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mercoledì 30 novembre 2016




Chile-Based Court Files War Crimes Lawsuit against Israeli Supreme Court Justices 

Nov 29 2016 / 8:52 pm 
85 percent of the wall will be built inside Palestinian territories. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman, Palestine Chronicle, file)
85 percent of the wall will be built inside Palestinian territories. (Photo: Tamar Fleishman, Palestine Chronicle, file) 
A Santiago-based court in Chile on Monday filed a war crimes lawsuit against three Israeli Supreme Court justices for approving the construction of the Israeli separation wall, declared illegal by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2004.
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the lawsuit was filed by six Palestinian landowners in Beit Jala in the occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem and alleged war crimes, including crimes against humanity, against former chief Justice Asher Grunis, and Justices Neal Hendel and Uzi Vogelman.
The claimants reportedly own the land that is expected to be cut off from their village by the separation wall, while five of the plaintiffs are Chilean nationals, Haaretz reported.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians migrated to Chile over the last century, resulting in a large Palestinian diaspora community in the South American country, while many Palestinians with Chilean nationality also reside in the West Bank, particularly in Beit Jala. 
Haaretz added that as the lawsuit continues to unfold, more individuals could be charged with authorizing the wall’s construction in violation of international law.
Residents in Beit Jala have been engaged in a decade-long legal battle against a 2006 Israeli military order to build the separation wall around Beit Jala and the illegal Israeli settlement of Har Gilo. 
In 2013, 58 local landowners, as well as nuns from the Silesian women’s monastery in Cremisan who joined their legal action, lost an appeal against the route of the separation wall. Residents hoped that an Israeli Supreme Court decision in 2014 –which ordered the Israeli state to justify the route of the separation wall in Beit Jala’s Cremisan valley — was an indication that the proposed land seizure could be canceled. 
However, in July last year the Israeli Supreme Court approved the construction of the wall using an alternative route, which would still separate the Salesian monastery and convent from the community it serves in Beit Jala, while swallowing the Cremisan Valley onto the Israeli side of the separation barrier.
When complete, the majority of the wall’s construction, 85 percent, will have been built inside the occupied Palestinian territory over the Green Line, consuming vast tracts of Palestinian land along its way and consuming land in Area C — the two-thirds of the the West Bank that are under full Israeli military and civil control — where illegal settlements have been built or are planned to be constructed in the future.
(Ma’an, PC, Social Media)


Israel Attacks A UN Official for Wearing Palestine’s Flag 

Nov 30 2016 / 6:46 pm 
Peter Thomson's speech marked the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.  (Photo: via Twitter)
Peter Thomson's speech marked the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. (Photo: via Twitter) 
Israeli media has unleashed a smearing campaign against Peter Thomson, President of the 71st Session of the General Assembly, after he wore a Palestinian flag during a GA session to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, marked by the GA on November 29.
Danny Danon, Israel’s representative at the United Nations “The appearance of Thomson with a Palestinian flag aims at attacking Israel and destroying its image and reputation, and is a real example of discrimination and intentional defamation instead of adopting neutral positions.”
The Israeli Daily News Paper, Yadiot Ahranot, cited previous remarks made by Thomson, in which he accused Israel of committing ethnic cleansing against Palestinians, and other remarks which the newspaper judged to be ‘antisemitic.’
The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is marked by the United Nations of November 29 each year, which also marks the division of Palestine plan issued by the UN in 1947.
(SAMA, PC, Social Media)


