Many media outlets have covered the ‘brave Kurdish women’ fighting at the frontlines against the ‘Islamic State’ (Daesh) in the Kurdish regions of Rojava and Başur. While portrayed as the ideal antithesis to Daesh, these women’s experiences and lives are often romanticised and reduced to their fighting capabilities, dismissing their everyday experiences and ignoring the wider social and political project the Kurdish Freedom Movement stands for. This less sensationalised larger project is articulated by the declaration of Rojava as a confederate democracy, inspired by Öcalan’s and Bookchin’s ideas.
My research focuses on how the revolution in Rojava (also known as the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria) expresses and materialises itself in the Kurdish diaspora, through ethnographic research among and with the Kurdish Freedom Movement. In their struggles over values (i.e. how to live), the Kurdish Freedom Movement emphasises communal values, stressing gender-based equality, direct democracy, ecology and society’s autonomy over the economy, in their societal model of democratic confederalism, which is central to the revolution in Rojava and its impact beyond, and hence this research.