Rihan Loqo: We held a historic congress on a historic day

Thousands of women from all circles in North-East Syria attended the Kongra Star congress in Hesekê. Alongside Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Turkmens, Circassians and Yazidis, writers and socialists were among the participants.

The women's umbrella organization in North-East Syria, Kongra Star, held its 9th congress under the motto "Let's Carry the ‘Jin Jiyan Azadî’ Uprising to Victory with the Spirit of Women's Revolutionary Struggle" with the participation of hundreds of delegates alongside representatives of many organizations and women's movements from the region and the world.

Kurdish and international movements such as KJK (Kurdistan Women’s Community) sent messages to the congress at the Serdem Culture and Art Center in Hesekê, which representatives of Kurdish, Arab, Armenian, Syriac, Circassian, Turkmen and Yazidi communities attended.

Kongra Star Coordination member Rîhan Logo spoke to ANF regarding the main focus of the congress and the roadmap the women’s organisation will follow in the forthcoming period.

The congress took place at a time of intense oppression. What is the meaning of this for the women’s movement?

Today is January 15, 2023. It is a historic day for us, as women. It is the anniversary of the foundation of Kongra Star and our 9th Congress is being held. We combined these two historic events today. We celebrate this congress which is held with the motivation of Leader Öcalan’s philosophy ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadi’ [Woman, Life, Freedom]. We hope that we will improve women’s struggle and organisation in the coming two years. We wanted to hold our congress especially this year. We exchanged opinions in a detailed way with a lot of sides following the conferences we carried out in towns, cities and cantons. Therefore, we have taken action aiming to improve our efforts against the ruling mindset. The Turkish state’s threats, invasive mindset and attacks against our revolution’s achievements continue today.

We will be a solution against the patriarchal mindset system which attacks our organisation, force, our revolution that is motivated by Leader Öcalan’s philosophy and which aims to weaken the will of women by removing its essence. It was an enthusiastic congress in line with the improvement of women's work in the North and East Syrian revolution.

How was the preparation period for the congress?

We argued a lot about the time and the slogan of the congress. We wished to hold it at a time when the Turkish state’s attack plans against the achievements of the women’s revolution intensified. Doing so, we have chosen this date to answer that, “No matter how hard you try to break the will of free women by eliminating the gains of the women’s revolution, we will frustrate your plans.” In the congress, the work carried out for two years, the losses and gains in this process were discussed. The past period was a painful 2 years when we lost the greatest pioneers of our revolution. For this reason, we turned our direction to the congress.

We carried out our congress with inspiration from those who pioneered our revolution; Sakine Cansız, Evîn Goyî, Dayîka Hogir, Zeyneb Saruxan, Jiyan Tolhildan etc. Based in North-East Syria, we have a great will for the entire world and women. With the aim of making these decisions clearer, we have chosen the motto “Let's Carry the ‘Jin Jiyan Azadî’ Uprising to Victory with the Spirit of Women's Revolutionary Struggle”.

Which components attended the congress apart from your delegates?

Thousands of women from all circles in North-East Syria attended the congress. Alongside Kurds, Arabs, Syriacs, Turkmens, Circassians and Yazidis, writers and socialists were among the participants. We hope to make more joint decisions together. On the other hand, our friends from Damascus, Aleppo, Lebanon, Bashur (Iraqi Kurdistan) and Europe attended the congress.

The uprising spirit in Rojhilat (Iranian Kurdistan) was a topic of focus at the congress. How will this situation affect the new struggle map?

The uprising in Rojhilat has taken its inspiration, foundation and power from women’s revolution. With this congress, we aimed to send a message to Rojhilat where an uprising led by women is taking place. This uprising will succeed. We, the women’s movement, are the supporters of the uprising ‘Jin, Jiyan,Azadi’ and we attribute our congress to this uprising. We attribute our congress to the martyrs of the uprising in Rojhilat and Iran in the person of Jina Amini. Know that you are not alone. We, as a revolutionary force, support your uprising.

With this congress, we decide that we can do what is asked of us in the future. As Kongra Star, our main struggle is to ensure the physical freedom of Leader Apo [Abdullah Öcalan]. The reason why this is our main subject of struggle is that Leader Apo enabled women to reach the light from the darkness they were in, and to organize them as hope, army and ideology. We will be on the streets until we ensure the physical freedom of Leader Apo, who provided this freedom for millions of people. Our congress especially discussed this decision.

The situation in Rojhilatê Kurdistan, and the repercussions of women's organizations and revolutions in the world, ways to make it stronger and take on more roles were also among the topics discussed. In the very critical year of 2023, we will be in a position to frustrate the invasion plans of the enemy and the patriarchal mentality against women's freedom through more organized unity and solidarity.

How will your congress resonate in the Middle East and the world?

We struggle not only for North-East Syria but also for all Syria, Kurdistan, Middle East and world revolution of women. Because, today, the leadership of women has been nationalised across all Kurdistan under the slogan ‘Jin, Jiyan, Azadi’. For this reason, we should spread this effect to all countries and women’s movements with a revolutionary spirit and with this slogan. We must be able to lead more for the whole world by transforming the women-led resistance in Kurdistan into a more organized one. All our work is carried out with this aim.

Not only Kurdish women are included in Kongra Star. Under the leadership of Kurdish women, Arab, Syriac, Turkmen and Circassian women are also joining the organization. Because Kurdish women were the first to pioneer. For this reason, the Arab community in the region plays a pioneering role for all Arab countries and women. Arab women should lead the way for all Arab women and other women, just as we, as Kurdish women, pioneered for all components of peoples. Syriac women should also be the pioneers of all women. Thus, everyone can lead more with their own language, identity and culture. Thus, we will conclude that by uniting the freedom circle, we will maintain our freedom.

How did women’s organisations that could not attend the congress contribute?

Important messages were sent to the congress from many countries and organizations. The most important of these was the message of the Kurdistan Women's Community (KJK), which was an important one for formation and gains. We would like them to be included in this congress as well. It was our greatest wish for our friends in KJK to come and participate. They could not. However, they sent a very strong message with effective content. On the other hand, messages from all councils and institutions were received. There were messages from women's movements from different countries. These messages were presented to the entire congress structure. Everyone gave the message that the victory of the women's revolution is the victory of all women in the world. Significant messages in different languages were shared.