Less Symbolism, More Action: Towards Meaningful Solidarity with Palestine 

Nov 30 2016 / 7:24 pm 
To overcome Israeli apartheid and occupation, international solidarity must not be in words only. (Photo:, file)
To overcome Israeli apartheid and occupation, international solidarity must not be in words only. (Photo:, file) 
By Ramzy Baroud 
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has designated the week, November 25 to December 3, as the ‘biggest-ever campaign’ aimed at boycotting Israeli products and those of companies that contribute to the Israeli military occupation of Palestine. 
In a recently issued press release, the civil society-led group highlighted “99 actions that will take place across the world to highlight what they described as “HP companies’ complicity in Israel’s violations of international law and human rights abuses.”  
BDS activities are expected to be staged across at least 18 countries, spanning 6 continents.  
The sharp increase in the boycott campaign activism is a direct result of Israeli pressure – joined by western governments – to thwart the boycott movement. Even financial institutions, such as the Bank of Ireland, have joined in on these efforts, shutting solidarity groups’ accounts and simply trying to raise the price tag for those who dare to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.  
However, it seems that the harder Israel tries to impede BDS, the greater the attention and sympathy the BDS movement garners. In some way, Israel’s frantic reaction has helped BDS spread its influence and expand the parameters of debate on the conflict in Palestine. In such scenarios, it is most likely that civil societies, not government intimidation, will eventually prevail – as previous experiences, the anti-Apartheid South Africa movement notwithstanding, have shown. 
It has also become clear that, while solidarity with Palestine has crossed many thresholds and overcome repeated obstacles in recent years, Palestinians themselves are reaching out to other marginalized groups, including African AmericansNative Americans and the Landless Movement in Brazil. This reflects a growing maturity, as the latter are the natural allies of the Palestinian people.  
The week of November 25, however, was not chosen randomly, for November 29 is the ‘International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People’. 
So what is the November 29 ‘Day of Solidarity’ all about? Interestingly, the history behind that specific date is quite an ominous one.   
Palestine was partitioned, unjustly, on November 29, 1947. There was no moral or legal basis for that partition, as communicated in UN resolution 181 (II) into a ‘Jewish State’ and an ‘Arab State’.  Jewish immigrants were granted 55 percent of the total size of historic Palestine and the ‘Arab State’, which never actualized, was accorded the rest. Jerusalem was to be given a special legal and political status, known in Latin as ‘corpus separatum’, and was to be governed through an international regime.   
A few months after that unwarranted partition, well-trained Zionist militias moved from several fronts to ‘secure’ the borders of their promised state, only to take over half of what was designated for the future of the Palestinian state, leaving the indigenous Palestinian Arab population of that land with 22 percent of historic Palestine.   
In June 1967, the Israeli army conquered whatever remained of Palestine. As a direct result of both military campaigns, millions of Palestinians became refugees.   
The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was designated to be a day of solidarity almost exactly 30 years after the partition plan took place. It was announced in successive resolutions, firstly in December 1977 (Res. 32/40 B) and, secondly, more substance to that resolution was added in December 1979 (Res. 34/65 D).   
These resolutions crowned thirty years of unmitigated failure on the part of the international community to aid in the establishment of a Palestinian state, which was even unsuccessful in imposing any form of punishment on the 30-year-old ‘Jewish State’ for repeatedly violating international law and every legal principle upon which it was established.   
One cannot deny the role of the numerous friendly nations, mostly from the South, that stood by Palestine’s side at every turn and, at times, faced the wrath of the US and Western governments for their unfaltering solidarity. However, the nature and the timing of these resolutions were seen as mere tokens, a symbolic gestures at best, to show solidarity in words only and not action.  
According to a UN document relevant to the day of solidarity, the purpose of November 29 is to provide the “opportunity for the international community to focus its attention on the fact that the question of Palestine remained unresolved and that the Palestinian people are yet to attain their inalienable rights as defined by the General Assembly.”   
Yet, little has been done in the last 39 years to implement any one of them, either partially or wholly. No practical mechanism has been set forth. No legal apparatus has been introduced to aid Palestinians in their efforts at achieving meaningful independence, or reprimand those who deny the Palestinian people their legal rights and political aspirations.   
Any such recommendations for meaningful interference on behalf of occupied, oppressed Palestinians were thwarted, repeatedly: obstructed by United States’ vetoes at the UN, hindered in myriad ways by Israel and its western allies.  
Unfortunately, since the original partition resolution passed in 1947, and to this today, the Palestinian cause has been feeding on symbolism – symbolic solidarity, symbolic victories and so on.  
This is not meant to undermine the significance of that day. However, to live up to the meaning of its designated title, the day must be repossessed, taken away from guarded diplomats with carefully-worded language, and given back to the people. In fact, Palestinian solidarity is now a global phenomenon: this is the perfect opportunity to make November 29 a day of strategy and global action, led by civil societies across the world.   
Civil society can use the day of solidarity as an opportunity to place pressure on their governments to move beyond symbolic gestures into meaningful action. This effort is most important in western societies, especially in the United States, that has served as a shield and benefactor for Israel for too many years.   
The United Nations, and all relevant platforms within the world’s largest international institution, must be persuaded to produce a workable mechanism to bring an end to Israeli occupation and offer Palestinians a true political horizon.  
Moreover, a day of solidarity that is based upon the political reality of nearly four decades ago and shaped by an understanding of the conflict from nearly seven decades ago, while admirable in principle, would have to be revised. A so-called ‘two-state solution’ is neither just, nor practical or feasible.  
A new narrative must take hold, in which the ‘question of Palestine’ is not framed as if a ‘refugee problem’ or a ‘humanitarian crisis’ to be remedied with verbal solidarity and food aid, but as a pressing political crisis in which the injured party must be unconditionally supported.  
Any solidarity that deviates from the current aspirations of Palestinians – as articulated by their fighting women and men, by their prisoners on hunger strikes, by their students fighting for the right to education, by these resilient, but often neglected voices – is not true solidarity.   
For the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People to be truly meaningful, it must be reclaimed, by Palestinians and their friends all across the globe.   
– Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of His books include “Searching Jenin”, “The Second Palestinian Intifada” and his latest “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story”. His website is


