Article by Solidarity Economy Association (SEA), Oxford, England May 2020
In the region of North-East Syria, also known by its Kurdish name Rojava, a democratic self-administration system has been built up since 2012 – a system based on grass roots democracy, ecology and women‘s freedom, in which all the different ethnic and religious communities can live together on their own terms, through autonomy, self-determination, and equality.
The system is based on neighbourhood assemblies and councils, with principles of ecology and gender liberation at its heart, and values of ethnic and religious pluralism throughout. Women are at the front and centre of this movement.
But now, Rojava faces some big threats: War, embargo, water shortage
When the revolution in Rojava began, the groundwater level was very low due mainly to industrial monoculture agriculture organised by the Syrian regime over the last four decades, as well as a decline in rainfall as a result of the global climate crisis.
In 2015, Turkey started to use water as a weapon against Rojava by holding back the water on the rivers which flow from Turkey to Syria through the dams it has been building over the last twenty years. (…)
This situation is greatly exacerbated by the threat of Covid-19. In the time of a pandemic, access to water is more vital than ever.
“In the midst of a global pandemic that is overloading sophisticated governance and infrastructure systems, Turkish authorities have been cutting off the water supply to regions most under strain in Syria,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The Turkish authorities should do everything they can to immediately resume supply to these communities.”
Now, the people in Rojava need your help. We want to raise £100,000 for vital water infrastructure in North-East Syria.
A small private foundation in the UK that has previously supported projects in the region has agreed to a match-funding offer to kick-start the project. It will donate £1 for every £1 of the first £50k raised. This means we only need to raise £50,000 to reach the £100k target!
The fund will help women’s co-operatives and democratic local municipalities in Rojava with projects like repairing infrastructure damaged by bombings, digging wells and building water pumps for refugee camps, as well as funding long-term projects like co-operative farm irrigation systems and river cleaning initiatives.
Despite the ongoing war, people in Rojava are still living cooperatively, rebuilding their lives, their ecology and their economy.
You can help support these efforts. Please let other people know about this campaign and donate what you can.
Water is not a weapon. Av jîyan e – Water is life!
Who are we?
The Solidarity Economy Association are working together with Aborîya Jin (Women’s Economy) in North-East Syria, not-for-profit NGO Un Ponte Per (Italy), UK-registered charity Heyva Sor a Kurdistanê (Kurdish Red Crescent), Roots for Change (Switzerland), and the Save the Tigris Campaign.
See the rest of the article here.