"Iran and Eastern Kurdistan will be liberated by women"

Çimen Şine from the coordination of the Eastern Kurdistan Women's Society (KJAR) speaks on the protests after the deadly rape attack on Şilêr Resuli and talks about the perspectives of the women's movement in Eastern Kurdistan and Iran.

On 3 September 2022, Şilêr Resuli, a resident of Merîwan in Rojhilat (Eastern Kurdistan), became the target of an attempted rape by her neighbour, the Iranian intelligence agent Goran Qadri. The neighbour had come to her door under the pretext of needing help. 36-year-old Şilêr Resuli jumped from the second floor of the house to protect herself from the armed rapist. In the process, she was seriously injured. The mother of two succumbed to her injuries on 8 September 2022.

The death of Şilêr Resuli led to mass protests by women in Merîwan and they spread to other cities in Eastern Kurdistan. The women gathered mainly in front of court buildings and demanded an end to the ignorance and silence towards crimes against women. During the protests, the patriarchal orientation of the Iranian regime was linked to systematic patriarchal violence. For Goran Qadri, who has since been arrested, the women demanded the maximum sentence.

"The regime attacks women as the vanguard of the freedom struggle"

Çimen Şine, a member of the Eastern Kurdistan Women's Society (KJAR) Coordination, spoke to ANF about the attack on Şilêr Resuli and the growing women's struggle in Eastern Kurdistan.

What do you think is the reason for the increase in rape cases in Eastern Kurdistan?

The 21st century is the century of women. As the forerunners of this age, Kurdish women - as well as women all over the world - are fighting for a solution to the worsening problems of humanity. In Kurdistan, they are also the leaders of the struggle to solve the question of freedom of the Kurdish people, a people whose identity has been stolen and whose existence has been denied and destroyed. The Kurdish people, under the leadership of women, are rising collectively as a society, organising themselves and gaining determination and consciousness through action. Therefore, the Iranian regime has always used specific and systematic violence against women and their struggle for freedom. In doing so, as in many comparable cases and genocides, the regime particularly targets the emerging freedom struggles of women in Iran and Eastern Kurdistan.

The policies of nation states are directed against the aspirations of women and peoples for freedom. It is implemented in various forms to eliminate claims to freedom and resistance. Today, it is the rape mentality that manifests itself in attacks on women in many parts of the world. This mentality manifests itself as an expression of patriarchal non-acceptance of women in all parts of Kurdistan. The fascist Turkish state and the colonialist Iranian regime operate this policy against women in a sophisticated and systematic way as a method of special warfare.

What message was the rape attack on Şilêr Resuli meant to convey, also in relation to the situation in all four parts of Kurdistan?

Sexual violence, rapes, assaults, "suicides", murders and suspicious deaths of Kurdish women have increased, especially in Eastern and Northern Kurdistan. They are by no means isolated cases, but are implemented in a planned manner as part of a special war policy. They are deliberate and systematic attacks. It is a mass murder of women and an expression of genocide. A large part of these attacks are perpetrated by special units of the Iranian regime. The murderers of women in Northern Kurdistan are often members of the Turkish occupation army. The increasing rapes are the result of this attitude. The events in Merîwan are a current example of this and clearly show the methods of the misogynist special war of Iran and the AKP/MHP regime.

The attack on Şilêr Resuli was directed against all women. She threw herself from a multi-storey building to save her free body. Şilêr Resuli showed how strong the spirit of freedom of women is in Iran and in Rojhilat. This is the reality of the indomitable free woman and she has become the conscience of the whole society. The people of Merîwan poured into the streets for her. The people of Kurdistan have stood up for Şilêr. We know very well that actions against women are planned attacks. These attacks are a product of the colonialist Iranian regime and nation-state mentality, and they are an expression of the sexist and power-oriented mentality of the mullahs, who issue fatwas on a daily basis in Iran, and the special war officials. Let's not forget that the mullahs say, "Iran will be destroyed at the hands of women." And this is not just an assessment based on religion.

How will KJAR and the women's liberation struggle in general respond to such attacks?