L’abuso economico contro vittime di violenza di genere – Al di là del Buco

abbattoimuri – L’abuso economico contro vittime di violenza di genere – di Eretica
Sto tentando di raccogliere, tra i tanti messaggi che arrivano ogni giorno all’indirizzo di Abbatto i Muri, quelli che parlano di violenza di genere aggravata o indotta da dipendenza economica. Inizio una minima carrellata, qui, invitandovi a continuare a raccontare, perché è ascoltando i vostri racconti che si capisce anche quale tipo di prevenzione forse è più necessaria contro la violenza di genere.
“ho 22 anni e abito ancora con i miei. ho provato a cercare lavoro ma non so cosa fare. da un lato voglio continuare a studiare per finire prima possibile e dall’altro sono stanca del comportamento di mio padre che è possessivo e violento e non ce la faccio più. come faccio a non subire violenza se non posso mantenermi da sola?”
“tutti discutono della violenza nella famiglia e io ho paura di essere fraintesa. io non subisco violenza perché mio padre è “straniero”, ma subisco violenza perché lui ha la stessa opinione sulle donne che ha il cretino del bar all’angolo, italiano, che tiene la moglie come schiava in cucina perché non vuole che i clienti la vedano. e prima che si aggiunga pregiudizio a pregiudizio dico che io sono immigrata di seconda generazione e il barista è veneto. si vede che quando si parla di donne sono tutti d’accordo.”
“sono andato via da casa a 21 anni perché mio padre e mia madre non potevano sopportarmi per come sono, gay, pacifista e pure vegetariano. forse avrebbero sopportato il gay, e anche il pacifista ma al vegetariano è andato il morso di traverso a tutta la famiglia. ovviamente scherzo ma la mia situazione è pessima. non ho completato gli studi e dopo una veloce ricerca di lavoro mi sono reso conto che l’unica scelta era la prostituzione. non è stato bello, all’inizio, perché ancora dovevo trovare la mia dimensione sessuale e fare pompini a pagamento non era l’idea che avevo del sesso appagante. poi non so cosa ne pensate voi ma ho le mie preferenze e ho preferito soddisfarne uno, con i soldi, che mi manteneva dandomi un tetto e da mangiare, invece che aspettarne cento. però non dura mai a lungo e io sono stato stupido perché non ho mai messo da parte niente. ora mi trovo senza un soldo e non so cosa inventarmi. dover essere così precario perché sono gay vale come violenza di genere?”
“mi sono trasferita da un anno in una città diversa, dopo che ho lasciato un violento, stalker, che mi ha rubato fino all’ultimo euro dal conto che avevamo in comune. non c’era molto ma in parte erano soldi anche miei e non ho potuto farci niente perché lui ha sfilato i soldi col bancomat e li ha messi in un altro conto. non mi ero resa conto di niente. gli ho lasciato i mobili, ho faticato per disdire le utenze per bollette che ancora arrivano a me, oggi, nonostante io mi sia trasferita. ho chiesto come fare ma in questi casi tutti sembrano cadere dal pero. se io mi trasferisco perché lui è violento la banca, le compagnie del gas, elettricità e telefono dovrebbero accogliere la mia richiesta in fretta invece di crearmi difficoltà. invece tutti vogliono guadagnare, nessuno è responsabile di niente e io sono considerata una comune consumatrice che al massimo può, appunto, chiedere la disdetta dei contratti non senza però aver pagato quello che nel frattempo ha consumato lui in mia assenza. possibile che non ci sia niente che tuteli una donna nelle mie condizioni? mi hanno detto di denunciarlo per stalking ma sarebbe stata un’altra spesa per me che non avrebbe facilitato affatto. sono comode quelle che dicono che non devi prostituirti ma se non sai come vivere che cosa puoi fare?”
“sono una donna, trans, e sono stata picchiata più volte dal mio ex compagno che mi ha lasciata povera, depressa e senza risorse. ho avuto la fortuna di non dover subire indifferenza dalla mia famiglia e per questo ho potuto continuare gli studi mentre portavo avanti la transizione. ho trovato un lavoro, sono andata a vivere da sola ed ero molto orgogliosa di me. poi è arrivato lui e mi ha intenerita, all’inizio, perché mi sembrava un uomo buono. non lo è. quando chiamavo aiuto, le notti in cui mi picchiava, i vicini dicevano di fare silenzio e dato che io sono trans pensavano che a casa mia si facessero le orge. un giorno avevo un livido in faccia e stavo stendendo i panni sul balcone. la vicina disse che non era bello che io mi affacciassi perché avrebbero potuto vedermi i bambini. non solo ho dovuto sopportare la violenza ma anche i pregiudizi perché se sanno che sei trans pensano che sei una prostituta e che ricevi clienti che se ti picchiano è colpa tua. una volta sono andata con l’intenzione di denunciarlo ma quando arrivai lì c’era un ragazzo giovane alla porta che si mise a ridere. chiese che cosa dovessi fare e quando dissi che volevo denunciare un uomo per violenza disse che per queste cose avrei dovuto parlare con “apposite associazioni per quellI come te”. il mio ex mi ha provocato una forte depressione e sono rimasta senza lavoro perché ci sono tante persone che hanno bisogno e la depressione non è nemmeno vista come una malattia. a chi può chiedere un aiuto economico una persona come me? ve lo dico io: ai genitori, se li hai, o niente.”
“mi limito a dirti rapidamente quello che mi è successo durante gli ultimi sei mesi. non mi rinnovano il contratto, io inseguo un medico per farmi prescrivere la pillola del giorno dopo anche se so che posso averla senza prescrizione (per legge è così, no?); temo di dovermi rivolgere a qualcuno per un eventuale aborto e so che i non obiettori stanno nella città a 200 chilometri da dove sto io. reperisco la pillola, a pagamento, e se una è povera non si capisce perché dovrebbe pagare per una pillola del giorno dopo. penso che mi è andata di lusso perché ormai sono abituata a pensare che non mi spetta nessun diritto e solo perché leggo pagine come la tua mi rendo conto che mi spettano eccome anche se non so a chi chiedere. con chi mi incazzo se non ho lavoro e se devo pagare la pillola del giorno dopo? un antiabortista direbbe che sono fatti miei e io penso che se mi trovassi davanti a un antiabortista mi tratterrei a stento dal mandarlo a fare in culo. volevo rinnovare l’iscrizione all’università per quest’anno ma senza soldi non ho potuto farlo. pagherò con gli interessi tra un anno, se ho fortuna. detto con estrema calma: quando i governanti dicono che stanno facendo il bene del popolo di quale minchia di popolo stanno parlando?”
  • scriveteci, – noi siamo qui. Ed ecco perché il femminismo o è intersezionale o non è. se non hai coscienza di classe, oltre che di genere e “razza”, di che prevenzione antiviolenza parliamo?


