Orsola Casagrande


On a day this week, the 26th (or 27th) of September 1940, the radical German Jewish intellectual, Marxist, and writer Walter Benjamin died by suicide after almost a decade fleeing the Nazis and on threat of being handed over to the Gestapo by Spanish border guards the following day...He was just 48 years old

Ola de protesta en Turquía denuncia los crímenes de género

El intento de violación y posterior asesinato de una joven estudiante de apenas 20 años ha despertado en Turquía una ola de indignación y protesta, encabezada por las propias mujeres, denunciando los crímenes de género, sin embargo en la sociedad turca el patriarcado sigue siendo un valor arraigado mientras la situación socio laboral de las mujeres se deteriora.

Who is the greenest ? Or, who wants peace

It would be somehow funny, if indeed the issues were not so serious, to sit and listen to PM Erdo?an delivering one of his "inspired" speeches over current issues. Take for example his latest remarks on what he called "the solution process" (i.e. the process for a solution to the Kurdish issue) and the protests by Middle Eastern Technical University in Ankara.

On the "solution process", Erdo?an pronounced the following quite threatening words: "The side to break the process will pay the price" and added: "We will never be the side to break it". Now, a smile would shape the lips of everyone even not so familiar with the current state of affairs on the Kurdish question. Because indeed it is clear that while the Kurds (be it the PKK with its ongoing ceasefire, or the BDP with its ongoing proposals and attempts to break the deadlock) keep moving and trying to revive the process times and times agains, the government has chosen - to use en euphemism - a "waiting attitude".

The question is, waiting for what ? As Godot will not turned up, clearly the government is trying - by stretching things to the limit - to push the Kurdish side into some kind of action which Erdo?an could finger at as "leaving the table". The problem is that at present there is no "table". And consequently no table to abandon.

Be your own media !

The "minds" behind The Rojava Report website are a group of students from different backgrounds. ANF interviewed them on why they felt more information on Rojava and more in general on the Kurdish issue is needed and how they tried to answer to this need by creating their own site.

How did the idea of a blog on Rojava come about ?

All of us who were involved in setting up the Rojava Report understood that there was a huge lack of information regarding what was happening in the region. When the media in the US spoke about the Kurds in Syria - and this itself was rare - it was always along the lines of ethnic or sectarian violence, or to give another example of the  "intractability" of the conflict. It was always in terms of an “Arab-Kurdish” conflict, as a corollary or side-show to the “Alawite/Christian-Sunni” conflict that has been the dominant narrative in the mainstream media. In general we felt that those advancing the revolution in Rojava needed a platform from which their voices could be heard, and on which they could stake out their own vision for the future of their country and the Middle East more generally, without the reductionist narratives there are so common among out the major news outlets here. It was meant to be a more unfiltered, more direct source of news about what was happening in Rojava. 

How is the Kurdish issue in general perceived in the States ?

Of course that depends on who you talk to. However even among people who consider themselves informed about events in the Middle East, and are sympathetic to a degree to Kurdish demands for national rights, there is a huge dearth of understanding about the complexities of Kurdish politics in the region and Kurdish aspirations for a new Middle East. In regards to Rojava in particular there is still an assumption that Kurds are - or at least the PYD is (if they can make the distinction) - “close to the regime” or at the very least unwilling to do much about it. This unfortunately was the dominant narrative until the beginning of the revolution last summer - I mean if you read anything in the Washington Post or the New York Times through the Spring of 2012 that is what you find (and forget the television channels because they never had time for the Kurds). Just google “Kurds on the sidelines” and see how many articles come up! Then the narrative began to shift slightly after the revolution and it became something along the lines of “Kurds are dividing the opposition.” I mean can you imagine? It was as if they could not make anyone happy, or at least not in a way that respected the principles of their movement. But that is just the point because that is all lost, and even now the YPG is treated as simply one more sectarian militia, while the entire content of their revolution and their politically ideology is buried under a simplistic discourse of “Kurdish nationalism” and “sectarian strife.”

International Magazine Issue#7