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“We will defend this life, we will resist on this land”

Reportage on the social-ecological life in Rojava, and the effects of winter 2023-2024 Turkish attacks on the region.

The revolutionary process in Rojava, based on the pillars of grassroots democracy, women’s liberation and social-ecology, is progressing. At the same time the Turkish state is threatening it with continuous war, killing of civilians and political representatives, planned ecocide and attacks on basic civil infrastructure.
The history of the Kurdistan, the ecological way of life of the people, the effects of the attacks, and the methods of resistance, are intrinsically related. In order to make them more understandable, we focused our report on the area of Koçerata. This region, its people and civil infrastructures in particular, were heavily targeted by Turkish airstrikes in winter 2023-2024.

The creation of a new life on the basis of old heritages

Koçerata, the “Land of the Nomads”, is a plain land where the Tigris’ river flows. For hundreds of years Kurdish nomads have moved in the region, until the construction of nation states borders. With the creation of the Syrian state (1945) monoculture practices and models of intense urbanization and industrialization were imposed. Rûken Şêxo, from the village Girê Sor told “The life of the people from the region is very simple and beautiful. We don’t need a lot from the outside.” “From our childhood onward we learned to create everything by ourselves, from the things we have. This is also what we are going to teach to our children.

Turkey’s war against Rojava: An attack on the development of social-ecology

From October 6th 2023 to January 18th 2024, the Turkish army carried on more than 650 airstrikes, killing civilians and bombing essential infrastructure as water stations, electricity plant, sites for cooking gas, and oil, but also schools, hospitals, factories, industrial sites, agricultural and food production facilities, storage centers, medical facilities and villages. “After that shelling almost 4 to 5 million people have been affected” with lack or shortages of electricity and water.

“We don’t leave our land, we organize ourselves” – Resistance of the people on their land

The perspective of the Autonomous Administration is based on the developments of agro-ecological practices, eco-industry, a system of cooperatives, circular approach to production and consumption. In this framework central elements are: initiative from the base, self-organization, and decentralization. Plans regarding the use of different source of energy (solar, biogas or wind energy), recovery of soil and groundwater characteristics, the production of organic fertilizers, are made. However, these could not develop on a large scale due to the systematic destruction of basic infrastructure. The attacks forced the administration and the economy of the region to devote themselves toward continuous works of reparation and rebuilding, in order to reply to emergency and immediate consequences of war. The embargo also represents another significant obstacle to the development of ecological projects. In spite of all these hardships people are showing a strong resistance and determination to stay on the lands.
In this framework, the reality of Koçerata must be known as a meaningful and inspiring example of resistance. This is not just an example of theory but it is, in first place, an example of practice of resistance and self-organization. Against the current unsustainable system Koçerata suggest sustainable ways of living, working and producing. The example of Koçerata wants to be a source of strength, hope and inspiration to think also about how we can resist and defend our territories, how we can build alliances with struggles in other geographies, communities and free life.

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