Kenan Malik, ein britischer Kolumnist, ruft im Guardian 27.10.2019 die kurze Geschichte von Rojava in Erinnerung.

Three hundred thousand people displaced. Villages and infrastructure destroyed. Allegations of white phosphorus use. The costs of the Turkish invasion of northern Syria to create a “safe zone” are immense, the latest twist in the seemingly intractable Syrian war.

Beyond the immediate human costs, there lies also a deeper loss. Rojava, the Kurdish name for the autonomous region of northern Syria, into which the Turkish army is advancing, is more than a geographic area. It is also an experiment in democracy and equality. It is, in fact, one of many such experiments that have flourished during the years of the Syrian war, shaped by the work of thinkers such as the late Omar Aziz. Most have been crushed either by Bashir al-Assad’s regime or by Islamic State, which once controlled large areas of Syria. Now Rojava, too, is threatened with destruction.

It was out of the turmoil of the early years of the Syrian war that Rojava was born. In 2013, the Democratic Union party (PYD), the main political force in the region, established a coalition called the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM) and declared autonomy for the region. Many no longer refer to it as Rojava but as the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria, to acknowledge that it is home not just to Kurds but to Arabs, Christians and other minorities. […]

In a region that has become almost a byword for tyranny and oppression, Rojava is an embodiment of a different kind of politics. Its style of direct democracy allows local communities, from the village level up, to make many of the decisions and take on as much self-government as they can.

Even more striking has been the pursuit of gender equality. Traditional reactionary practices, such as polygamy and sharia courts, have been swept away. New rights, such as abortion and equal pay, have been enforced. Every public organisation is required to have at least 40% of both men and women. There is also a policy of “co-governance” – every office in government is led by both a man and a woman.

Kenan erinnert auch an die vielen kurzlebigen demokratischen Aufbrüche in Syrien, die durch Assad oder den IS zerstört wurden. Er zitiert einen Artikel von Robin Yassin-Kassab aus The National aus dem Jahre 2016, der damals schrieb:

You may think Syrians are condemned to an unpleasant choice between Bashar Al Assad and the jihadists. But the real choice being fought out by Syrians is between violent authoritarianism on the one hand and grassroots democracy on the other.

Interviewing activists, fighters and refugees for our book Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War, we discovered the democratic option is real, even if beleaguered. To the extent that life continues in the liberated but heavilybombed areas – areas independent of both the Assad regime and ISIL – it continues because self-organised local councils are supplying services and aid.

Syria’s Kurds dreamt of a ‘Rojava revolution’