrs of the Rojava Revolution".

The city of Saint-Imier where Mont Soleil is located, is a historic place for the international anarchist movement. 147 years ago, a meeting took place in a guesthouse in the region, from which the first anti-authoritarian International emerged. At the time, Russian revolutionary and philosopher Michael Bakunin was also involved.

"Rojava Revolution strengthens the hope for a new world"

The ceremony for the grove began with opening speeches in German, French and Kurdish. Among other things, it was highlighted that: "These people stood up for their ideals and went to Rojava for the freedom of the peoples. They participated in building a social and political alternative. With this forest we want to create for them a living monument on Mont Soleil that thrives and takes root as their ideals."

Seedlings were then planted by members of the groups from the Mont Soleil Collective. Next to each tree, memorial stones bearing the names of fallen internationalists and various symbols have been relocated. The ceremony was also attended by families of Duisburg Internationalist Ivana Hoffmann (Nom de Guerre: Avaşin Tekoşin Güneş), who died on 7 March 2015 in the fight against ISIS in Tal Tamer, of YPG volunteer Frederic Henri Georges Demonchaux (Gabar Légionnaire ), who died on September 7, 2017 in Raqqa, and of Barbara Anna Kistler, born in Zurich in 1955, who was martyred as a guerilla fighter in January 1993 in Dersim, northern Kurdistan, after being severely wounded by Turkish soldiers at the end of 1992.

After the planting session, some speakers talked about their personal experiences with the martyrs. Çiya, a friend of YPG fighter Gabar Légionnaire, said: "At first, Gabar went there to fight the ISIS. Then he was injured and returned to France. When he recovered, he went back to Rojava. He wanted to be part of the system built there. He felt like a Kurd who wanted to be buried in Kurdistan after his death. When Gabar fell, he actually died like a Kurd."

An activist from the Berlin Resistance Committee said that the martyrs and fighters of the Rojava revolution are strengthening the hope of a new world.

Barbara Kistler's sister Connie also addressed a few words to the audience: "Her heart would beat from Latin America to Asia, from the Middle East to those who are fighting for a more beautiful and livable world. Until the last moment of her life, she was a true internationalist."

The musical program of the inauguration ceremony was designed by the duo Lila and Bruno with English- and French-language songs as well as the Va Ensemble, which created an internationalist atmosphere with music from Armenia, Kurdistan and Turkey.