we send you greetings from Jinwar and a lot of women’s strength and solidarity for the 8th of march!
Roja Jinên Cihane 8te Adarê pîroz be!
As everybody here in these days we are with our hearts and minds in Afrin. The defense of Afrin means as well a defense of the values we are aiming to realize in Jinwar – the defense of a free life in a free society, on the base of women’s liberation and communal self-determination. The free and peaceful coexistence of people from different ethnicities and beliefs on common ground, the integrity of the people and the integrity of the land. The heavy attacks on Afrin sometimes even make it difficult to concentrate on our everyday work in Jinwar, but we know that what we are building here together is part of this bigger vision. Jinwar is part of the deep and vivid social resistance against fascism and the oppression of women, which reveal their cruelty and violence in the attacks on Afrin.
During the winter months Jinwar has been a little more calm, as some works had to be paused due to winter conditions. We could deepen the relations with our neighbors and especially the women in the villages around. Many families invited us, we visited each other, sharing everyday life’s questions, work and experiences. Now spring is coming again, things are moving and we have lots of work. The greatest news are that our group of women working every day in the village got bigger. Some women from the villages and the city are now coming every day and we are living and working together. We are working on the central place of the village, we painted the pillars in front of the houses and we spend a lot of time in the garden. We were working on the orchard, preparing the surrounding of the trees for that they will grow in a healthy way. We prepared the flowerbeds for the seeds of paprika and aubergine and we placed the seeds of cucumber and pumpkin into little seedlingbags, for that we can plant their sprouts in a few weeks. We built a small greenhouse for the sprouts and we are harvesting the spring onions we planted in November. The barley we planted earlier is now coming out of the ground, making the surrounding of the village green again. Lately we planted trees in the middle of the village and next to the garden.
Today, while we were walking outside, one woman said: “How can you say a garden is beautiful if you have not touched the soil, if your hands have not prepared the ground for the seeds, if you did not give water to the sprouts, how can you see the reality of this garden?” It is the effort and the honest love we give into something – a garden, our friends, the society, a social vision – that let us understand, let us see the value, let them grow and become more and more beautiful.
The work on the houses is continuing as well. Almost all the houses have wooden doors and frames of windows now, the surroundings of the houses are stabilized and we built a depot for grain and other things aside the garden. The rain in the last weeks was like a first test for the houses. They are all stable but we could recognize a few little spots where the roof was lacking and water came in, thus we will fix these spots as soon as the weather will be warmer again.
The most important building projects for the upcoming days and weeks are the central place of the village and the communal bakery. The village center forms a big circle, with a lot of space to sit together, with the communal kitchen and place for the village assemblies. In the middle of this circle we have built a water place in the form of a star. The star we chose as it is the symbol of Ishtar, the Mesopotamian mother goddess of love, protection, wisdom and fertility. With the attack on the Ain Dara temple in Afrin launched by a Turkish warplane in January and the damage of this significant piece of cultural heritage that had supposedly been dedicated to Ishtar in Hittite times, the star becomes an even more important symbol for the history of womens resistance against occupation and womens capacity to build a communal and free life.
It gives us a lot of strength to see how Jinwar is growing and that goes for the practical work, the garden, the houses, as well as for our common understanding. Even if we are still preparing the houses in order to make them ready for moving in and even if we are still few, Jinwar is already a living place.
Some days ago we were sitting together in order to deepen our talks about the basic organization of life in Jinwar, together with the women that newly joined the work. How do we want to live? What kind of relations do we want to build in the village? How can we defend womens freedom and the freedom of society in a practical sense? What about the education of the children? We were talking about our experiences and our wishes, we were reading the social contract of Kongreya Star on womens rights and social relations and the basic principles and formation of the Mala Jin (the womens houses) together and we are aiming to formulate a sort of basic social contract for Jinwar as well, to take it as a common ground for the life here.
We prepared a little video about the first steps of building from spring 2017 until winter. If you have not watched it yet you can find it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzy9GrTQDBM
Spread the word about Jinwar, support the village, send us your questions, ideas and reflections!
We wish you all the best,
the Commitee of JINWAR – Free Womens Village Rojava