Kurdish women perform at an event (Photo: Rahila Gupta)

30/03/2016 - 23:00
Rojava: A Safe Haven in the Middle of Syria's Brutal War

31 March 2016

by Rahila Gupta

As world leaders grapple with how to end the Syrian war, most people in the west are struggling to look beyond the bombs, destruction and refugee crisis to understand the tangle of alignments that is Syria.

What is often hidden from view is that a strip of land in northern Syria, known as Rojava, contiguous with south-eastern Turkey, is home to a remarkable revolution. And I do not use the term "revolution" lightly.

Since the Arab Spring in 2011, Rojava's predominantly Kurdish population of around 3-4 million has effected a bottom-up transformation of society into a direct democracy, organized into three self-governing, Swiss-style cantons.

The change has been inspired by the ideas of Abdullah Ocalan -- a founder member of PKK, (Kurdistan Workers' Party), who has been languishing in a Turkish jail since 1999 for treason -- and driven by the participation of women at every level.

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