Jineolojî Mediterranean Camp: „We followed the footsteps of Sara in Bilbao“

After the first camp in Utamara, we organized the second Jineolojî camp in Basque Country between 30th  of March- 4th of April with the name of “Jineolojî Mediterranean Camp”. Starting from the first step  into Bilbao, the meaning of it increased. Because the first person who established a contact between Kurds and the revolutionaries who defend these lands was Sakine Cansız. We reached at Basque Country with the severity of this feeling and we followed Sara’s footsteps. Basque country is a place where political prisoners are oppressed just like Kurdistan. We took our share from the stories Mertxe told, who is from the group running the house we will stay for our camp, La Karmela. Oppression left wounds on their bodies too, and they also went out of dungeons with their sharp, fresh minds like Heval Sara did.

We are hitting the ground running, hoping that an encounter with such a strong starting point would continue in same way. We have a look at the dining room, sleeping places. Everything is as tidy and  moderate as it should be. We took extra care of the rooms where the seminars would take place. We  quickly take care of the details like cleaning. In the best corners of the room, we hang the photos of Legerin Çiya (Alina Sanchez) and Helin Qerecox (Anna Campbell), who some of the participant comrades knew  well, too. Everybody is hiding their tears from each other. On another wall hangs the banner prepared by painter comrade Hugo, who was also in the long march, which is written in Kurdish and Basque and made in solidarity with women. It projects the aesthetics of Jineolojî and it looks even better because it is written in the languages of two oppressed people! Another wall is full of pictures of women who fought against fascism. Like as Erdogan and Franco are the same; Uta, Amara, Barin Kobane or Amparo Poch (revolutionary woman from Zaragoza who fought against Franco regime and founded Mujeres Libres), or Rosa Luxemburg are also same in our perspective.

In the evening hours, the participants start to come. And our camp starts: five days, several languages, countries, dozens of experiences. After the opening speech of La Karmela administrators, the message from Jineolojî Academy of Rojava is read in English. Most of the participation is coming from autonomous regions of Catalonia, Basque, Seville, Madrid and most importantly from Canary Islands which is known only as a tourism center. The perceptions created by modernity on Canary Islands is rapidly changing thanks to comrades Carlota and Erica. It is totally unfair to its amazing population, who still have the traces of matriarchal culture and the pains of the colonialism, when we call those lands touristic places! We are extra proud to see women from Napoli, Genova, Torino, Bari, Livorno and Roma cities of Italy are getting to know each other thanks to Jineolojî. The organized and collective stance they took for those five days is also worthy of commendation. Among the guests we have from Germany, Bolivian Maria who is coming from indigenous societies of South America makes us most happy. When Maria shares her  experiences and speaks Aymara language, I started to think I am listening to a woman from Kurdistan. Her simplicity, confidence, radical evaluations making call to the struggle and to the essence of the issues make us feel the impressive power of the knowledge coming from her experience.

In the first day of the camp, we start building the network of knowledge through the presentations made on natural societies, Confederal System of women and Jineolojî. The second day’s seminars take attention even before they start. The topics are ‘toxic masculinity’ and ‘killing the masculinity’, so it is natural to expect interest. Friends Agatha (Portugal) and Karolina (Colombia) make their presentations based on the book of Afro-American feminist Bell Hooks. After a very active workshop, “killing the man” topic shows up. After the presentations explaining masculinity as a construct of mythology, philosophy, religion and science; the moment of suggesting solutions comes. The conclusions created in our movement through the concept of “killing the man”, which is first used by Reber Apo, are told. At the end of the presentation we listen comrades like Ş. Şervan and Ş. Kadir Usta who internalized the freedom ideology of women. They tell the alienation of five thousand years. The evaluations of those friends whose self-critics have qualifications of changing the course of history are even approved by Maria who criticizes everyone radically! The topic of ‘free co-life’ that we cannot think separately from the transformation of the men is presented by Sara and  Viyan. Without presenting the magic formulas as expected by everyone, they talk  about the characteristics of this theory which touches to our lives. The most beautiful part of it, the topic is told by a Spanish based on her self experiences in Middle East.

In this great uproar, do not think we only run theoretical discussions while everyone’s hearts were beating in Efrîn. Everybody has the consciousness that “we should not stop, this meaningful encounter should turn into action when Efrîn is under occupation”. Because the participants are all talented from each other,  there are no difficulties. Sara (Italy) friend starts to work and prepares a choreography. Everyone is ready for the action after half an hour of preparation in the yard of La Karmela. A beautiful performance is shown which points out the occupation is against the woman-focused-system and only can be overcome through the women’s resistance. The action catches the interest of the people around. And there is no one left who cannot dance Kurdish halay and shout “Jin Jiyan Azadi”. The halay made by 77 women from different people and cultures is staying in our memories as an unforgettable moment.
It is nice to collect that much meanings, but can we preserve it? We are worried about it too. We try to deal with our worries via the presentation of self-defense. Italian friend points out the connection of the self-defense with being organized. Practical self-defense workshops are given by Italian and Czech friends who have a lot of experience. Consciousness, organization and practice.
When all those parts come together we become more confident. And it becomes easier to talk about the identities of healthy women. Italian women friends organize two workshops in Spanish and in Italian on natural medicine where they talk about how female body was criminalized. Later they share their secrets with us. When they tell the language of herbs and their healing, I am laughing at those who are trying to note down everything.

In the fourth day of the camp, every group who came share their struggle experiences. Everyone speaking teaches us something. We see how patriarchal system tears down the woman identity, how scared it is from women’s struggle, how the social memory of women is still full of values on the axis of mother… We see when we are aware of each other, our power cannot be underestimated, our faith on we are on the right path increases. After all those theoretical discussions, everyone deserves a morale event. The most beautiful part of the moral is everyone shows an example from the geography they come from. You should have seen how the songs far-famed created a common soul and dances excited everyone! Because Kurds were minority (this time we were not offended we were minority) we have to confess that we transferred Spanish and Italian comrades to our chorus. What remained to us from morale was learning the traditional dance of Catalans. Oldest but most dynamic participant of our camp, Barbara Pade, conquered all the hearts not only with her presentation but with her Spanish song too. We oblige to the power of complementary and merging of culture, one more time.

It is certain that participants took a strong theoretical perspective and a good moral. We wait to build the knowledge network of Jineolojî. We try to construct the working plan of the next period, we look on the construction of Jinwar and the institutionalization of the Jineolojî Center.

Solidarity, knowledge, work, whatever you call this, this network Jineolojî is growing. There are more and more women trying to free the society starting from themselves based on the future perspective Jineolojî presents. Getting more makes us proud but also scared. We learn how far we achieve but how much more we still have to achieve.

Zilan Diyar, April 2018



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