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Once again, Turk­ish armed forces bombed bor­der zones in Irak and Roja­va, tar­get­ting pop­u­la­tions a major­i­ty of which are Kur­dish and Ezidis.

This time, it was the Kur­dish refugee camp of Makhmur and the Ezi­di region of Shen­gal in South­ern Iraki’s part of divid­ed Kur­dis­tan, along with the region of Derik in Roja­va (North­east­ern Syr­ia). Accord­ing to Kur­dish sources, the var­i­ous strikes were car­ried out by Turk­ish fight­er planes that took off from the 8th Air­base in Amed (Diyarbakır). In Makhmur, the strikes killed two peo­ple among the self-defence forces and made dozens of wound­ed with­in the refugee camp. The bomb­ings on Shen­gal were devastating.

The Turk­ish regime used as an excuse for the launch­ing of these attacks,  the fact the Kur­dis­tan Labor Par­ty was hold­ing its annu­al meet­ing, fol­low­ing close­ly on the Turk­ish drone attacks while ISIS had launched its oper­a­tion on Has­sakah prison in Rojava.

Clear­ly then, there is noth­ing new in the Turk­ish regime’s strat­e­gy against the Kur­dish move­ment, except for an esca­la­tion in « dis­tance killings », an esca­la­tion that fol­lows on mil­i­tary set­backs expe­ri­enced in Irak dur­ing attempt­ed Turk­ish ter­res­tri­al offen­sives against the PKK, along with a freeze in posi­tions between Rus­sia, the Syr­i­an regime and Turkey, thwart­ing Erdoğan’s Syr­i­an occu­pa­tion plans  under the guise pro­vid­ed by the Astana agree­ments.

Seen from Europe, this is how what some call a “low inten­si­ty war” goes on, car­ried out from the air with “mod­ern” infor­ma­tion tech­nolo­gies and killer drones.

Cries for help join the homages ren­dered to the vic­tims and, from the oppos­ing side, nation­al­ist promis­es of “yel­low bags” for activists of the Kur­dish lib­er­a­tion movement.

Under these con­di­tions, it is easy enough for a warm pro­po­nent of realpoli­tik to send back to back the claims made by both sides,  even if this rep­re­sents a kind of dis­avow­al con­cern­ing « Kur­dish forces » who were for­mer­ly praised for their sac­ri­fices against ISIS.

Euro­pean rightwingers speak sot­to voce of “Turkey’s right to defend its fron­tiers”, in echo of their own notion of fortress-like sov­er­eigni­ty, and con­tin­ue to fac­tu­al­ly crim­i­nal­ize the Kur­dish move­ment by clas­si­fy­ing the PKK as ter­ror­ist while judi­cial deci­sions against their sup­port­ers, expul­sions or dif­fi­cul­ties raised against the wel­com­ing of polit­i­cal refugees abound.

Although still present in Euro­pean media, crit­i­cism against Erdoğan does not rest on his ter­ri­to­r­i­al ambi­tions in North­ern Syr­ia and the acts of war car­ried out  toward those ends, nor against his geno­ci­dal inten­tions against the Kur­dish peo­ple, but in the name of some “uni­ver­sal­ist notion of free­dom” allow­ing for the denun­ci­a­tion of his “Islamism”.

Thus do we see the media’s stance of “at the same time”, echo­ing on the one hand judg­ments against and impris­on­ment of intel­lec­tu­als and jour­nal­ists in Turkey along with women’s strug­gles, while, on the oth­er, main­tain­ing a dis­tance from the Kur­dish lib­er­a­tion strug­gle. This phe­nom­e­non was most explic­it while ISIS was con­duct­ing its ter­ror­ist oper­a­tion against the prison in Has­sakah.

With­out even acknowl­edg­ing it to them­selves, some jour­nal­ists spare Turk­ish nation­al­ism, Turci­ty, while shout­ing down Erdoğan the Islamist. We were already aware of the con­fu­sion main­tained by a cer­tain “it was bet­ter before Erdo­gan”, or the more sub­tle “since the 2016 coup d’Etat”, in which Kemal­ist nation­al­ism was praised as being sec­u­lar and pro­gres­sive, hid­ing its crimes under the car­pet of Turci­ty. We are now see­ing its ” sov­er­eignist” 2022 ver­sion adapt­ing to Euro­pean evolutions.

In France, notably, where the ques­tion of Islam has become a polit­i­cal obses­sion, not only for the iden­ti­tar­i­an fringe of the ultra right but also in frac­tions of the left and of the gov­ern­men­tal for­mer-left , this phe­nom­e­non is fla­grant and even has reper­cus­sions on nec­es­sary sol­i­dar­i­ty with Rojava.

Thus “com­bat sec­u­lar­i­ty”, the hob­by horse of “Repub­li­can­is­tic” edi­to­ri­al­ists of which Car­o­line Fourest is the most car­toon­ish, keep inter­fer­ing with indis­pens­able sol­i­dar­i­ty sup­port ini­tia­tives. The Kur­dish strug­gle is reduced to a fight against “islamo fas­cism” and the Roja­va project a “sec­u­lar State in the mak­ing”. Exit the uni­ty of peo­ple in the region around a pos­si­ble com­mon project, hur­ray for the “pesh­mer­gas” (an Ira­ki Kur­dish force, by the way).

