ON 17TH OCTOBER 2017 the fall of Raqqa was announced by the YPJ, the Women’s Protection Unit which is part of the mainly Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Unit) in Rojava in northern Syria.
At the front of many of the pictures on that day you can see Kimmie Taylor, a 27 year old Brit who has been with the YPJ since 2016. Kimmie is a friend of someone I know who has visited RojavaRojava. So I made a friend request and to my surprise she friended me back and thus began a series of chats via various platforms that has inspired me in more ways than I can mention.
One night while Kimmie was waiting to go back to the Raqqa front we conspired to get a letter to Jeremy Corbyn. Kimmie spoke of: “A system of grassroots direct democracy, which guarantees representation of all ethnicities and religions. Directly elected representation to co-ordinate between communities. Decisions made through discussions with an aim of understanding each other and finding common goals, to build an ethical society. This is not a utopian fantasy. This is happening, growing rapidly here in Rojava for six years, and overflowing into lands newly liberated and welcomed into the Federation of Northern Syria.”
Kimmie survived the bloody battle to liberate Raqqa. Many didn’t, including Jack Holmes, the longest serving British member in the YPG. Since the last time I spoke to Kimmie about the prospect of writing this article herself, Turkey has invaded the area of Afrin, which is part of Rojava. What follows is Kimmie’s message originally posted to her Facebook page.
I’m not sure if Jeremy ever read Kimmie’s letter. What is certain right now is that the Labour Party must stand up for the people of Afrin against the Turkish state. My local South Thanet CLP passed an emergency motion condemning the invasion of Afrin as have many academics and scholars and a growing number of left MPs. As Kimmie said, it’s time to defend the revolution.
#DefendAfrin #DefendRojava #DefendKurdistan #Defend Humanity #YPJ #Afrin
- Phil Neale Is a carpenter in Ramsgate. He is part of a growing grassroots movement of organisations pledging solidarity with the struggle for freedom and democracy in Kurdistan.
- Footnote: We recently found out that the British government is to formally charge returned YPG fighter Jim Matthews with a terrorism offence. His only crime appears to be fighting ISIS with the YPG.