In March, 2016, I visited Rojava, the autonomous region of northern Syria that is currently in the midst of a furious, beautiful, conscious revolution.
I travelled to the region with two friends as part of an invited women’s delegation of journalists and activists. As we suspected it would, the two weeks we spent in the region have somehow changed each of our lives, and also the very fabric of who we are, causing us to question all kinds of preconceptions and ideas that we previously held.
I will be writing about all of this in due time on this blog, and also on a number of other platforms, but for the time being I would like to draw your attention to this project, which is in need of your support.
One of the three of us decided to stay in Rojava. This is what she is doing now.
Rojava needs your support.
At the time of writing this, there are only 17 days left to raise the money needed for this highly ambitious, life-saving project to #FeedTheRevolution.
The plan is essentially to stave off mass famine in the region, while simultaneously creating a closed-loop system of waste recycled into organic fertiliser, transforming Rojava from a chemically-produced wheat monoculture into a system of self-sustaining organic farming.
The project is being implemented by Rojava Plan, who are offical members of Rojava’s Economic Committee. As I will explain in future posts, the Democratic Confederalism system being implemented across the region is essentially a system of interlinking communes and committees, where decisions are made at the lowest possible level and elected representatives are sent up to the next level on a rotational basis.
This is what my friend and the other members of her collective say about the project
Feed The Revolution is the most vital project for Rojava right now. The embargo from all sides has come to a tipping point, where the resources in Rojava are now coming to an end. Since the embargo from the KRG (Iraqi Kurdistan) began at the beginning of the revolution in Syria, people had to pay large sums of money to the government there in order to import certain products into Rojava. This obviously worked against the ideology of the movement and the new democratic values of the revolution in Rojava, as only rich capitalists were able to pay these fees. But two months ago, even this was stopped, the border is now completely closed. The KRG border was the last option of trade for Rojava. Since not only is the lack of imports effecting the needs, but the inability to export is massively affecting the economy too. The movement is keeping essentials such as bread at the same low price as before, but this means that they have to sell it at a lower price than it costs to make. The movement is subsidizing farmers for this lost cost and baring it themselves. This might sound like a viable solution for the people to continue their lives but that money has to be taken from somewhere else, since the economy is crashing, from other essentials such as education and the defense against ISIS.
Now, Rojava is facing the situation of having to be completely self-sufficient. As this area of Syria was the poorest and least developed in the country before the revolution, this is a huge feat to aim for so suddenly. Add in the fact that all the land in Northern Syria was owned by the regime, which only produced a monoculture of wheat and also repeatedly used imported chemical fertilizer, then you can see that there was absolutely no thought about the long-term effects of losing the soils fertility because of the lack of crop diversity and the chemical imbalances.
So what’s the solution? Rojava needs to produce its own food on a scale large enough to feed the entire population. In order to achieve this, the movement has made massive steps to encourage people to work on the land collectively through cooperatives, which, again, is in line with the ideology of democratic confederalism. But the problems mentioned above mean that food crops are not growing to their full potential. This year, only a third of the usual yield will be produced. Fertilizer is needed immediately in order to create a short term solution for the food crisis Rojava is now experiencing.
We have not only developed a short term solution, but also a long-term solution. Our plan is to build facilities here that will produce organic fertilizer from the natural waste of the local population; from egg shells to tea leaves to manure. We are working within the movement to give education to teachers who will then teach the local population about the importance of separating their waste and about the direct and indirect benefits of composting. This system of educating will be easy, as the people already organize in their neighborhoods in accordance with the grassroots level of participatory democracy of confederalism. This education is essential for many reasons. One is that it focuses on achieving ecological requirements needed in our lifetime. Another is that it involves the people, not only by increasing their knowledge on important topics like this, but also further encouraging the participatory democracy which the revolution is currently promoting and achieving. Another is that it then gives all people the ability to replicate the project all across Rojava and become completely self-sufficient on the most essential need of humanity: food. They will no longer need to rely on capitalist trade from countries which want to dissolve the revolution or on corporations which will demolish the truly democratic system which works in favor of the people and for their autonomy.