Imagine being forced into exile on a mountain top with no food, water, or supplies. This was the reality for an Iraqi religious group called the Yazidis. After being attacked by ISIS, they thought they were quite possibly facing a genocidal situation. Until one day, out of nowhere, a Kurdish militia group from northern Syria came to their rescue. Hundreds of female freedom fighters helped the Yazidis to safety.
After this heroic endeavor many people wondered, who these women are. As it turns out, they are affiliated with Syria's Kurdish Worker's Party, the PKK, and they live mainly in a Syrian enclave known as Rojava. They work towards socialism, democracy, and women's liberation, even amid the devastating war all around them.
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The PKK was founded in 1970 as a Marxist-centered group, and began a guerrilla war with Turkey in order to make Socialism a priority within the country. Because of these attacks on Turkey, the PKK has been named as a terrorist organization, and the association remains even today. However, the group has come a long way since then, focusing now on creating a self-governed society, socialist economics, and most radically, a high-level role for women in leadership. Their success is evident in the fact that 40% of women hold a leadership position at every level.
Essentially, the PKK is heading a feminist revolution in one of the most dangerous places on earth, and they've actually been successful. The only issue is that they are still considered a terrorist organization, and therefore are not able to receive any kind of aid or funding. It's disheartening, especially considering they are actually making huge strides towards equality and social change, and helping to turn Syria away from the persecution and terrorism of war.
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Read more about the PKK:
The Independent: War against Isis: PKK commander tasked with the defence of Syrian Kurds claims 'we will save Kobani'
The Economist: How to Deal With Syria's Kurds