The Rojava Project | Jacobin

Kurdish YPG fighters. Kurdish struggle / Flickr – The Rojava Project A Road Unforeseen is an inspiring account of the autonomous Kurdish region in Syria, but it glosses over Rojava’s contradictions. – by *
According to the back of Meredith Tax’s A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic Statea “democratic society” with “women on the front lines as fierce warriors and leaders” is growing in the midst of Syria’s destructionThis new society — Rojava — was founded by the Democratic Union Party(PYD), the Syrian-Kurdish offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Rojava drew broad attention during the 2014 defense of Kobanê. Tax’s book is intended for readers seeking an introduction to the history of the Kurdish national movement and its heroic fight against ISIS in northern Syria. But though Tax convincingly argues that the Left should support the Kurdish liberation movement, A Road Unforeseen is marred by an uneven account of Kurdish history and willingness to gloss over the movement’s missteps.

Two Visions

Tax focuses on two important political traditions in the Kurdish national movement: the PKK and the more conservative Kurdistan Democratic Party(KDP).
In 1946, Mustafa Barzani founded the KDP in the only Kurdish state in modern history, the  Republic of Mahabad, which survived for less than a year before being taken over by Iran. Barzani — who led armed struggles against both Iran and Iraq, faced exile after Mahabad’s defeat, and then allied with before being betrayed by the United States in the Kurdish resistance to the Iraqi Baath regime — remains an important figure for many Kurds. His son, Massoud Barzani, is the KDP’s current leader and president of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region.
Tax presents the KDP as the PKK’s foil: the former is traditionalist — as evidenced by the Barzani clan’s continued role, the party’s alliances with imperialist powers, and its traditional call for a conventional Kurdish nation-state — while the latter is revolutionary.
The PKK, in Tax’s account, rejects both the traditional structures of Kurdish society and the modern nation-state, calling for full Kurdish liberation, especially for women. Originally founded as a Marxist-Leninist party, the PKK has directly organized and indirectly inspired a complex ecosystem of above- and underground political and social organizations in different countries, including Syria’s PYD.
The KDP and PKK both claim to represent the Kurdish people and have become bitter rivals, violently competing for support for their respective visions of the future of Kurdish society.
Iraq’s Kurdistan Region most closely approximates the KDP’s vision; the vision of the “PKK-movement” is put into practice in the Kurdish regions in North Syria.
Tax explains that Rojava hopes to remain an autonomous region in a preserved Syrian state. There, citizens would enjoy equal rights, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or religion. The economy would be organized to serve the whole community with an emphasis on cooperative ventures. An intricate network of elected councils would hold political power. In this way, the movement claims it is building “democracy without the state,” since its structure would supposedly eliminate the kind of coercion that gives most states their power. This model, following the party’s leader Abdullah Öcalan’s ideology, is called a confederal democracy.

Shifting Alliances

The PYD shares its emphasis on women’s liberation with its parent organization, the PKK. Tax draws out this aspect of their politics, describing in detail how Sakine Cansiz — a PKK founding member who was arrested in 1979 — influenced both parties’ development.
After seizing power in the 1980 coup, the Turkish military brutallyrepressed both left and Kurdish movements. Cansiz courageously resisted torture in the infamous Diyarbakir jail and became an icon of the struggle.
From its foundation, the PKK viewed women’s organizations largely instrumentally. But as the PKK transitioned from a guerrilla group to a mass movement in the mid 1990s, this began to change. More and more women joined the party and claimed a place for themselves as activists and fighters.
