Interview • Zozan Samî Mistefa, doctor in Rojava

Rojava Zozan Samî Mistefa

Rojava, at the epicenter of the war’s hellzone in Northeastern Syria… Here the world has unleased all of its violence. Here, the world is an accomplice to the crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Islamic State and Turkey.


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We met with Zozan Samî Mistefa, a young doctor – one of the rare ones – present all the way to the frontlines where the war begins and where life becomes a question of resistance.

What brought you to exercising as a doctor in the middle of a war?

Because my job is saving lives. Here, this is my land, my home and these are my people, and because I couldn’t just stand there and watch these terrorists come and kill our children.

Rojava Zozan Samî Mistefa portrait femme médecinThey have killed our existence and this is a sectarian ethnic war, not only against the Kurds but against all of society in Rojava. Because we have already paid a toll of 11 thousand martyrs in order to live in peace.

I am no better than this girl or that boy who pick up their weapons and head for the frontlines. They love life, but they love their country even more…just as I do.

What do you see every day? Can you tell us about this terrible war?

Every day, I see a tragedy taking place before my eyes. I see children assassinated. I see women who were raped. I see many fighters with mutilated bodies. I see mothers crying over their children. I see people, both young and old, who have lost their limbs.

War crimes are being committed. As a doctor, I’m called upon to treat burns and I have seen that the Turkish army is using weapons forbidden at the international level. I have seen white phosphorus on the bodies of the wounded.

What event struck you the most in your work as a woman doctor?

I saw a little boy of less than nine years who had lost both legs following artillery fire by a Turkish tank. When they evacuated him and brought him in, he was crying and screaming, and looking up to the sky, saying: “Why God, why did you let all the criminals in the world come on our land, why must we fight all the terrorism ourselves, oh God who will give me back my legs, I want to play soccer. How can I play soccer now? How?” And his older brother who was no more than eleven kept repeating: “Brother, I’m your support. I’m here, mother and father will always be here for you also, they’ll come to the hospital soon and help you too”… But they didn’t know that their parents had also died! Yes, I will never forget that scene that played out before my eyes.

To the world, to the West, to women… what would you like to say?

I want to say that we are human beings just like you, we have our own lives, our own plans, we have our families and our traditions, we have our feelings, we love and we hate, we share anger and sadness. We also have souls just like you, we are not containers of black oil over which you argue and launch all your wars against us. The earth is big enough for everyone. Let’s live in peace. And I will say to all the women in the world that the feminist movement began in Rojava in order to prove to the while world that a woman can be a leader, a mother and a soldier all at once, and say to the whole world that women are strong and that those who attack our land are sentenced to die.

Rossella Assanti
For Kedistan

Rossella Assanti

Rossella Assanti, activist and freelance journalist specialized in Kurdistan issues. She believes in truth as a means of making justice win. Travel so that his pen becomes the voice of those who are silenced.

Zozan Samî Mistefa, femme médecin : “Être kurde, c’est une mission très dure… Il faut se battre pour survivre… prier pour nos enfants qui ont été déplacés dans les camps qui n’ont pas assez de capacité contre ce froid sans fin … Merde à toutes les politiques.”


Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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