In the con­text of the French elec­toral peri­od, the prag­ma­tism of the Kur­dish move­ment and of its dias­po­ra  finds some sup­port in the polit­i­cal oppor­tunism of some par­ties or of “media per­son­al­i­ties” rather than in the active and sin­cere sol­i­dar­i­ty of pro­gres­sist polit­i­cal strains. Con­fu­sion could still come out of it as the main winner.

Anoth­er fact ren­ders sup­port for Roja­va com­pli­cat­ed: a cer­tain suc­cess in all that con­tributes to its isolation.

Because let­ting peo­ple think that Roja­va, like a cer­tain Gal­lic vil­lage, would pos­sess the mag­i­cal potion allow­ing it to resist against all, would be crim­i­nal. Quite the oppo­site, this polit­i­cal project is threat­ened in its very exis­tence, nor is it an emp­ty shell sus­pend­ed over the heads of the pop­u­la­tions screen­ing the sky and see­ing noth­ing but bombs in it.

The geo-polit­i­cal con­text is already a con­cate­na­tion of major obsta­cles for an inte­ri­or demo­c­ra­t­ic rev­o­lu­tion to keep on devel­op­ing — com­bin­ing as it does a block­ade exer­cis­ing a squeeze on the regime, block­ade sup­port­ed by Rus­sia, attacks and maneu­vers by Turkey, land bar­ri­ers autho­rized by the Barzanists through the Ira­ki Kur­dish enti­ty, the “war on water”, accom­pa­nied by inter­na­tion­al disengagement.

How can we fail to under­stand that pop­u­la­tions — many of which have been dis­placed, have encoun­tered pro­found grief as a result of recent and ancient per­se­cu­tions, whose mul­ti­cul­tur­al char­ac­ter still needs to solid­i­fy, not  based on resiliences shaped by dif­fer­ences  but rather around mutu­al recog­ni­tion, how can they be expect­ed not to live in uncer­tain­ty over tomor­row and as regard­ing “pol­i­tics” as a sec­ondary issue?

Com­ing togeth­er to hon­or vic­tims of exac­tions, hon­or­ing anniver­saries of fights against ISIS, search­ing for a com­mon hope around self-defence can­not per­ma­nent­ly oblit­er­ate the pre­car­i­ous­ness in refugee camps, the uncer­tain­ties in sup­plies, the inse­cu­ri­ties of dai­ly attempts at rebuild­ing a life. Achiev­ing a com­mon action close to peo­ple with all avail­able brains, knowl­edge, and know-how must be an extreme­ly dif­fi­cult task.

What the AANES con­fronts every day is not the eclo­sion of new rev­o­lu­tion­ary com­munes but rather the result of the con­junc­tion of all the tox­ic actions from all its ene­mies wish­ing to reduce it to their mer­cies or to see it dis­ap­pear entirely.

Such a state­ment does not seem like a good begin­ning on which to build true sup­port, rather than the up in the clouds of self-ful­fill­ing utopias but on the basis of what can pos­si­bly be attained, wher­ev­er we may find our­selves, what­ev­er our respec­tive gov­ern­ment and poli­cies may be.

The first action must be requir­ing the loos­en­ing of the stran­gle­hold and guar­an­tee­ing by agree­ment the end of war-inspired fly­overs of the region, along with the re-estab­lish­ment of sup­plies, includ­ing water.

This would be achieved through an explic­it inter­na­tion­al recog­ni­tion of the AANES with whom all dis­cuss hyp­o­crit­i­cal­ly while pre­tend­ing to ignore its existence.

Obvi­ous­ly NATO will be opposed bar­ring fun­da­men­tal polit­i­cal con­ces­sions to which the AANES can­not agree.

These are but the main demands repeat­ed­ly called for by the author­i­ties of North­ern Syria.

Sup­port­ing them means accept­ing the real­i­ty and the urgency of the sit­u­a­tion. And there are many oth­er rea­sons. It is also refus­ing to cov­er one’s face and under­stand­ing that sur­vival of the polit­i­cal project, not to men­tion now the very pos­si­bil­i­ty of its ongo­ing mate­r­i­al exis­tence,  calls not only for a pro­pa­gan­da-based pop­u­lar­iza­tion of this project.

The Roja­va project was built in wartime in wartime con­di­tions. This is the basic reality.

It would be an illu­sion to for­get the oppor­tunism of Nations which, in order to defend their self inter­ests, the con­ti­nu­ity of impe­ri­al­ist inter­ests, were ready yes­ter­day to “coa­lesce” against a main ene­my and now, as has always been the case for over 1 000 years, refuse the eman­ci­pa­tion of Peo­ples who fought for this very rea­son. The de fac­to coali­tion of hos­tile forces is a bal­ance of pow­er that imper­ils the Roja­va polit­i­cal project wish­ing to pro­vide a future to its peoples.

Thus, wher­ev­er we may be, a pri­or­i­ty involves address­ing the nation States to which we belong, with­out wait­ing for mir­a­cles, and com­bat­ting the sov­er­eign­ties exer­cis­ing fascis­tic rav­ages on those resid­ing in them.

This is why, as a min­i­mum, we at Kedis­tan, have signed this appeal.

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Translation from French by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Daniel Fleury
Let­tres mod­ernes à l’Université de Tours. Gros mots poli­tiques… Coups d’oeil politiques…