Another step was the movement’s ideological evolution which sped up afterÖcalan’s arrest by the Turkish state in 1999. While in prison, he developed a new ideology which renounces the violent seizure of power and the goal of a Kurdish nation-state.
Many supporters felt betrayed by this new orientation, but it gave women expanded opportunities for self-organization. In fact, the movement’s women’s wing is now one of the imprisoned leader’s strongest supporters.
Tax relies on Dutch anthropologist Martin van BruinessenAgha, Shaikh, and State: The Social and Political Structures of Kurdistan to draw out the differences between the PKK and the KDP.
Van Bruinessen explained the KDP’s traditionalist character by examining the role tribes play in Kurdish society. Van Bruinessen argues that these tribes are not simply leftovers from a primordial past but creations of “the state, rather than a social and political formation preceding it.”
National governments have long engaged in divide-and-rule tactics to dominate the Kurdish minorities living within their respective borders. They supported traditional rulers, whose power was waning as society modernized, against newer and more radical challengers. With this historical approach to supposedly cultural traits, Tax avoids the trap that more superficial commentators fall into when they contrast Kurds and Arabs as homogeneous groups.
The PKK and the PYD, however, have managed to wrest a large segment of the population’s support away from tribal leaders. Unlike Barzani or Jalal Talabani — leader of the other main Kurdish party in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) — Öcalan does not come from a prominent clan.
The PKK’s popularity, especially in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, in fact comes from the failure of this tribal system. The state’s brutal repression revealed many Kurdish leaders either as powerless or as collaborators. Radicalized Kurds threw their support behind the PKK.
Developments in Syria follow a similar trajectory. Tax explains that the PYD was founded in 2003 after the Syrian state ended its alliance with the PKK. Starting in the early eighties, the regime allowed the PKK to launch attacks against Turkey from northern Syria. As Harriet Allsop writes, it saw the PKK “as a balance to the leverage over Syria that Turkey possessed through its control over the Euphrates water flow.”
The PKK’s war against the Turkish state made it popular among Syrian Kurds, seven and ten thousand of whom died or went missing during the fight, according to Allsop. The PKK came to dominate Syrian-Kurdish politics and, as Thomas Schmidinger explains, functioned as a parallel state in what it called Little Kurdistan. In return for this safe haven, the party stayed out of Syrian politics.
The PKK’s relative freedom set it apart from other Syrian-Kurdish parties, which, unfortunately, Tax largely leaves out of her narrative. These groups found themselves at a political impasse thanks to implicit limits set down by the Arab-chauvinist Baath regime. Officially illegal, Kurdish parties could only organize cultural and social activities for their supporters. If they called for a Kurdish state or directly criticized the regime’s racism, Syrian security forces would crack down without mercy.
Over time, several of the Syrian-Kurdish parties developed a kind of working relationship with the Baath regime that mixed varying degrees of hostility and cooperation. In the years before the revolution, leaders of some of these groups had unofficial but regular contact with state security forces.
As Allsop documents, the PKK’s indirect cooperation with the Baath regime and its focus on Turkey started to hurt its appeal, especially after a 1996 interview in which Öcalan suggested that most Syrian Kurds were in fact from Turkey and that they would benefit from returning there. The Baath regime had once used similar arguments to take away tens of thousands of Syrian Kurds’ citizenship.
In 1998, Turkey threatened Syria with war if it continued to give shelter to the PKK, and the party was expelled. Turkish agents arrested Öcalan a few months later, and the movement’s main bases moved to northern Iraq. The PYD picked up most of the PKK’s Syrian-Kurdish support when it was organized a few years later.

