Saturday, 25 August 2012

Vacuum of uprising gives Syria Kurds rare freedom

Source: Business Recorder (Pakistan)

"The Syrian revolution complements our fight for our legitimate rights, but even if the uprising stops - and I don't believe it will - our revolution will continue," he says. Since the regime pulled back, the area's 365 towns and villages have all formed their own local councils, with a regional committee of 400 members available to consider matters that affect the area as a whole.

"Forty percent of the committee is women," Sheiku says proudly. "Women in our society have full freedom. They can do whatever men can do, they can wear what they want, do what they want, be what they want." Despite his pride in the autonomous system set up in the region, and his unabashed admiration for Ocalan, Sheiku is careful to make clear that Syria's Kurds are not seeking independence or a state.

"We are first and foremost Syrians," he says. "We want a self-administered system for Syrian Kurds, and democracy for the whole of Syria." "We look at the Iraqi Kurdish model as outdated. All states are a form of oppression," he adds. At 60, Sheiku has spent decades waiting for Kurdish autonomy, but he says he always believed it would come one day. "It didn't come as a surprise. It took blood, fighting, organisation and many years. But now that we have it, we will protect it very carefully."

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