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robertogreco : kurdistan   4

Kurdistan: A Family Album • Susan Meiselas • Magnum Photos
"Susan Meiselas’ work on the Kurdish people’s historic, and ongoing, struggle for statehood"



"Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas’ retrospective show ‘Mediations’ is one of four bodies of work shortlisted for the 2019 Deutsche Borse Photography Foundation Prize. ‘Mediations’ drew on Meiselas’ work spanning four decades, and included projects like Prince Street Girls and Carnival Strippers, as well as her reportage on Nicaragua’s insurrection and revolution spanning 10 years, and her longterm work on the Kurds, which became the book Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History.


Described by New York Times reviewer Karl E. Meyer as a ‘family album of a forsaken people’, the project saw Meiselas create a visual archive of the Kurdish peoples’ struggle for nationhood through her own interviews and photographs as well as collected historical, ethnographic, and personal images. Christopher Hitchens, in the Los Angeles Review of Books wrote that, “Susan Meiselas has, with infinite labor and tenderness, composed a collage, framed a composition, designed a frame, confected a design and by means of a deft balance between text and camera, brought off a thing of beauty as well as instruction…”


Meiselas’ Kurdistan project is on show at The Photographer’s Gallery in central London, until June 2, as part of the Deutsche Borse exhibition. Here, we reproduce Meiselas’ introduction to Kurdistan: In the Shadow of History, alongside a selection of the book’s images."
susanmeiselas  2019  photography  kurds  kurdistan  turkey  iraq  iran  syria  ussr  history  1990s 
may 2019 by robertogreco
Smart on Isis from Tim Dickinson on Twitter
"1/Obama has done his homework when he says ISIS wants us to start a ground war, and will use our occupation of a foreign land to recruit

2/ ISIS propaganda is rife with references to scriptural prophecy regarding the last great battle of our time which will begin when

3/ The "Romans" (us) invade Dabiq, a town that still exists today in Syria. In scripture that battle sets the stage for the end of times

4/ leading to a showdown between "Muslims" (they think this refers only to them) and their enemies, in which the enemies are vanquished

5/ Remember it was in Dabiq that ISIS killed US hostage Peter Kassig, a former U.S. Army Ranger, as a way to underscore this point

6/ While it's hard to get our heads around this, I have spoken to enough ISIS fanboys & members by now to believe that they mean this

7/ ISIS *wants* U.S. boots on the ground, and wants us to engage them militarily. It would do wonders for their recruitment pitch

8. Question is: Can fight against this group be won from the air & via proxy forces on the ground, ones which are divided ethnically?

9/ Here is what I saw in Hasaka, Syria in July where I was embedded with YPG militia fighting ISIS & what I saw in Sinjar, Iraq last month

10/ where I was embedded with the PKK and with the Peshmarga, two more local forces fighting ISIS: In both places ISIS folded quickly

11/ In Hasaka, I saw frontline jump several miles in a few days; In Sinjar, I saw airstrikes & local forces take city in 48 hours

12/ But here's the rub: The proxy forces *only* succeeded because of heavy U.S. air support & air support will need to continue indefinitely

13/ If we let up the freed areas will be reinfiltrated. Already there are reports that Hasaka, which was declared liberated when I was there

14/ has been re-infiltrated by ISIS cells. Second big problem: The proxy forces fighting ISIS are nearly all Kurdish (YPG, Peshmarga, PKK)

15/ And they will only fight for historically Kurdish areas. Last month, I went to a sandbagged position overlooking the city of Mosul, Iraq

16/ Mosul was so close, were I wearing running shoes I could have jogged there and back. But the Peshmarga commander holding the position

17/ explained to me that when invasion of Mosul occurs (believed to be many months away) he would only fight to roughly halfway in to city

18/ Why? Because that is the ethnic faultline, and as a Kurdish commander he did not think it would be appropriate to go further in.

19/ The cities that need to be taken back (Mosul, Raqqa etc) are mostly Sunni, not Kurdish, and the U.S. has yet to find a Sunni proxy force"
rukminicallimachi  isis  2015  syria  kurds  iraq  war  barackobama  mosul  dabiq  pkk  peshmarga  ypg  kurdistan  rojava 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Why the Kurdish struggle is so important | Green Left Weekly
"This pamphlet aims to provide a short introduction to the Kurdish question for non-Kurdish readers in Australia. The focus is on Turkey and Rojava (the Kurdish majority liberated zone in northern Syria) where the struggle is being led by the revolutionary democratic wing of the Kurdish movement. That is, the People's Democratic Party (HDP), the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

This is a mass struggle, involving hundreds of thousands, even millions of people.

Inescapably, there is little in the pamphlet about Iraq and Iran. It also does not deal in any detail with Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdoğan's current war against the Kurds as he schemes to get a majority for his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the November 1 parliamentary elections.

The articles, by myself and Tony Iltis, aim to provide essential information and perspective. Apart from that, we felt it was important to let key figures speak for themselves so readers could get a feel for the struggle.

So we have the eloquent and powerful 2013 Newroz (Kurdish New Year) message from jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş's luminous vision of a new Turkey.

Then there are the inspiring interviews with HDP co-leader Figen Yüksekdağ and two Women's Protection Units (YPJ) commanders, which show very clearly the tremendous role women are playing in the fight on both sides of the border.