New Dynamics

Since Tax is most interested in the PKK’s current development and, to a lesser extent, in the KDP in Iraqi Kurdistan, much of this political history is omitted from A Road Unforeseen. This is unfortunate because it helps us fit the Rojava project into the Syrian revolution’s context.
For example, while Tax highlights how essential the PYD has been in organizing the Rojava project, she fails to discuss how — had it not built on decades of organizing and cadre training — the party would not have been able to seize the opportunity presented by the 2011 uprising.
Further, Tax can’t account for the persistent rumors of collaboration between the PYD and Assad. One of the most damning accusations is that the party made a secret agreement with the regime just as the initially peaceful uprising armed itself and became an armed insurrection.
In April 2011, Salih Muslim — the most prominent PYD leader — returned to Syria. Allsop explains that critics of the PYD claim this return was part of an agreement with Assad that also included the Syrian government’s mostly nonviolent withdrawal from Rojava in July 2012. In return, the PYD promised not to join with the rebels and attack Assad from the north.
Although the PYD denies this — stating that the regime simply decided not to waste more resources fighting for the region and pointing to its subsequent clashes with Syrian forces — there are good reasons to be suspicious of the party’s relationship with Assad.
First, Salih Muslim served as deputy of the National Coordination Committee for the Forces of Democratic Change (NCC), which initially called for a dialogue with Assad. The Syrian National Council and the Local Coordination Councils rejected the NCC as window dressing, a “loyal opposition” that makes the Assad regime look willing to reform. Whatever the case, A Road Unforeseen avoids this discussion.
Second, and more importantly, Tax’s interpretation of Kurdish politics as a duality between the KPD’s Barzani-style traditionalists, on the one hand, and PKK’s revolutionaries on the other doesn’t account for new dynamics that emerged after 2004.
Tax writes that, in 2004, the “PYD was involved in organizing the first major uprising of Syrian Kurds,” the Qamishli uprising. Here, she overstates the party’s role: it would be more correct to say that no party organized this spontaneous protest against anti-Kurdish violence and oppression. Granted, the PYD played an important role supporting the protests after they started, as did some of the other more militant Syrian-Kurdish groups such as the Yekîtî (Unity) party. But after the uprising was put down, new groups, critical of both the PYD and the Syrian state, formed.
One, the Kurdish Youth Movement, which largely consisted of teenagers, tried to launch the first armed resistance against the Baath regime. They accused the PYD of working with the state.
The Kurdish Future Movement, also founded after Qamishli, likewise rejects the PYD for its alleged collaboration. This group crossed one of the regime’s red lines by working with Arab opposition forces. From the beginning of the revolution, it has called for nothing less than the government’s fall. In July 2011, the movement’s figurehead Mashaal Tammo declared dialogue impossible: “You simply cannot speak with a regime that kills its own population.”
A Road Unforeseen unfortunately downplays Tammo, describing him as “an activist who wanted the Kurds to stay in the Syrian National Council.” This leaves out Tammo’s important role in Kurdish politics. After his murder in October 2011, fifty thousand people in Qamishli attended his funeral; other large demonstrations took place in Aleppo, Latakia, and Hasaka.
Tax writes that accusations that the PYD was involved in Tammo’s assassination have been proven false, citing documents published by Saudi news channel Al-Arabiya that show the Assad regime ordered the hit.
Unfortunately, things are not so clear. Shortly before his death, Tammo claimed that the regime and the PYD jointly planned an attempt on his life, seeing him as a common enemy. The PYD first blamed Tammo’s death on the Turkish government, then later on the Assad regime. The Kurdish Future Movement, greatly weakened by its leader’s death, still holds PYD responsible.
Tax describes these accusations as part of an “anti-Rojava narrative” circulating among “Western governments and NGOs.” But the PKK’s history of connivance with the Baathist state, as sketched above, has made many people — Arabs, as well as Kurds — distrustful. Further, recent instances of PYD-sanctioned political repression are not so easily waved aside. There have been multiple protests against the party in Rojava. To its credit, the Rojava administration has apologized for these abuses and tried to make amends.

