MÊRDÎN – In a world where thousands of women are victims of male violence every year, there is no choice but struggle, according to YPS-Jin (Women’s Civil Defense Units) member Dünya Sterk. She called YPS-Jin’s struggle an “internationalist struggle against the masculine system.”
The town of Nusaybin, in Mardin province in Northern Kurdistan (in Turkey), has a long history of resistance. Today, as the Turkish state positions armored vehicles on every corner, it is the children and women of the town who are leading the construction of the barricades.
Dünya Sterk, member of the Women’s Civil Defense Units formed to defend Nusaybin, discussed the struggle for a new life behind the barricades.
In the peace process that began in Turkey in 2013, said Dünya, the Turkish state “thought they could just waste our time,” even as the Kurdish people held up their end of the peace process.
“But still, it’s not the Kurdish people that are losing here; it’s the state,” she said. If the Turkish state had not succeeded in entering the defended neighborhoods in towns like Nusaybin even after two months of declaring brutal 24-hour curfews, “this means that the state has already lost.” Dünya said that the state was now waging a full-scale war, targeting even small children.
“Nobody should be expecting us to be displaying discretion,” said Dünya. “Against those who are killing our children and our mothers, of course our struggle has to be an armed struggle.” She said that the youth of the YPS had no choice but to take up arms, but that their struggle was a political and cultural one in addition to a military struggle.
Dünya commented on the importance of women’s autonomous structures for the Kurds, a phenomenon that began in the region with the women’s structures in the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party).
“Under actually existing socialism, we had ‘first the people’s struggle, then the women’s struggle,’ but it doesn’t work like that,” said Dünya. “From this experience, we learned that an approach that postpones [the issue of] women doesn’t solve the problem. The people’s struggle and the women’s struggle need to happen at the same time.” She noted that in the revolution in the Rojava part of Kurdistan, the revolution became a women’s revolution through the declaration of the armed women’s defense force, YPJ.
“So in this sense, here in Bakur [Northern Kurdistan], we couldn’t stay limited to just the YPS,” said Dünya. “We had to declare the women’s autonomous formation, YPS-Jin—as women waging a 5,000-year women’s struggle against the patriarchal system that starts these wars. Otherwise, the revolution will be inadequate. Like our leader [Abdullah Öcalan] says, if you don’t solve the problem from the root, it’s not solved at all.”
Dünya said that in a world where thousands of women are killed by male violence every year, armed women’s organizations like PAJK, YPJ, YBŞ-Jin and YPS-Jin were the only option.
“As Kurdish women, we’ve declared 2016 to be [the year of] the charge for women’s freedom. Let women all over the world take a side,” said Dünya. “YPS-Jin has a call for all women: we’re not just struggling for one race. With our women-led struggle against all the attacks of the patriarchal system, we’re saying ‘we are here.’
“Our struggle is internationalist; all women of the world need to take their place in the struggle,” said Dünya.