The Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane was liberated by its defense forces on January 26, 2015, after having been under attack from ISIS for 134 days.
During its four and a half months of resistance against the jihadist juggernaut of the so-called Islamic State, the small town of Kobane on the Syrian-Turkish border gained international fame as a bulwark of freedom, equality and democracy. The seemingly hopeless fight of the poorly equipped defenders of the city made up primarily of the local Peoples’ and Women’s Defense Forces (YPG and YPJ) became a contemporary saga of the universal struggle of good versus evil.
What made the battle for Kobane unique was not only the refusal of its people to hand over their home town to the jihadists and their determination to continue the resistance against all odds. What truly triggered the collective imagination of observers of this heroic battle were the revolutionary ideas the town’s defenders were fighting for. As protectors of the birthplace of the Rojava revolution, what motivated the resistance fighters to continue their struggle were the revolution’s core values based upon the ideals of gender equality, direct democracy and ecological sustainability.
The successful liberation of Kobane one year ago not only proved to the world that the Islamic State could be beaten, it also confirmed that a different world is possible, free of hierarchy and oppression, capitalist exploitation and imperialist aspirations. The battle for Kobane and the Rojava revolution have triggered hopes that the same region that was home to the birth of civilization thousands of years ago, could now once again provide the fertile soil for the creation of a new society.
Check out a selection of ROAR’s coverage of the Kurdish struggle to find out more about the Rojava revolution, the project of democratic confederalism and the fight against ISIS.
By Rafael Taylor
A socially progressive and secular pan-Kurdish revolution with libertarian socialist elements, uniting the Iraqi and Syrian Kurds and re-invigorating the Turkish and Iranian struggles, may yet be a prospect. In the meantime, those of us who value the idea of civilization owe our gratitude to the Kurds, who are fighting the jihadists of Islamist fascism day and night on the frontlines in Syria and Iraq, defending radical democratic values with their lives.
By Sardar Saadi
Rojava can be an alternative as it exhibits a potential form of autonomous self-government that fundamentally challenges the oppressive rituals within religious communities and proposes a working pattern of co-existence with all the cultures and beliefs in the area, without violating the rights of any. Rojava’s experience in autonomy can be a model for a democratic confederalism in the Middle East, where every community has the right of self-determination and self-government.
By Janet Biehl
This do-it-yourself revolution by an educated populace is embargoed by their neighbors and gets along by the skin of its teeth. It is nonetheless an endeavor that pushes the human prospect forward. In the wake of the twentieth century, many people have come to the worst conclusions about human nature, but in the twenty-first, Rojavans are setting a new standard for what human beings are capable of. In a world fast losing hope, they shine as a beacon.
By Joris Leverink
Over the past decade, democratic confederalism has slowly but surely become an integral part of Kurdish society. Three elements of Bookchin’s thought have particularly influenced the development of a “democratic modernity” across Kurdistan: the concept of “dual power,” the confederal structure as proposed by Bookchin under the header of libertarian municipalism, and the theory of social ecology which traces the roots of many contemporary struggles back to the origins of civilization and places the natural environment at the heart of the solution to these problems.
By Yvo Fitzherbert
In the 1990s, the Kurds were so afraid of the Turkish state that they dared not speak their own language on the streets. Partly due to the HDP’s successful rise as a central force in mainstream Turkish politics, such fears have now been replaced with a sense of pride of what the Kurdish movement has achieved in 25 years. And if Erdogan continues to insist on sacrificing the peace process to entrench his own power, young and angry Kurds like those of the YDG-H will be ready to fight back.
Source URL — https://roarmag.org/2016/01/26/on-this-day-in-2015-kobane-liberated/