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.