16 March 2016
by Hawzhin Azeez*
Yesterday a ceremony was held to officially present the Resistance (Berxwedan) Monument in the centre of Kobane. The monument was commissioned by the Suleimania governorate and took four months to complete. Designed by the south Kurdistan artist Zirak Mira, the monument represents a Kurdish woman, in traditional guerrilla clothes, with angelic wings stretching. Surrounding her are actual Daesh tanks destroyed in the fighting in Kobane by female fighters- the tanks rusting sooner than expected just as the dark and outmoded ideology that the previous owners of the tanks represent.
But the monument commemorates more than just this fight between good and evil; it commemorates more than just a moment in time and a heroic resistance by women whose names the world is yet to learn, by women whose bodied still rest under the rubble of this city. Rather it commemorates a seismic shift in the foundation of our society; it represents a fundamental shift in the role and the position of women, the smashing of the culture of silence, and a shift away from acceptance of victimhood, acceptance of traditionalism, conservatism and endurance of "what has always been will be" mentality.
The monument is a reminder of the cosmic explosion that was the emergence of an empowered ideology and a fierce resolve by Kurdish women to regain rights; rights lost to imperialism, rights dissolved within the toxic ideology of capitalism, and natural rights lost steadily over thousands of years to violent patriarchal practices hidden under the suffocating shadows and fabrics of culture, shame and honour.
Yesterday was another historic day in Kobane, because the monument represents the resolve of the people of Kobane and Kurdistan to ensure that the values of women's rights, freedom and the courage it has taken to get to this geopolitical position are not lost; that as long as living memory exists so will the stories of Kurdish women like Arin, Zozan and Dastina whose courage continues to serve as a beacon of hope for thousands of women and millions more yet to come.
And I know that so long as I live I will continue to worship at the alter of their courage and sacrifice, as all women freed by their strength should.
Dr. Hawzhin Azeez is a Kurdish/Australian academic, political activist and feminist. She is currently working on the Kobane Reconstruction Board helping to rebuild Kobane, Rojava.