The final item touches on Australia's minor but shameful role in the conflict — its criminalisation of the PKK as a banned terrorist group.

Importance of Rojava

All around the world, in a myriad of struggles, people are fighting against oppression and exploitation. As socialists we support them all, so what makes the Kurdish freedom struggle today so special?

The answer is the Kurdish freedom struggle in Turkey and Rojava has a clear goal — the creation of an inclusive, secular, radically democratic, feminist, ecological society. It has a revolutionary leadership worthy of the heroism and sacrifice of the people and a strategy to achieve its aims.

So much of what we hear about the Middle East involves sectarian and inter-communal violence. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) embodies this with its murderous intolerance and extremely backward ideology.

The Middle East is a tremendously rich mosaic of different ethnic and religious communities. Fundamentalists of all stripes want to destroy this beautiful diversity through ruthless violence.

This is clear in Syria and Iraq, where the ISIS fanatics control a large territory. It is also the case in Turkey, where the Erdoğan regime — following in the footsteps Turkish government's since the founding of the republic in 1923 — seeks to imprison the whole country in the straitjacket of a mythical Sunni Muslim “Turkish nation”.

Kurds, Alevis, Armenians, Assyrians, Yazedis and a host of other ethnicities and faiths all endure discrimination and oppression.

Celebrating diversity

The progressive Kurdish movement has explicitly rejected such reactionary nationalism. In his Newroz message, Öcalan puts forward a revolutionary perspective in these very moving words: “We shall unite against those who want to divide and make us fight one another. We shall join together against those who want to separate us …

“The peoples of the region are witnessing a new dawn. The peoples of the Middle East are weary of enmity, conflict and war. They want to be reborn from their own roots and to stand shoulder to shoulder …

“The truths in the messages of Moses, Jesus and Mohammed are being implemented in our lives today with new tidings. People are trying to regain what they have lost.”

The great success of the HDP in the June 7 elections was based on this approach. It sought to be the party of the oppressed and exploited across the whole country.

And in Rojava, diversity is built into the very foundations of the revolution. Kurds are the largest ethnic group, but conscious efforts are made to engage and incorporate Arabs, Assyrians, Turkmen and so on into the self-governing structures of the cantons.

In Cizire canton, for example, where the population comprises Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Syriacs and Armenians, the official languages are Kurdish, Arabic and Aramaic. All communities have the right to teach and be taught in their native language.

This is a matter of life and death for the Rojava revolution. The forces of darkness are constantly trying to turn communities against each other. If the revolution cannot adequately counter this, it will fail.

The ISIS killers have gained worldwide notoriety for their barbaric treatment of prisoners — and their public celebration of it. Captives have been beheaded, burned alive and shot in mass executions.

The People's Protection Units (YPG) and YPJ in Rojava have repudiated such inhuman behaviour. Prisoners are treated correctly. Individual lapses are always possible, but the Rojava authorities have an exemplary record on the humane treatment of prisoners.

The YPG/J have also signed the Geneva Conventions on not using soldiers under the age of 18 and have discharged many combatants found to be underage.

However, one has to put things in perspective here: when a 15- or 16-year-old has seen family members killed or when ISIS attacks a village threatening to kill everyone, it is entirely natural that many youth will pick up a gun and join the resistance, irrespective of their age.

Women in the forefront

All great revolutions have drawn women into the struggle. But I think it is true to say that the role women are playing in the Kurdish freedom struggle in Turkey and Rojava is unprecedented in history.

In Rojava women have their own armed force, the YPJ, making up at least a third of the combatants. They are also in the YPG. Women are combatants at all levels, including in the command. They have furnished hundreds of martyrs to the struggle.

Women in Rojava are fighting for a new society in which real gender equality prevails. The Rojava Charter (constitution) says: “Women have the inviolable right to participate in political, social, economic and cultural life … [the charter] mandates public institutions to work towards the elimination of gender discrimination.”

In Afrin canton in 2013, for instance, women made up 65% of the administration. The Prime Minister is a woman, Hevi Ibrahim.

We do not need to idealise anything. Rojava society is patriarchal but under the pressure of war, revolution and a revolutionary leadership, things are changing. Young women cannot be stopped by their fathers or brothers from joining the YPJ or the Asayish, the public order force.

While not everyone is on side and some people are disenchanted, the revolution has inspired and involved whole layers of the population.

I especially like the photo by Yann Renoult on the back cover of our pamphlet. This shows a revolutionary Kurdish family in Rojava looking out with what seems to be hope, determination and courage. There is Ocalan's image on the wall; all the couple's sons and daughters had joined the defence forces as teenagers.

One son had fallen in battle at the age of 18. Their parents were behind them, especially their mother, said the photographer.

Yes, the situation is terrible, but people know what they are fighting for and that gives the revolution a tremendous strength.

I hope this pamphlet can help spread awareness of the Kurdish freedom struggle, build support for it and play a role in the development of a more effective solidarity movement here in Australia."
kurds  2015  women  gender  democracy  rojava  ethnicity  diversity  nationalism  progressivism  secularism  feminism  ecology  environment  sustainability  freedom  newroz  division  inclusivity  fundamentalism  daveholms  tonyiltis  inclusion  abdullahöcalan  ypg  kurdistan 
october 2015 by robertogreco

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