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Our contribution to the ecological revolution: Make Rojava Green Again

We, the Internationalist Commune of Rojava, want to contribute to the ecological revolution in Northern Syria. To this end, we have started the campaign “Make Rojava Green Again”, in cooperation with the Ecology Committee of the Cizire Canton.

The first practical project of the campaign has been the construction of the Internationalist Commune campsite and it’s academy with ecological ethos. Today, all the buildings are finished, hundreds of trees have been planted and our academy – the Academy Şehîd Hêlîn Qereçox, named in honor of our internationalist fallen comrade Anna Campbell – already saw many different educations pursuing its role of introducing internationalists to Rojava as well as creating a place of reflection and discussion on the topic of ecology. The ecological work still continues on the site through maintaining the different young orchards installed the last years, planting new trees, taking care of the vegetable garden, …, as well as our project of reforesting the nearby river down the campsite. Through the practical work and the ideological discussions, its ultimate goal is to strengthen awareness and environmental consciousness, pushing to build up a free and ecological society.

Since the beginning, we also participated together with the Committee for Natural Conservation in the reforestation of the Hayaka natural reserve, near the city of Derik, in Cizire Canton. Hundreds of trees have already been planted, creating a safe haven for the wild life of the region, endangered by the disappearance of their natural habitats.

Besides those, we also take part as for example in:

  1. Joining the work of the Autonomous Administration of North-Eastern Syria in ecological projects for reforestation and for the installation of ecological gardens in Derik and nearby villages.
  2. Participating in projects for the development of renewable energy, as the installation of solar panels in villages.
  3. Helping for material support for existing and future ecological projects of the Democratic Self-administration, including sharing of knowledge between activists, scientists and experts with committees and structures in Rojava, developing a long-term perspective for an ecological Northern Syria Federation.

A pillar of the revolution: Ecology

People who are alienated from nature are alienated from themselves, and are self-destructive. No system has shown this relationship more clearly than capitalist modernity; environmental destruction and ecological crises go hand in hand with oppression and exploitation of people. The feckless mentality of maximum profit has brought our planet close to the edge of the abyss, and left humanity in a whirlwind of war, hunger, and social crisis. Because of this, developing an ecological society is a pillar of the Rojava Revolution, alongside women’s liberation and a total democratization of all parts of life. This is about more than just protecting nature by limiting damage to it; it is about recreating the balance between people and nature. It is about a “renewed, conscious and enlighted unification towards a natural, organic society” (Abdullah Öcalan).

Monoculture: Colonialism against nature

The results of the capitalist mentality and state violence against society and the environment are clearly visible in Rojava; the Baath regime was and remains uninterested in an ecological society throughout all of Syria. The regime always focused on maximum resource exploitation and high agricultural  production rate at the expense of environmental protection, especially in colonized West Kurdistan. Systematic deforestation made monoculture possible: wheat in Cizire Canton, olives in Afrin, and a mixture of both in Kobani have altered the landscape of Rojava. For several decades it was forbidden to plant trees and vegetables, and the population was encouraged by repressive politics and deliberate underdeveloppment of the region to migrate as cheap labour to nearby cities like Aleppo, Raqqa and Homs. 

Challenging the embargo: Ecological works

The attempts of the Turkish and Syrian regimes to strangle the revolution in Rojava by military, political and economic attacks, the war against ISIS, and the embargo, supported by the South Kurdish KDP, are creating difficult circumstances for ecological projects in Rojava. Although there are many current projects, including reforestation, creation of natural reserves and environmentally-friendly waste disposal facilities, the infrastructure of the Democratic Self-Administration is still in a difficult material situation, making these goals harder to achieve. The projects of most regional committees are either just beginning or in the planning stage. The ecological revolution, within the larger revolution, is still in its infancy. It lacks environmental consciousness among the population, expert knowledge, necessary technology, and a connection to solidarity from abroad.

Organized by

Desteya Aborî

Make Rojava Green Again cooperates with the Economic Committee of Rojava.

Internationalist Commune

The Internationalist Commune is our organizational structure within the self-administration in Rojava.

Desteya Saredarî û Ekolojî

Make Rojava Green Again is organized in partnership with the Ecological Committee of Rojava.