The news came into our lives today like a dagger through the heart. Two precious friends, some of those women who are the heart and backbone of the revolution in North and East Syria, have been targeted and assassinated. Hind Latif Al Khadir (Head of the Economy committee of Til Shayir) and Sa’da Faysal Al Hermas (Co-president of Til Shayir People’s Council), had previously received death threats from ISIS. This never stopped them in their work, the work of strengthening women and their society, of weaving the fabric of an alternative future. Women in politics and community organising in North East Syria are a walking revolution: fighting for their society by transforming it, leading the way by example.
Their murders were brutal, calculated, and, tragically, not unique. This is the next in a line of targeted killings of the women who are the vanguard of the women’s revolution. ISIS and groups like them are fundamentally weak. Like a parasite that can’t even survive without the host it attacks, they are waging a war on life itself. For all their brutality, they would be nothing without the support of powerful states. The fascist Turkish state is constantly funding and supporting these groups and often gives the order for assassinations such as these. In turn, the British state and others like it support Turkey in its aims and proxy wars. We hold the international players who claim to be fighting for freedom and democracy accountable for attacks like these. There is blood on your hands.
The pain that we feel at this brutality is real. And it is important. The pain is itself a sign that we are not separate, we are connected in life, love and struggle. We will not let borders divide us. In these times when it is easy to feel isolated and disconnected, we know at moments like this that isolation is temporary. Our stories are and will stay intertwined.
To Hind, Sa’da, Hevrin Xelef, Dayike Aqide and all the others we have lost, we will remember and honour your lives. What you did with them was something no amount of violence can wipe out. Step by step, glass of tea by glass of tea, loving embrace by loving embrace, you fought back against patriarchy and oppression. There are no words to express our rage and sorrow at loosing you. So we will take action instead: we will fight all the harder in your memory and with your spirits.
The Kurdish Women’s movement is already struggling against the murder of women with its campaign against the Turkish state’s brutality. Please sign up to the campaign and spread the call through your networks 100-reasons.org.
Şehîd namîrin (Martyrs are immortal)
Signatories as of 26 January 2021
Kurdistan Solidarity Network Jin
Women Defend Rojava UK Committee
Kurdish Women’s Initiative UK
Kurdish People’s Assembly UK
Southall Black Sisters
Women’s Strike assembly