Where women carry rifles and govern alongside men
January 8, 2018 9:30 PM Subscribe
Syrian Kurds turn to Arab women to cement hold on power - " 'Who does the state beat down?' Reyhan Loqo asks her students. 'Man!' they shout back. 'And who does man beat down?' the 21-year-old instructor says. 'Woman!' the pupils reply."
Replete with whiteboard flow chart illustrations, her course introduces students to the leftist, feminist ideology promoted by the US-backed, Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). They are followers of Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ party (PKK). His moustachioed face smiles over the classroom.
For years, the PKK has tried with mixed success to spread Mr Ocalan’s ideology of stateless governance, which he calls “the democratic nation”, among Kurdish communities across the Middle East. But it is its sister organisation, the SDF, that has the first chance to try implementing the ideology beyond guerrilla mountain strongholds. Backed by US air support, the SDF has battled Isis and capitalised on the chaos of Syria’s six-year war to control a quarter of the country...
“We’ve spent four years with a lost identity,” says Emaar, 21, an Arab woman from Tabqa. “Now, we’re being introduced to the history of women. These things were totally unknown to us.”
Ms Loqo, a petite Kurdish woman with a booming voice, teaches Ocalan’s version of women’s history, which argues that matriarchal Middle Eastern societies were destroyed 5,000 years ago as men from Sumerian civilisation monopolised knowledge through the then-newly developed skill of writing.
Next, she says, the “age of monotheistic religions” was used “as a weapon in men’s hands”. Today’s era of “capitalist filth” fares no better. She points out how women’s bodies became exploited in advertising: “She is being bought and sold”.
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