Reşit: PKK is revenge for 5,000 years of patriarchy

The PKK has provided important answers in the women's freedom struggle and represents the hope of freedom for countless women, says Jiyan Reşit, a commander of the women's guerrilla army YJA Star.

On the occasion of the upcoming founding anniversary of the Kurdistan Workers' Party on 27 November, Jiyan Reşit, one of the commanders of the Free Women's Troops (YJA Star), talks about the importance of the PKK for the struggle for women's freedom.

What was the significance of the founding of the PKK for Kurdish women?

On the foundation day of our party, 27 November, first of all I would like to congratulate Rêber Apo [Abdullah Öcalan], our martyrs for freedom, the Kurdish people, those who oppose all modern weapon technologies on the line of the PKK with full sacrifice and conviction of victory and fight fiercely in their positions, and those who resist in the dungeons of fascism on the line of Kemal (Pir), Mazlûm (Doğan) and Sara (Sakine Cansız).

In the history of Kurdistan, there have been many uprisings and revolts against different states. In these uprisings, the dignified attitude of Kurdish women led by women like Zarife, Rindexan, Besê and Mother Gülnaz, who did not want to surrender to the murderous patriarchal mentality, has been manifested. They sacrificed themselves in the struggle and made history, thus leaving a strong legacy for the women of Kurdistan. Right at the beginning of the founding of the PKK, Rêber Apo included Kurdish women in the struggle for freedom, despite all social condemnations. The taboos created by the patriarchal exploitative mentality were destroyed by Rêber Apo's ideological struggle. With the PKK, the reality of women fighting for themselves was revealed to the woman who had to live for the individual service of the man and to please him. The Kurdish woman has advanced the search for an answer to the question "How to live?" and for her own belonging.

From the very first appearances of the PKK, our friend Sara, through her participation in the struggle, negated the state patriarchal thinking that said women could not fight. Her participation in the struggle as a founding member of the PKK and her practical activity prompted not only Kurdish women but all women to put their hearts and dreams into this struggle. For this reason, based on the thoughts of Rêber Apo and the practice of our friend Sara, the PKK has become a source of inspiration for the call for freedom for all women. The PKK has given the perfect answer to the question of how Kurdish women should live in all areas of life. Also, the founding of the PKK not only answered the question "How to live?" but also embodied the new Kurdish women's personality marching willfully towards freedom.

"The struggle for freedom is based on women"

The women of Kurdistan joined the PKK not only as a reaction to the patriarchal mentality, but also because they were convinced that they could build their own lives and they trusted in their own strength. Because in the history of Kurdish women there is a line of resistance that does not bow to domination. The women of Kurdistan have created thousands of people like Zîlan, Bêrîtan, Sema, Sara, Bêrîvan and Delal Nûrhak by creating a new type of free woman in the PKK. The meeting of women with the modern Apoist ideology of freedom and the strength they draw from their historical roots has created great values for Kurdish society and women. Based on the liberation ideology and its historical connection with the defence of freedom, the resistance of Kurdish women against all kinds of feminicides and the destruction of society is growing. This women's resistance reaches from the mountains to the plains. Today, the women of Kurdistan are taking revenge for 5,000 years of patriarchy by discovering the life they are looking for in the PKK and building their own lives.

"A culture of freedom has been created"

By building their own lives based on the ideology of women's liberation, women are also contributing to the democratic construction of society. Today, the brave women of Kurdistan are using their own strength and determination to organise a new way of life based on democratic modernity and are thus a source of inspiration for women worldwide, which is also manifested through the YJA Star. This strengthens the conviction of Kurdish women and all women in the Middle East to organise democratic life through their own strength and efforts. Against the ruling mentality of the state, which says that a free life is not possible for women, they have created a culture of freedom.

What was the significance of the founding of the PKK for the Middle East?

The basin of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, home to Middle Eastern society, has given rise to many cultures and societies. The East, the root of human culture, has created a permanent resistance to the capitalist system in its endless history, although the region has been constantly attacked and plundered by the hegemonic powers. These countries, despised and underestimated despite being the most important centre of civilisations, have themselves experienced all the wars of the past millennia. For centuries, ruling powers have tried to hold on to power in this region through a "divide and rule" policy and to make people enemies of each other. With the PKK, the entire cultural wealth of Middle Eastern society, based on its own historical reality, has been exposed. Thus, with the ideology of Rêber Apo, both the Kurdish people and the peoples of the Middle East have found their own values. In this way, the PKK has shown how people find themselves and adopt their own identities. Against the mentality of nation states, which fragmented the beliefs and cultures of the peoples of the Middle East and made them enemies, the PKK created the ground for the struggle for democracy with its paradigm that will unite and liberate the entire Middle East.

"Building a democratic society is not a dream"

With 27 November 1978, that is, with the foundation of the PKK, the peoples came together and fought for freedom together. This shows that building a democratic society is not a distant dream. The fact that the fighters of the PKK come from different peoples and fight and fell together for the same goal shows this reality. In this sense, the struggle of the PKK is also the common march of the peoples to freedom. For this reason, 27 November is not only the celebration of the resurrection of the Kurdish people, but also the celebration of the march of the peoples of the Middle East to freedom. The PKK is also an expression of the encounter of all peoples both with their own history of struggle for freedom and with other peoples. Therefore, this is not only a limited struggle that liberates the Kurdish people, but also a struggle that creates values to bring the peoples closer to each other and to their freedom. The PKK's struggle is the struggle of all humanity for a free life and is concretised in Kurdistan. The PKK has stood against war and genocide in the Middle East by creating great human values and waging a relentless struggle against injustice. It stands against genocide and capitalist modernity by building a democratic modernity in the struggle for freedom.

How does the legacy of the PKK show in the current women's struggle?

From the first day until today, the PKK's struggle has created great values for all peoples. It was the PKK that brought out the power of Kurdish women and united women with their own dynamics. This force became an example for women's struggle worldwide. The 50-year fighting tradition of the PKK and the 30-year struggle of the Women's Army have created great values for both humanity and women. These values created through the freedom struggle are reflected in many areas of today's freedom struggle.

"The YJA Star fights for all women"

Today, the resistance struggle of YJA Star and HPG against chemical weapons and state-of-the-art technology is a concrete expression of this. The legacy of resistance created by the PKK has created a great belief in freedom among YJA Star fighters. The resistance of the YJA Star against the AKP/MHP and the KDP, which is itself a puppet of Turkish fascism, is a special example of resistance that has no equal in history. The YJA Star shows for the first time in the world how to resist such massive use of technology. In this unique resistance, the PKK fighters have committed themselves to victory. They are determined and fighting very hard. It is important to know that the YJA Star is fighting today in the mountains for all oppressed peoples and women who face harassment, rape and all kinds of patriarchal violence on a daily basis. Sara and Rûken, who fought with a big heart and full of determination for revenge, who went into battle against fascism without hesitation and without faltering, are concrete examples of this. YJA Star is the name of the PKK's 50-year tradition of resistance. With its own strength, its professional fighting tactics and its own efforts, it teaches the enemy the necessary lesson. As YJA Star, we say that the last word has not yet been said about Erdoğan, his junior partner MHP and their puppet KDP.

On this occasion, I call on all young women to take to the mountains, embrace freedom and together overthrow fascism, ensure the physical freedom of Rêber Apo and build our own lives.