Seminar on feminist struggle in northern Syria

September 15, 2017
Hawzhin Azeez (right) will be a guest speaker via video link at the seminar.

"Northern Syria’s Feminist Revolution" is the title of a one-day seminar to be held at Victoria University on November 4.

It is being jointly organised by the Kurdish Democratic Community Centre of Victoria, the Kurdish Women’s League of Victoria and the Australians for Kurdistan solidarity group. It is also sponsored by Victoria University’s Community, Identity and Displacement Research Network.

Kurdish women gained international prominence during the siege of the north Syrian town of Kobane in 2014–15. Their heroic frontline role in the resistance to the brutal, women-hating Islamic State gangs produced both widespread admiration and curiosity, which has continued to this day.

But as attention-grabbing as the military struggle is, it is not the most important thing happening there. In the liberated zones of northern Syria, women are playing a leading role in building a new kind of society — one marked by a radical grassroots democracy, ethnic and religious inclusivity and an unprecedented effort to empower women.

Arguably this is the most feminist revolution in history. For all those interested in women’s rights and progressive social change, this experience is worthy of both serious study and our practical solidarity and support.

International speakers include:

  • Dutch journalist Frederike Geerdink, who was based in Turkey from 2006, will be speaking at the seminar. In 2015, while reporting on the renewed war between the Turkish army and the Kurdish resistance forces, Geerdink was detained by Turkish police and subsequently expelled; and.
  • Hawzhin Azeez will address the seminar via video link from Kobane. She came to Australia as a Kurdish refugee from Iraq at the age of 11, lived in Western Sydney and went on to lecture in politics at Newcastle University. Today Azeez is based in Kobane and works for the city’s Reconstruction Board.

[A draft agenda is available here. Tickets can be purchased online here.]

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