The Women Rise Up For Afrin campaign was founded on February 8th, 2018. At that time, Turkey and its jihadist proxies had been attacking Afrin Canton, a peaceful region of Northern Syria, for over a month. The invasion posed a threat not only to pluralism and democracy in Northern Syria, but to women’s freedom everywhere.
“Women Rise Up For Afrin” was a call to the women of the world issued in response to the invasion, asking for solidarity with the women of Northern Syria who struggled against occupation and terror. Before the Turkish invasion, Afrin’s women played key roles in all areas of life. They defended Northern Syria as members of the YPJ— Arin Mirkan, hero of the battle of Kobani, was from Afrin. They had equal roles in politics— by law, as in all of Northern Syria, every elected body had to include at least 40% women. They participated equally in the economy as Afrin fought to be self-sufficient in the face of hostile neighbors.
Afrin’s women built a pluralistic and democratic society for all. When they fought to defend their land, they fought to defend a women’s revolution that had transformed millions of lives– but their struggle was ignored by the so-called “international community.” Rather than rely on the false and exploitative support of governments, they asked for genuine solidarity and support from women everywhere.
Today, as the Turkish occupation forces kidnap, rape and torture women, force religious minorities to convert to Islam, burn agricultural land that locals had cultivated and developed for centuries, and crush non-Turkish and non-Islamic culture. The women of Afrin continue to resist fascism and defend their people in refugee camps established in Shahba— Berxwedan, which houses 2,865 people, Serdem, which houses 2,931, and Afrin, which houses 428. There, they have organized schools and hospitals in order to ensure that children continue to receive an education and that medical patients can be treated.
Women Rise Up For Afrin