A smell of vanil­la comes from the kitchen. A tall young girl enters the liv­ing room with a cake. She tells us laugh­ing that she burnt it. Her name is Hevi. She serves the cake onto small plates. We are eight women, some sit­ting on a sofa, some sit­ting on the thick car­pet. We eat the cake try­ing to remove the burnt bits and drink tea despite the scorch­ing heat. Oppo­site to me there is a woman busy stitch­ing cloves on a thread. The woman sit­ting on my right is Miz­gin, her name means “good news”. She must be 50–55 years old, like my moth­er. She speaks very soft­ly, even when she is mak­ing jokes. She asks me ques­tions about Swiss pol­i­tics. She is inter­est­ed in the pop­u­lar ini­tia­tive sys­tem. As I start explain­ing, I real­ize she knows more about it than I do. Hevi asks me about my fam­i­ly. We watch pic­tures on my phone, of my sis­ter and her child, a group of friends hik­ing, mak­ing fun­ny faces. I watch the por­traits on the wall oppo­site to me. Hevi points at one of them to the left. Her name is Zelal, she was only 21 years old when she died. She was study­ing to become a teacher when the war broke out. She decid­ed to join the women pro­tec­tion units, the YPJ to defend her city against Daesh. She was mar­tyred when Daesh attacked their position.

The siege last­ed for about 4 months. The world was watch­ing. No one believed the Kur­dish mili­tia, armed with their old Kalash­nikovs would be able to fight back. But Kobane was lib­er­at­ed. It was less than 4 years ago. It was lib­er­at­ed by Zelal who want­ed to be a teacher, by Hevi who burnt the cake, by Miz­gin who is as old as my moth­er and by their friends. It was lib­er­at­ed by house­wives, office work­ers, moth­ers, lovers, women who dreamed of trav­el­ling the world. They don’t look like sol­diers or like the female war­riors from the movies. They look like my sis­ter or my friends. They don’t like to fight and take no pres­tige in know­ing how to shoot. It is their spir­it of sis­ter­hood that led them to take arms. It is their love for their com­mu­ni­ty, for their neigh­bours that inspired them to fight. They fight so that their 12-year-old sis­ter won’t be forced to mar­ry, so that the opin­ion of their moth­er on polit­i­cal issues will be tak­en into account. They fight to defeat the patri­ar­chal men­tal­i­ty that has been enslav­ing women for hun­dreds of years, brought to such an extreme by the Daesh gangs.

The woman sit­ting oppo­site to me has fin­ished her cloves neck­lace. She smiles at me and attach­es it around my neck. There is some­thing total­ly mys­ti­fy­ing in the way the YPJ fight­ers opened their house to me and fed me cake. As soon as I came in the door they treat­ed me like a sis­ter, a com­rade. They asked my opin­ion about some issues faced by their orga­ni­za­tion, about what one of them called the “bureau­cra­cy of the rev­o­lu­tion”. They embraced me, made me feel like this rev­o­lu­tion was also mine. They con­sid­er it their duty to wel­come any­one who express­es sol­i­dar­i­ty with their strug­gle. Their atti­tude felt almost can­did. I felt like telling them to take care. But the Kalash­nikovs lean­ing against the wall remind­ed me that they know how to take care of them­selves. I thought they must be dream­ers to believe that they can change the world. But how many of us are crazy and brave enough to pur­sue this dream and fight for it?

Matil­da Cramia

Con­stru­ire la soror­ité en mangeant du gâteau au Roja­va Cliquez pour lire 
Roja­va • Cre­an­do soror­i­dad: paste­les y char­las sobre la rev­olu­ción Haga clic para leer

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