*Bu röportaj Rojava’da yer alan enternasyonal kadınlar tarafından Kasım ayında yapılmıştır. Jinwar’a yapılan çeşitli ziyaretlerde Rojava ve dünyadaki kadın özgürlük mücadelesi üzerine gelişen sohbetlerin ardından planlanmış bir röportajdır.
1) In Rojava there was a great battle against Isis. All over the
territory resistance was lived. Women fighters were at the forefront of
this resistance. For us, as for many other, the women’s revolution is
inspiring and is one of the reasons that brought a lot of people here to
fight side by side with all the women, at the front in the fight against
fascism, and also within the structures of society in the fight against
patriarchy. Jinwar is one of these tools for self-defense and to fight
patriarchy. When and how did the idea to create a women’s village came
about? What is jinwar and what is the idea / perspective on which it is
based? How do you locate jinwar in the context of rojava?
The idea to build a womens village has been a dream within the kurdish women’s movement for a long time. The aim was to create a place where women can live together freely in a communal, ecological and democratic way. The womens revolution in Rojava finally formed the ground for this idea to be realized. Different women initiatives and associations in Rojava formed a committee, among them Kongra Star, the Jineoloji
Committee, the Free Womens Foundation, the Association of Martyr Families, the Committee of Natural Medicine and other interested women. The committee met for plannings and discussions for several months. Finally, on the day against violence on women November 25 2016 the first statement has been held on the place Jinwar is now been built on. Jinwar can be seen as a new step and part of the search for new forms of
meaningful and communal life in the context of the Rojava revolution. Jinwar means to develop communal ways of living and alternatives in all areas of life such as democratic selforganization, women’s economy, education, ecological agriculture and so on. As a commune the village will participate in the structures of the self administration of North
2) There are women from different parts of rojava and different
backgrounds, but also from other parts of the world in Jinwar. How is
jinwar organized? On what basis does the jinwar community work? How do
women find their way to jinwar? And can you tell us something about the
women living in jinwar at the moment?
The women here have been struggeling a lot for liberation in all areas of
life and society, building autonomous structures and pushing for deep
changes in mentality. Still many women are stuck in oppressive relationships, face patriarchal violence or find themselves bounded in patriarchal gender roles and family structures. Furthermore there are many women who lost their husbands and other parts of their families in war or who do not have a proper place to stay. Jinwar thus is
an answer to explicit necessities of women in society. It is a place of liberation from hardship and oppressive relationships. At the same time Jinwar is based on the strong will of women to live a free and selforganized life, connected to women’s experiences, knowledge and resistance in all times of history. Jinwar is a place where social alternatives can be lived, where communal forms of living apart from patriarchal and feudal family structures can be created once again.
The women living in Jinwar are coming from different cities and villages such as Kobane, Heseke, Shedade, Deir e Zor, Til Temir, as well as nearby villages. Jinwar is open to women from everywhere. All women who came found their ways to Jinwar differently. Some of the women lost their houses due to the attacks of daesh or lost their husbands in war.
They have been in contact with Kongra Star or the Association of Martyr Families who could inform them about the possibility to move to Jinwar. There are as well young women who do not want to marry and are looking for other forms of living together. Some women heard about the village from friends, others even got to know it by seeing it in television.
Some women were curious, came for a visit, liked the village, the atmosphere and life here and at some point decided to move in. Some women came here because the village has a big utopian meaning, it is a space of learning and a radical step in the creation of alternative forms of living, rejecting capitalist and statist systems. Many women support Jinwar, come to help with the work and spend time in the village, even if they are married themselves or can not move in for other reasons.
All life and work in Jinwar are organized communally. The women and children meet for regular assemblies, where reflections and critics can be shared and work is being planned. There are children and youth assemblies where the younger inhabitants of Jinwar are discussing their issues and interests. Furthermore each woman in Jinwar takes
responsibility in a field of work – be it taking care about the animals, baking bread in the bakery, clarifying the concept of the academy, running the village store and so on. Everybody is taking care about the garden and sharing other works in the village. Lunch is being cooked and eaten communaly as well and in the evenings mostly everybody is meeting in one of the houses to spend time together. There is a village council
that has been formed a few weeks ago and every month one of the inhabitants is elected as village speaker, dealing with everyday and needs in the village.
3) The ruling power relations operate over women in the most intense
form. Women are often the most affected by the physical and
psychological environment in any war. The system wants to protect and
reinforce its own dynamics over the bodies of women, and especially in a
fascist context, such as during the war in rojava, the pressure on women
is higher. In this context how did the war reflect on women’s lives
here? Do you see these reflections in the women’s village?