Our response to this attack on the growing women's liberation struggle led by KJAR in Iran and Rojhilat will be to organise women in all sectors of society. The colonialist Iranian regime knows very well that women are the vanguard of the freedom struggle in Rojhilat. This idea is behind the rapes, violence and hatred against women. Such attacks as the one on Şilêr Resuli serve to control and suppress the will of women and to crush the organised struggle of women.

It is wanted that women in Rojhilat and in Iran feel that they do not have a single place where they can breathe freely. It is a message to women to remain "slaves". The idea of showing women that there is no protected space for them is born out of the rapist mentality. It is an attempt to turn back the reality of the 21st century. However, Iran and Eastern Kurdistan will be liberated by honourable, brave women like Şilêr Resuli.

"Society has been transformed into a patriarchal special war apparatus"

Iran has a designated patriarchal system. How has the patriarchal terror promoted by the regime developed recently?

To create a sexist society, the phenomenon of masculinity is glorified in Iran. In an environment characterised by oppression and violence, all streets, households and workplaces are sites of male terror. Through patriarchal agitation and provocation, society has been transformed into an apparatus of special warfare against women. The police and other paramilitary forces use the Pasdaran and Basij-e-Mostazafin as a means to attack women and girls by penetrating society.

As in all parts of Kurdistan, one of the most widespread methods of special warfare is to set up gangs to break the will of women and girls through sexual violence and turn their childhood dreams into nightmares. In Iran and Eastern Kurdistan, these are the regime's Basij-e-Mostazafin.

The people here are aware of the hands that are stretched out against women, as in Merîwan. Women and peoples will break these hands. This is a fundamental task of all dignified Kurdish women and men.

How can society fight against the actions of the state, how can women organise their self-defence?

Again, it is very important that women in particular and society in general take up such incidents. No woman should be left alone. All people in Eastern Kurdistan, Kurds, Persians, Arabs, Baluchs, Azeri and all other ethnic and religious identities will continue their protests against the rapist state and against sexist discourses and sexual violence.

The repressive policies and women's laws of the colonialist Iranian regime aim to disempower women. In the face of this patriarchal attitude, the people of Merîwan have defended their honour and identity. As the women's movement of Rojhilat, we welcome this attitude.

In order to thwart the special war policy of the colonialist Iranian state, all peoples, especially Kurdish, Persian, Baluchi, Arab, and Azerbaijani and Sorani women, must act extremely consciously and sensitively. The will of the free women in Kurdistan is wanted destroyed. Their dynamic and democratic force is wanted eliminated. We should know that all the police, military and officials in Merîwan and in the whole of Rojhilat are acting today within the framework of this dirty special war plan, which is directed against the resistance of women, our society, our values, our achievements, our identity, in short, against the existence of women. We must not forget this for a moment. For this reason, there should be no contacts or relations with such people.

Our society has to be very political and organised in this regard. The state is trying to hide and cover up this reality. For this reason, society must create a common consciousness and organisation. Only when every neighbourhood and every street is organised will people know about each other. Society will be able to defend itself and the Kurdish people will be strong enough to thwart this special war policy by strengthening their political-ideological consciousness and organising. Therefore, as the women's movement in Rojhilat, we call on all our people, especially Kurdish women, to be sensitive and vigilant on this issue, to sensitise their surroundings, to intervene and to develop their self-defence against all kinds of attacks.

The misogynist Iranian regime benefits from the fragmentation of women's organisations. However, women's gains apply to all women. Therefore, all women must defend and embrace the achievements of the organised struggle. When women actually stand up for them and defend them, that is, when we are truly united as women, we are strong. It must not be forgotten that the misogynist policies of the colonial regime envisage for us only a life as objects. Very subtle measures are used to try to put us in a position of obedience to the ruling man. The regime wants to create the political, economic, ideological, social and cultural conditions for this. As women whose aspiration for freedom is unwavering, we can never accept this. In view of the special war in Rojhilat, which aims to break the resistance of our people and destroy our sociality, and in view of the attacks on women, our entire people must strengthen their self-defence in all spheres of life. This is especially true for women. Self-defence is not only practised with weapons; self-defence is also developed in consciousness, emotions and all aspects of life. We call on Iranian women and Rojhilat women to unite in the face of the attacks of the male regime that is in collapse and to build a common and pluralist organisation to protect our gains. We say Iran and Eastern Kurdistan will be liberated by women.