The women’s cooperative village of Jinwar was opened on November 25, 2017, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, in the liberated Democratic Autonomous Administration of northern and eastern Syria (Rojava).
It was established by a Kurdish women's umbrella organisation, now known as Kongreya Star, as a refuge for women fleeing war and patriarchy.
Jinwar was built by women on ecologically sustainable principles and has been such a success, that the international women's magazine Elle hailed it as a “feminist experiment in democratic communal living that’s happening in one of the most socially conservative regions in the world.
“In Jinwar, there is no central power figure; instead, there is a democratically-elected town council, and every month a different council member acts as the town’s leader. Men are allowed to visit only during specific hours, and they’re not allowed to stay overnight. Women of different religions and ethnicities live together in mud brick homes they built themselves, eat food they grow themselves, and teach each other English. There is a bakery and a store, where the women can sell handicrafts they make to people from other villages.”
However, since Turkey launched its invasion of Rojava on October 9, the sounds of war have become dangerously close and Jinwar is under serious threat.
“Until now, dozens of women and children have been staying in Jinwar, and sharing their bread, food and water here with each other,” explained a November 5 statement by the Council of Jinwar. “The inhabitants of Jinwar are deeply connected with each other and their village. The life in the village has become an example for their friends and neighbours.”
“But as the whole region is under the threat of an occupation war, the life of women, children and the existence of Jinwar are also at risk.
“The sounds of Turkish warplanes, tanks and bombs are very close. The women and children of Jinwar who had already suffered different painful life experiences found in Jinwar for the first time a peaceful and secure place. But now they have to face once again the fear of war and death.
“These conditions made it necessary that some children and women with health problems or special needs had to move to other places. They are waiting for the end of the war to return to their friends in their village.”
The women who have remained in Jinwar continue working their gardens and carrying on their usual activities, under difficult conditions.
At the same time, the women have been supporting victims of the war, visiting the ill and wounded, attending funerals of civilians and liberation fighters martyred in the resistance to the invasion and joining protests against the war.
Feeling a strong sense of social responsibility, the women have also visited surrounding villages to assist with the healthcare of women and children.
In this difficult time, the Jinwar village has issued a special appeal for international support.
“Most important is to rise up and organise against this devastating occupation of the Turkish State and support Democratic Autonomous Administration in northern and eastern Syria in all levels.
“Previously our village flourished and developed day by day. We can be really proud to see that with common effort, organisation and daily work, so much has been built and achieved already.
“Before the war started, we were about to open a new healing centre in Jinwar and many reconstruction and maintenance work was done.
“We need material support and have created an account in Europe for this purpose, where you can donate.”
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