Originally published in Newaya Jin 146 (http://www.newayajin.com/newayajin/o-koy-bizim-koyumuz-jinwar/)
Women who have been the pioneers of the Rojava Revolution are carrying on the construction of a life in which they are the subjects. Alongside the military achievements, important steps have been taken in social and societal life, economic and diplomatic levels, in culture and arts. Now women are building a life space of their own with a strong spirit of solidarity. Close to Dirbêsiyê in the Cizîrê Canton, the news about the building of a women’s village named JİNWAR is causing excitement for everyone receiving the word. The portrayal of Nahide Zengin, a member of the Free Women Village Construction Committee makes us say “This is a women’s village, this life is women’s life”. Nahide Zengin comments on the developments for our newspaper Newaya Jin.
Why a women’s village?
Woman identity has important characteristics; first of all, she is the Goddess of 10,000 of years. As much as she is resistant and combative, she is also a sage, a philosopher, an artist and a maker. She is the founder of the sociality and the power of life. She is peaceful, egalitarian, libertarian. Just like the Woman being the pioneer of the agriculture-village revolution she is today the pioneer of a revolution with her own will in the lands that we live in. The last 5000 years, the male domination cementing its power especially against the Woman did not just make her a slave but also deprived her of her own will. That is why Woman, carrying the weight of war, tyranny and the societal problems aim to build a life space of her own.
When it is understood on the basis of Abdullah Öcalan’s assessment “The more women act freely the more she will be able to advance beautiful, just, fair choices. That is why the realization of the concepts of beauty, justice and equality in life passes strictly from the liberation of women”; the Woman nature can only fall into place in an atmosphere of societal liberty. And the societal liberty progresses with the liberation of women. The women’s village is one of these stages.
What kind of a life will women organize in this village? For example, how will they resolve the vital needs, economic needs and security issues?
Actually, the way that a society organizes its life is related with the way it organizes its economy. As the reason behind all kinds of exploitation-slavery is the economic invasion, the liberation of the economic field is the liberation of the society and nature. And this is only possible on the basis of a Democratic Communal Economy. The essential is the libertarian, communal economic activity that is needed for a conscious life and conscious practice of sharing, solidarity, equity. None of the means of production, economic product or activity should be the outcome of an individual or a limited group’s labor and effort. This is an illegitimate situation and an approach against ethics, society and nature.
The production communes that will be established in the Free Women’s Village JINWAR will act on social need. There is already an economical approach based on agricultural production respecting the nature. At the same time cattle, sheep and goat farming will be done. But there will also be handcrafts and products of individual skills. The principle here is production based on the societal needs. Obviously, the surplus and other handcrafts will be valorized in the communal market place that will be set up. But this value will satisfy the societal needs and will reach a dimension approved by the society.
In parallel, we will have an academy in our village. We will have a school for our kids, a center in which we can carry out alternative medicine practices, market places to make use of our product and living spaces to satisfy the needs of the village.
For your other question, there is an understanding that women definitely need security, which is not true. Indeed, everyone needs to be safe and has the right to exercise self-defense. But when it comes to women it becomes quite clear that there is a need for self-defense both against the economic genocide and for life. Women, with their conscious of self-defense can form their own defense units.
Can we define the Women’s Village also as a physical disengagement from the male world? If so, how will this physical separation help in the strengthening of women?
We should approach this question on the basis of a mental disengagement, that is a free life together with women against the male dominance instead of a physical disengagement from the male world. Abdullah Öcalan says, “The priority of socialism is to come up absolutely to the level of a free life with women”. This requires a mental war. The immoral notions of property and sexual objectification in sexism are social notions that also insult and corrupt the men. JINWAR is not a group of women who are isolated against the slavery imposed on them. That is, it is a space in which Woman will build up a free life with her own will and bring to maturity once more the societal equality.
How will the relationships and the sharing will be in this village? How can you define the life style of the women who will meet and live in this village? A socialist, a feminist or an ecological village? Or all of those?
The idea of the Democratic Nation comes into existence on a socialist basis. Rather than a feminist village, we are talking about a notion that contain a feminist understanding and even go beyond it. Of course there is not othering, it is rather a contribution than the sense of disregard. Because it is necessary to build a life style being conscious of all the resistance and the research methods including the Woman’s reality, developing around and based on Woman. It is known that feminism is lacking behind in the social change and transformation and the inclusiveness urgently needed. We think that approaching social problems in its integrity is important in reaching the basic truths of liberation.
Additionally, we could say that it is a communal, egalitarian village respecting the nature and maintaining the tradition, bringing together the past experiences with the new and aiming for the liberation. The assessment of Abdullah Öcalan, “A liberated woman is a liberated society, a liberated society is the democratic nation” is enough to explain the vital aim of this village.
Are you aiming to expand women’s villages of the same vision? How are the women responding? What do they think when we talk about “A women’s village”?
Actually this work does not aim to multiply women’s villages or to solve their problems by building up a space. It is the building up of a life model. It is to put into practice a dream. And this practice is a self-criticism of 5000 years. It created such an enthusiasm that not only the women taking part directly in this practice in Rojava but all the women in other places where we could reach also share this with us and ask us how could they show support. The success of JINWAR to be able to bring together so many women lies in its mission. That is the liberated women.
There are many examples of women’s villages in the world. There are ecological villages in Europe or the Americas, women’s villages found against the social oppression experiences in Africa and villages that are based on the cooperative production of women’s labor. We think highly of the resistance shown by the women living in these spaces in all its aspects.
JINWAR does not confine itself to including all the works done in these villages but is advancing them. Because it is resisting against the thousand years old mentality of slavery. It is not only uniting one sector of the society but all of it. It defines the women’ liberation the same as the social liberation.