Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

    Kurdish women fight back

    International Women’s Day was March 8th (originally International Working Women’s Day). The U.N designates an official theme for the holiday each year, 2015’s is: “Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture It!”
    There is group of women who are providing a very clear image of such empowerment, but are still largely unknown — the YPJ or “Womens Protection Units” of Kurdistan. 
    Emerging from the larger movement for Kurdish independence, the YPJ was formed in 2012, and has proved to be a decisive force in the recent battles against ISIS. The YPJ inflicted heavy casualties on ISIS forces during the siege of Kobani late last year. 
    Located in Rojava (a region formerly in Northern Syria near the Turkish border, but now declared independent) the YPJ made up one-third of the combat soldiers that defeated ISIS after the so called “Islamic State” tried to invade the isolated border city of Kobani, in spite of predictions that the city would fall quickly. More than just an army of women, the YPJ is an army for women. 
    Beyond their front-line heroics, the YPJ has also played a role in Rojava’s social revolution in attempting to create a secular and plural society based on a system of “Democratic Confederalism”, which is a stateless form of democracy. 
    Showing notable influence in Rojava’s decision to ban both polygamy and female genital mutilation, as well as creating a special unit that deals specifically with domestic violence and rape in the region. There is no better example in the world today of womankind triumphant than the recent victories of the YPJ. 
    The future for both the YPJ, Rojava, and the Kurds, however, is uncertain. While gaining some international support, and pushing back ISIS, neighboring Turkey and Iran remain openly hostile to the Kurdish cause — as they have for years. 
    As one YPJ fighter put it however “they are more afraid of what we are fighting for than what we are fighting against”. That the example the YPJ is setting is more worrisome to government’s in the region than the specter of ISIS is very telling. It is because of this, that in 2015 when we imagine empowered women, and an empowered humanity, we should be picturing the YPJ.


    Maxwell Sharp is a Tower staff writer. Email him at maxwellcsharp(at)gmail.com

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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