By Hamma Mirwaisi and Alison Buckley
(image by ChrisJung Photography)
Gender equality or true equality between women and men in the Islamic world, based on jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan's philosophy, is a revolutionary concept that will lead to the liberation of women in the Islamic world and the world at large.
With the world's population predicted to increase exponentially by billions in the future, global communities need to access new ideas to cope with the existing and potential disasters facing humanity.
Over the last 12,000 years one region in Kurdistan has produced four thinkers, each 4,000 years apart, starting with the Prophet Mehabad and his sun-worship religion called Mithraism (1), followed by the prophet Zoroaster and the Zoroastrian religion, Abraham and Judaism and now Abdullah Ocalan's unique blend of western secular humanism and the wisdom of his eastern predecessors.
In a recent article, Dicle News Agency reporter Ararat Aras interviewed Margaret Owen, the renowned British human-rights lawyer and activist, after her return from an 8-day solidarity trip to Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava). Owen shared her experiences and insights with the reporter, while also affirming the system of democratic, autonomous governance now under development in Rojava, which she cited as a possible model for the entire region. She also called for the PKK to be removed from state terrorist watch-lists and for serious engagement on the part of Western governments with Kurdish groups in the region. Owen is one of the organizers of the 'Peace for Kurdistan' campaign and her activist work has been particularly informed by struggles around women's issues.
"I was very affected by the struggle of Kurdish women," she stated.
Owen went on to say that seeing the implementation of the philosophy of Abdullah Ocalan take root in Rojava, and in particular on the subject of gender equality, also affected her greatly. She expressed herself thus: "Ocalan's ideology has found a way into all areas of local life. Men and women are represented equally."(2)
The peoples of the world have been experimenting with ideas of social, political and ideologically based organization since before the era of recorded history. From hunting and gathering to tribal settlement they have built civilization after civilization on systems such as theocracy, monarchy, oligarchy, capitalist democracy, socialism, communism, and globalism. Most of these have failed to administer human rights and equal, just access to power, participation, opportunity, dignity, safety, and resources in the functioning and benefits of the society.
Now in Syria, described even before the Arab Spring as one of the five worst states for human-rights violations in the world (3), the Kurdish enclave in the north of the country is catering for the needs of a population of over 200,000 people, including Arabs and Christians and other minority groups, (4) without little of the aid that is coming through Damascus. A nation under stress from war, persecution, economic deprivation and political exploitation, the Kurdish people have survived on their own resources and those of sympathizers scattered around the world. Their self-reliance, determination, and leadership has driven al-Qaeda backed forces out of Rojava and executed their well-planned self-government strategies. Not since the time of their forbear Cyrus the Great, whose General Harpagos ruled the tribes of the now Turkish province of Lycia with the first political confederation, has such an equitable and functional system of indigenous self-rule operated in the Middle East.
Meanwhile the author of these policies, Abdullah Ocalan, who last March secured a peace between the PKK and Turkey, has languished alone in a Turkish jail off the coast of Istanbul since 1998. It now behooves world leaders to put pressure on the US, which aided his capture, to expedite his release in the interests of peace, security, and democratic nation-building for the betterment of the millions of people living in strife, uncertainty, and hopelessness in the region.
Humanity has nothing to lose and everything to gain by supporting the realization of Ocalan's ideas in Kurdistan. If Rojava and the other Kurdish territories become havens for humanity, then the peoples of the world might be inspired to follow Kurdistan's example as a solution to the myriad of problems confronting the human race.
Kurdistan was once the source of ideas for the entire world population. After thousands of years of struggle to regain Rojava, the Kurdish people, their leaders and their ideas deserve universal support.
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