Critical Solidarity

A Road Unforeseen, while clearly sympathetic to the Syrian revolution, doesn’t spend much time considering how Rojava’s fate is intertwined with it. Clearly, if the Assad regime weren’t otherwise occupied, it wouldn’t tolerate the creation of an autonomous region, especially one that grants Kurds a dominant role.
The ongoing war across Syria often goes unmentioned in the PYD’s narrative. In January 2016, PYD representative Zuhat Kobani sought to prove Rojava’s superiority by citing the region’s relatively low rate of civilian casualties when compared to rebel-controlled areas. But this difference has less to do with Rojava and more to do with Assad whose forces have focused their violence elsewhere.
Assad has made it clear that he doesn’t want Kurdish self-determination. If he ever eradicates the revolution, the barrel bombs would fall on Rojava next.
One of the Syrian Revolution’s tragedies has been the division and even fighting between the country’s oppressed groups, especially the anti-Assad forces and the Kurds.
Many opposition leaders oppose Kurdish self-determination and have made baldly racist statements. In 2013, when Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham,and other Islamists attacked Kurdish areas, large parts of the opposition remained silent. This reminded many Kurds of their silence following the Qamishli uprising.
For its part, the PYD’s ambiguous position toward the regime and its dismissal of the opposition has antagonized many rebels. In a 2013 interview, Salih Muslim called the SNC-associated groups tools of American imperialism. 
A particularly low point came with the de facto alliance between YPG forces and Assad in the siege of Aleppo. Muslim’s remarks praising Russian intervention caused more anger. But the Syrian opposition’s refusal to support Kurdish self-determination is the real foundation of this tragedy.
The PYD project remains ambiguous. On the one hand, Rojava’s ethnic and religious pluralism has made the region a relatively safe area for minorities. It has also achieved democratic gains for the oppressed Kurds. PYD supporters have started to present Rojava as an alternative for the whole country, region, and sometimes the world. The PKK’s ideology is no longer strictly nationalist.
But for Öcalan — who remains the movement’s unquestioned ideological and political leader — it is not just that the Kurdish movement is building a new kind of democracy. He believes it represents the rebirth of specific Kurdish characteristics: the Kurds, he argues, are democracy’s chosen people.
This makes the movement’s internationalism ambiguous. In a discussion of what she calls “the Syrian opposition’s rancor” toward the PYD, Tax quotes Muslim as saying, “Our problems are not problems of power. The ruling powers in Damascus come and go. For us Kurds, this isn’t so important. What is important is that we Kurds assert our existence.”
The book ends with several open questions regarding Rojava. Tax points to the contradiction between a “top-down . . . organization like the PKK” and the “bottom-up grassroots democratic politics of communes and councils.” She also worries that there won’t be much room in “the Rojava-to-come” to question Öcalan’s ideology.
We should add more questions: How does the PKK function internally? How does the Rojava administration propose to deal with class divisions or regional differences that cannot be negotiated away? How can it reconcile the idea that “society should rule itself” with those who make decisions counter to the movement’s emancipatory goals?
Tax refers self-critically to her own experience of “revolutionary tourism in China in 1973 at the height of the Cultural Revolution, too credulous to question what I was looking at half the time.” She now urges the Left to take a more sober view.
Still, A Road Unforeseen convincingly shows that in Rojava “people are trying to do something, and women are at the center.” This attempt, and the Syrian revolution that made it possible, deserves our attention and our solidarity.
  • Alex de Jong is editor of the socialist journal Grenzeloos and an activist in the Netherlands.


