Home > Notable Peace News > South Bend, IN rallies against Turkish attack on Rojava | Dan Fischer

South Bend, IN rallies against Turkish attack on Rojava | Dan Fischer

About The Author

Dan Fischer is a graduate worker in Indiana who has organized with Rising Tide and the Middle East Crisis Committee. Dan has written for Earth First! Journal, Fifth Estate, Palestine Chronicle, and other publications. He can be reached at dfischer@riseup.net.

South Bend, IN — On Oct. 13, about 30 people rallied in opposition to Turkey’s Trump-approved invasion of the largely Kurdish region of Rojava in northeastern Syria. Supporting the demonstration, Food Not Bombs served 70 free vegetarian and vegan meals to people who stopped by to observe, learn, and discuss. Many others driving and walking by, and at least a hundred waiting in line outside the adjacent theater, also engaged—mostly supportively—with the demonstrators’ banners, chants, speeches, and pamphlets. A local news channel covered the demonstration.

Attendees held flags representing the local chapters of the Industrial Workers of the World, Democratic Socialists of America, and Food Not Bombs. Others were unaffiliated but came to show their support for Rojava’s experiments in council-based direct democracy, feminism, ecology, and anti-fascism.

They joined global days of action called by Rojava residents and supporters worldwide as Trump green-lit a Turkish invasion last week and as Turkey subsequently invaded Rojava. Dozens of Rojava’s civilians have already died in airstrikes, and an estimated 130,000 people have fled their homes. Hundreds of ISIS supporters have escaped from detention centers amidst the conflict. Some experts warn that Turkey plans genocide and crimes against humanity in the region.

In addition to protesting Turkey’s attacks on Rojava, demonstrators also brought attention to the situation of Syria’s Idlib province under brutal siege and bombardment from the Syrian government and its Russian backers who have been deliberately targeting hospitals and health centers. “The northern Syrian populations of both Rojava and Idlib are being abandoned, bombed, shelled, and displaced,” said one of the protesters. “Boycott Turkey! Boycott Russia!” went a chant that urged passersby to avoid doing business with two governments slaughtering and displacing civilians in Syria.

Leading up to the demonstration, local anti-fascists hung a banner that said, “Solidarity with Rojava!”

Below are the demonstration’s principles as outlined in the event page on social media:

*We SUPPORT Rojava’s experiments in local democracy, women’s empowerment, and ecology.
*We SUPPORT Rojava’s self-defense against Turkey and ISIS.
*We SUPPORT boycotts and other actions against Turkish airlines, banks, and other corporations linked to the Turkish government.
*We SUPPORT cooperation between the Syrian solidarity and Kurdish solidarity movements.

*We OPPOSE Trump’s back-stabbing betrayal of Rojava’s anti-fascist militias.
*We OPPOSE Erdogan’s current invasion and potential genocide in Rojava.
*We OPPOSE Syria’s dictator Bashar Al-Assad and his Russian and Iranian imperialist backers in Syria and are ready to mobilize if their forces try to invade and recapture Rojava.
*We OPPOSE world leaders’ cynical efforts to stir up Arab-Kurdish ethnic conflict in Syria.

One comment

  1. Havrin Khalaf: A Light Has Gone Out But The Tasks of Reconciliation Remain Havrin Khalaf: A Light Has Gone Out But The Tasks of Reconciliation Remain
    by Rene Wadlow
    2019-10-21 09:46:36
    harvin01On 12 October 2019, Havrin Khalaf, the Co-Secretary-General of the Future Syria Party was shot to death at a road block by the Turkish-backed militia, Ahrar al-Shargiya. The Future of Syria Party had been formed in March 2018 in Raqqa with its aim of a “democratic, pluralistic, and decentralized Syria.” The Party was active in the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria – an area often referred to by the Kurds as Rojava. The area is highly diverse in both population groups and religions. Thus the Future Syria Party wanted to build bridges of understanding among Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen, and other ethnic groups as well as among Muslims, Christians and Yezidis. The hope was that this bridge-building effort would become a model for all of Syria.

    Even before the fighting began in Syria in 2011, the Syrian society was divided along ethnic and religious lines. The fighting, the displacement of people, the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) has increased ethnic and religious divisions. In many cases, trust among groups has been broken, and even minimal cooperation through economic links has been broken. Rebuilding cooperation, a chief aim of the Future Syria Party, will be difficult. The move of Turkish forces and their Syrian allies into northeast Syria will make cooperation across ethnic and religious divides even more difficult.

    Havrin Khalaf was a symbol of this reconciliation effort. She was also a symbol of the quest for equality between women and men. As a Kurdish woman she had an Arab man as co-Secretary-General of the Party. As an educated woman – she had a degree from the University of Aleppo in 2009 – she was particularly active for the empowerment of women. She often served as spokesperson for visiting diplomats, journalists, and aid workers. As a highly visible person, her killing was deliberate. The driver of the Party car she was in was also killed at the same time.

    There is a real danger that such killings increase as Turkish troops advance and control an ever-larger part of what the Turks have ironically called “the safe zone.” Earlier Turkish occupation of the Efrin area has led to the displacement of people, looting, hostage-taking and torture. We can also fear that areas in northeast Syria newly under the control of the Syrian Government will not be free from revenge killings and politically-motivated violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

    With the death of Havrin Khalaf at the age of 34, a light has gone out. The tasks of reconciliation remain. New voices are needed. We outside of Syria must see how best we can facilitate this vital role of bridgebuilding.


    Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens

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