Most women living in Jinwar experienced war in their own lives. Some were living in regions that have been occupied by daesh, their houses have been burned or family members have been killed. Many had to struggle as well against oppressive structures in their own families, who refused to allow them to leave the house, to work and to take
responsibility in the self organization of society. Many structures and mentalities of oppression are deeply rooted as they are being reinforced in daily life again and again. It needs time to overcome them, to act freely according to the own knowledge and intuition, freeing all the strenght and creativity that have been undermined in long years of women
oppression. Jinwar is of course a big step to liberate from these attacks and effects of war. Organizing communal life with all responsibilities together, learning, sharing experiences, understanding yourself as part of a vivid society is the most important base to create
4) Womens showed everyone how to fight fascism in rojava and how to
win. Today, it is about the practice and methods to use to achieve
freedom. You call Jinwar, the free women’s village. In what sense are
the women in the village free? Do you see jinwar having having a role or
contribution in the fight against patriarchal structures and the
emancipation of women? How is this put in practice in the womens
village? How can it be improved further?
Living in Jinwar means to share a common base despite the different backgrounds and stories that brought women here. Coming to Jinwar means a new step for everyone living here. It means to be free to organize life together, make decisions in the village assembly, take responsibility for each other. It means to share knowledge and experiences, to educate each other. It means to get to know yourself and each other, to gain selfconfidence and belief. In a process of practice and reflection new forms of living can be strenghtened and inspire the whole society. This is of course not something easy, a lot of methods and ways of living together are growing with time and experience.
5) It must also be difficult to set up a women’s village in a context
of war, in times of change and movement and confronted with many
conservative elements of society. Can you tell us what kind of problems,
obstacles, difficulties you were and/or are confronted with?
During the building process of Jinwar there have of course been struggles and difficulties as well. Apart from the challenge to organize all the material and work for the building process, there have always been struggles with mentalities. In general the building of the village has been welcomed by the people,but still there have especially beenmen who approached to it more sceptical. They could not imagine that women would make their own living. Getting into conversation with all kinds of people about the ideas of Jinwar was an important part of the building process. It can be honestly said that most people who came for a visit or to help with the works were amazed of the village despite doubts they might have had before. They saw that the village is becoming a beautiful place, that the working atmosphere is special, that it is a collective and respectful way of living together. Many men see the social value of the village, thus appreciating the village and offering their support. The fact that all the works are coordinated by a committee of women teaches them to take women serious and most of the men are approaching with honest appreciation and respect. But of course there are as well many patriarchal behaviours, mentalities and struggels
related to these. However it is the strong presence of women in the village, that makes the difference, so that these mentalities are not becoming the dominant way of thinking and acting.
6) The fight against patriarchy is also a fight against many of the
established structures of society, which try to control and oppress
women. Knowledge, teaching, learning, sharing knowledge is important for
the emancipation of women from these structures. There is an academy
inside the village, what kind of knowledge will be shared in this academy?
In the academy women can share knowledge and attent education on many theoretical and practical fields. As science of women Jineoloji makes an important part of the formation, dealing with social issues from a womens perspective. Important topics of Jineoloji are womens history, ethics and aesthetics, politics and many other fields of life and society
looked at from a womens perspective. Apart from that there will be practical education on medicine, writing and reading, sustainable gardening and agriculture, computer courses and many other fields related to the needs of the village and the wishes of the women. The
proposal has as well been made to prepare seminars for men in the Jinwar Academy, talking about gender liberation as part of the liberation of society and the role of men in this process.
7) There are other women’s villages around the world (ex. Umoja village
in Kenya). Are there any connections to these projects and if yes, how?
Jinwar builds on the experiences of women in all times of history and different places in the world. From the beginning on there has been exchange with women from other parts of the world who were visiting the village, exchanging experiences and perspectives or send messages of solidarity. Various groups are supporting Jinwar by material donations.
There is a contact with the womens village Nashira in Kolumbia and the idea to visit each other as soon as this will be possible. The exchange with women all over the world, with womens projects, communes,cooperatives is an important part of Jinwar.
8) What are the plans for the future?
Within the next weeks and months more and more women will move to Jinwar. We see that the village is getting more and more beautiful every day, with every woman, every child, every person that comes for a visit. After the official opening of the village on 25^th of November 2018 many of the communal works have been deepened. The children go to school, the bakery is open now, the collectively run village store and many other
works. Now more and more women will move in, the vegetables in the garden will grow and be harvested, the village council will improve its work, different kinds of education are starting to take place in the academy, a lot of things will move. Many experiences will be made and probably more women will want to move in if they see that it really
works. On the area of the village there is not enough space to build more than 30 houses, but women from different regions of Rojava/Northern Syria think about building another womens village in their region. We hope that Jinwar will inspire women all over the world not to adopt to patriarchal structures, war and oppression, but to get together, to
build spaces of selforganization and collectivity and to exchange experiences, build connections, for that all these spaces are uniting on a common base. In Jinwar a lot of womens knowledge will be collected. All experiences from Jinwar can be shared, can have once again an influence on other parts of society and by this be part of social change