Aids, la follia dei ragazzi che sfidano il virus – l’Espresso – Aids, la follia dei ragazzi che sfidano il virusIn Occidente non si muore più. Ma il contagio aumenta, perché si riaffacciano i comportamenti pericolosi. E se la medicina fa progressi, la prevenzione invece ha fatto passi indietro. Il 1° dicembre è la giornata mondiale contro la sindrome da immunodeficienza. Ecco la situazione a oggi di una malattia che ha sconvolto in tutto il mondo le abitudini sessuali  – di Simone Alliva
Se prendo l’HIV pazienza, non si muore più, no? Io il preservativo non lo uso. Costa e poi non mi piace». Luca ha 19 anni, è uno studente come tanti. Al momento è single ma esce, conosce tante persone, alcune poi le frequenta e instaura relazioni più o meno durature. Le conosce nei locali la sera, attraverso amici o sulle chat per incontri.
«Il cappuccio (profilattico, ndr) riduce il piacere». Luca non è affatto preoccupato dai rischi legati ai rapporti non sicuri. Pur non usando il preservativo non ha mai fatto un test per scoprire se è positivo all’Hiv.
«Mai fatto. So che a Roma li fanno le associazioni, ma non le frequento e per farli in ospedale serve l’impegnativa del medico. Non ho né il tempo né la voglia, e comunque non mi interessa».
La storia di Luca è solo una delle tante nell’universo dei millennials, i nati tra il 1980 e il 2000. La generazione più istruita della storia, che conosce l’inglese, che viaggia, quella iperconnessa che trascorre le giornate su Facebook, lo smartphone sempre a portata di mano. E il sesso, per alcuni di questi ragazzi e ragazze, rimane un argomento difficile da affrontare.
L’educazione sessuale, pur essendo sempre più diffusa, ancora resta un tabù in alcune sacche del mondo giovanile. In certi casi le paralizza. «Avevo la gonorrea ma mi vergognavo troppo, non riuscivo ad andare dal mio medico di base.
Ero preoccupato da quello che poteva essere il suo giudizio», racconta Davide, 20 anni. La vergogna lo ha bloccato, gli ha impedito di curarsi come avrebbe dovuto: «Mi sono fatto passare sottobanco le medicine dal mio amico farmacista».
Talvolta la malattia non è vissuta più come una minaccia ma come un’inevitabile sventura. Una fatalità. Come nel caso di Valentina, 15 anni: fuori dal suo liceo racconta di fare sesso senza precauzione, «prendo la pillola», assicura. L’importante, per lei è non rimanere incinta.
Del preservativo, l’unico contraccettivo che fa da barriera alle malattie sessuali, non vuole sentir parlare. Claudio, che di anni ne ha 16, ne fa invece una questione economica: «Io non posso chiedere i soldi ai miei genitori per comprare i preservativi. Mi vergogno. Se lo trovo gratis bene, sennò si fa senza».
Valerio vive a Rimini. È positivo all’Hiv da quando aveva 20 anni. Ora ne ha 24. Ha accettato la malattia come fosse un incidente: «È stato il mio ragazzo», racconta. “Lui mi tradiva e quando l’ho scoperto ci siamo lasciati. A storia finita decisi di fare le analisi generali e ho scoperto di essere positivo».
La malattia cambia radicalmente le sue abitudini. Cambiano anche i rapporti personali, con la famiglia prima di tutto. «I miei genitori all’inizio non capivano, sono rimasti fermi agli anni Novanta quando la gente ci moriva di Aids. Ora sto cercando di istruirli».
«Non me lo aspettavo. Usavo quasi sempre il preservativo». Paolo è di Bologna, la diagnosi che ha ricevuto a 23 anni è stata un’irruzione che gli ha cambiato la vita in un minuto. Aveva un biglietto aereo per il Brasile vinto grazie a una borsa di studio. Dopo la scoperta della malattia ha scelto di restare in Italia: «Essere positivi all’Hiv mi ha dato una vita nuova.
È cambiata la prospettiva, il modo in cui guardo le persone attorno a me». Con la malattia ogni scelta relazionale pesa: «Presentarti a qualcuno come persona sieropositiva equivale a fare coming out una seconda volta».
Sofferenza? «Forse all’inizio ma dalla sofferenza è nata una capacità di reagire, una ragione di riscatto». Così Paolo diventa attivista di Plus, l’associazione che riunisce persone gay sieropositive: «L’ho fatto pensando a chi è meno fortunato di me: ho contratto il virus in un’epoca in cui la malattia non equivale a una sentenza.
In una città come Bologna, poi, dove c’è apertura nei confronti della comunità lgbt. E infine, in una famiglia che ha reagito con lucidità: mia madre mi disse che se avessi avuto il diabete sarebbe stato molto peggio. Capisci?, non tutti hanno questa fortuna».
E Francesco, 24 anni, positivo al virus da due, questa fortuna non ce l’ha: «In famiglia non lo sanno e non intendo dirglielo», spiega. «A stento accettano il fatto che sia gay. Per me non sono problemi l’essere gay e sieropositivo. Sono fatti. I miei genitori non guardano all’omosessualità come a una cosa normale. Figuriamoci all’Aids che nel loro immaginario resterà sempre la maledizione degli anni Ottanta».
La diagnosi l’ha ricevuta il primo dicembre 2014, proprio durante la Giornata mondiale contro l’Aids: «Ho fatto il test di routine. Non ho capito più nulla. Volevo solo uscirne. