The Rojava Revolution is also a 'language revolution'

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  • 10:58 20 February 2024
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RIHA - During the construction process initiated after the revolution in Northern and Eastern Syria, the most important area is language and cultural studies. Neriman Evdike, Co-Spokesperson of the Council of Literature, said: "The Rojava Revolution is also a language revolution."
Kurds, who took action to ensure self-defense in the cities they lived in during the civil war that started in Syria in 2011, declared cantons to govern themselves and started the process of building a new life together with the people living in the region. Following a resistance that went down in history as the "Rojava Revolution" on July 19, 2012, the construction process that started led by Democratic Society Movement (TEV-DEM) attracted the attention of the whole world. Assemblies and communes based on equal representation of peoples and beliefs were built within the framework of PKK Leader Abdullah Ocalan's democratic nation paradigm.
Shaped by these steps, the Autonomous Administration of Northern and Eastern Syria developed and grew day by day in the fields of culture, health, education, judiciary and local administration, despite Turkey's attacks.
Kurds, who were exposed to decades of denial and assimilation policies of the Syrian regime, focused mostly on language and culture with the Rojava Revolution. In Northern and Eastern Syria, where many institutional structures were made for this purpose, the Literary Coordination was established and affiliated substructures were established for the development of Kurdish language and literature. Important studies have been carried out with these institutions that carry out activities on language and literature.
Writer Neriman Evdike, Co-Spokesperson of the Literature Council, one of these formations, spoke to Mezopotamya Agency (MA) about their work.
Stating that Kurd writers wrote secretly because Kurdish was banned before the revolution, Neriman Evdike said that many writers were subjected to oppression and torture in the past because of this. Evdike added that they compiled the authors' works into books with their own hand due to the limited opportunities to publish Kurdish works and said: "Of course, there were great difficulties in those periods. The ban on Kurdish also had a great impact on literature. Since it was forbidden, the printing and distribution of Kurdish magazines and books were done secretly. Again, due to the ban, it could not reach the masses, but despite the bans, Kurd writers did not give up writing in Kurdish. The works written during that period formed the basis of Kurdish literature in Rojava Kurdistan today. Today, we are building our literature on this foundation they left behind.”
Stating that serious developments were made in the field of Kurdish language and literature with the Rojava Revolution, Evdike said: “The Rojava Revolution is also a language revolution for us. Kurd writers now write freely in their own language, not secretly. Kurd children receive education in their own language. Many institutions were opened for the development of Kurdish. Likewise, many studies have been carried out in the field of literature. Some literary institutions and publishing houses existed before the revolution. However, his opportunities were very limited. Now their opportunities have increased and many Kurdish publishing houses and institutions have been opened. Many literary works written before the revolution have been lost. Because there was no publishing house to print them. But even though some of the works were not published, the notebooks of those writers are still in their families. For this reason, our primary focus is to find the works of these authors and compile them into books. With the development of Kurdish, many young people turned to literature. Kurdish writing has increased even more. Serious developments have been made in the field of literature. The printing and distribution of Kurdish books is no longer prohibited, but is done officially. These may be small steps for others, but they are huge steps for us. We continue our work to further develop our literature with these opportunities.”
Stating that many institutions have been opened for the development of literature in Northern and Eastern Syria, Evdike said: “Literary studies are carried out by the Literary Council, Mesopotamia Translation Center, Follower of the Sun Center Documenting Revolutionary Works, Şilêr Publishing House, Şermola Magazine and Amara Bookstore, which are within the scope of Literature Coordination. Before a literary work is published, it is checked by the Literary Council. If it is suitable for printing, it is published by Şilêr Publishing House. Of course, there are also many private publishing houses. Institutions such as the Union of Intellectuals and the Writers' Union also carry out studies in the field of literature.”
Stating that the understanding of government based on the principle of democratic nationhood with the declaration of Autonomous Government had serious reflections in literature, Evdike said: “Before the revolution, women could not take much part in literature, both as literary works and as writers. Of course, this does not mean that there was no women's literature before the revolution. We had women writers before the revolution. But they could not turn their works into books because they did not have the means to publish them and they had even more limited opportunities than men. With the revolution, serious studies were carried out especially on women's literature and writing. The number of women has increased both as literary works and as writers.”
Co-Speaker of the Council of Literature underlined that the literary works written are loaded with the understanding of democratic nation.
Evdike said: “In all the works we write, there is the influence of the revolution and the reflection of the new life model built here on literature. Everyone is represented with their own color.” Evdike added that all people living in Northern and Eastern Syria participated in the literary festivals they organized and that everyone saw their own color in literature.
Giving information about their work as the Council of Literature, Evdike said that they held a workshop for young women writers in Qamişlo last year. Evdike noted that young women writers who improved their literary knowledge with the lessons they received from literature teachers in this workshop wrote their own works.
Stating that they will collect these literary works in a single book in the coming days, Evdike said: “We have a goal of holding this workshop in Kobanê and other cities. By organizing a literature week event every year, we receive discussions and evaluations about the problems in literature. Likewise, we organize literature festivals every year. We aim to develop Kurdish literature in Rojava Kurdistan with our work.”
MA / Mahmut Altıntaş

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