28 December 2015

The New York Times: “A Dream of Secular Utopia in ISIS’ Backyard”

It occurred to me then that his generation, a whole lost segment of Syria’s youth, has been forced to become either refugees or warriors. And for those who choose the latter, their only options are different flavors of militancy: the Islamic State, Assad’s regime, the Kurdish revolution. Syrians have endured an endless cycle of extreme conditions over the past four years, and so, perhaps, it should be no surprise that only the most extreme ideologies, no matter how brutal or utopian, are thriving.

“Everyone has to choose a side now,” Derik said. “ISIS has chosen the side of slavery. We’ve chosen the side of freedom.”

“We’re fighting for our ideas,” Shaker said. “Ideas, like people, die if we don’t fight for them.”

Wes Enzinna

Surrounded by enemies, from Syrian rebels to ISIS fighters to the hostile Turkish army, a community of Kurds is trying to build a better way of living, based on tolerance and education and inspired by the philosophy of their former leader, Abdullah Ocalan. While the odds are against them, I hope their social experiment succeeds, if only to serve as an example to the rest of the warring Middle East factions. 

The territory of Rojava
The territory of Rojava, imagined as a homeland for Kurds, Arabs and Christians.

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