On April 15, thousands of activists from a movement called Extinction Rebellion started occupying several sites in central London, shutting down major roads and demanding the country’s politicians take immediate, drastic action in the face of climate change.
For more than a week, the streets were awash with an infectious sort of hope. Beyond the potent symbol of popular power represented by their presence in the heart of the city, activists and passers-by had the chance to experiment with collective politics. Yes, there were camera-worthy stunts and impossible-to-ignore disruptions of business as usual. But people also assembled, broke into discussion groups and returned with proposals.… Seguir leyendo »
Remember those plucky Kurdish forces who so heroically defended the Syrian city of Kobane from Isis? They risk being wiped out by Nato.
The autonomous Kurdish region of Rojava in Northeast Syria, which includes Kobane, faces invasion. A Nato army is amassing on the border, marshaling all the overwhelming firepower and high-tech equipment that only the most advanced military forces can deploy. The commander in chief of those forces says he wants to return Rojava to its “rightful owners” who, he believes, are Arabs, not Kurds.
Last spring, this leader made similar declarations about the westernmost Syrian Kurdish district of Afrin.… Seguir leyendo »
When Raqqa fell in 2017, after a long siege by the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), it was generally thought that ISIS was defeated, save for some mopping up. But in January of this year, Turkey invaded Afrin—one of three cantons in Rojava, also called the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria. This meant that scores of SDF fighters had to leave the battle against ISIS in order to defend their homes, families, and neighbors in Afrin. After extensive air strikes, the city of Afrin fell on March 18—confronting the already troubled region with yet another humanitarian crisis, as thousands fled to escape the Turkish army and its Syrian National Army allies (which include jihadist rebel groups and some fighters who are either openly aligned with al-Qaeda or even recent members of ISIS).… Seguir leyendo »
“The Kurds have no friends but the mountains” — that’s what Mehmet Aksoy used to say. But Mehmet, who was killed Sept. 26 during an attack by the Islamic State in northern Syria, was my friend, and a tireless advocate of the Kurdish freedom movement.
He was working on an essay that began with those words when he died. He often used that adage to explain the plight of his people, who have long been used or mistreated by the very powers that claim to spread democracy and freedom through the world.
I first met Mehmet at a Kurdish demonstration in London, where he lived.… Seguir leyendo »
La récente actualité, avec d’une part la révélation des « Panama papers » et d’autre part l’émergence du mouvement Nuit debout, à Paris et dans d’autres villes françaises, traduit la lutte entre deux formes de solidarité, deux cultures mondiales – la première déjà bien trop développée, l’autre encore naissante.
La première est la solidarité des riches et des puissants ou, plus précisément, de ceux dont la richesse est fondée sur la puissance ; la seconde exprime l’apparition de nouvelles formes de démocratie révolutionnaire qui, de plus en plus, prennent une dimension planétaire. L’une et l’autre créent pour survivre des espaces extérieurs à la structure formelle de l’Etat.… Seguir leyendo »