Written By: - Date published: 3:36 pm, February 11th, 2015 - 63 comments
Categories: culture, democracy under attack, democratic participation, education, feminism, history, International, Left, political alternatives, political education, racism, Revolution, social democracy, Syria, vision, war - Tags: democracy, hypocrisy, middle east, revolution, Rojava, Social Democracy, syria
Imagine this – a society where women and men are afforded equal rights and decisions are the result of deeply participatory and grassroots democratic procedures. Believe it or not, that’s the case in Syria today within the autonomous cantons of Efrin, Kobane and Cizire where some 4 million people live
Until last week, when a link to a Wallace Chapman RNZ interview arrived in my inbox, I had heard nothing about any such thing happening in Syria. The interview really ought to be listened to.
Some internet searching has turned up, not what I’d call a ‘huge trawl’ of further information from major media outlets. There was, among precious little else, an opinion piece in the Guardian by David Graeber entitled ‘Why is the world ignoring the revolutionary Kurds in Syria?’ It should be read.
Given that our government, in concert with other western governments, bang on about democracy and women’s rights in the Middle East, some might then wonder why they don’t promote and embrace the Rojava Revolution (as the people of the region have named it), call for an end to sanctions affecting the autonomous Cantons and provide whatever aid and help is required.
The Constitution of the Rojava Cantons states in the pre-amble –
Under the Charter, we, the people of the Autonomous Regions, unite in the spirit of reconciliation, pluralism and democratic participation so that all may express themselves freely in public life. In building a society free from authoritarianism, militarism, centralism and the intervention of religious authority in public affairs, the Charter recognizes Syria’s territorial integrity and aspires to maintain domestic and international peace. (my emphasis)
Read the David Graeber article linked to above – hell! Read this one too – if you are wondering why our governments would rather such sentiments (and others besides) weren’t expressed in relation to democratic governance. Liberal governments, as history teaches us, despise democracy and would rather embrace fascism than defend or promote it.
Case in point? As of Dec 4th, any Australian going to Syria to aid the Rojavans in any way shape or form will face ten years in jail. The Al-Raqqi Province the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs has decreed as ‘off limits’ runs between the autonomous Cantons of Cizire and Kobane.
Meanwhile, any financial, medical or other assistance anyone may be tempted to send the way of the peoples of Rojava will instantly fall foul of the blanket western definition of the PKK as a terrorist organisation.
Any attempt to sign the facebook petition calling for the lifting of that definition will find a deleted facebook account.
Thank god then for people like Australia’s Northern Territories Labor Party President Matthew Gardiner. (His face book account has been stripped of all content btw)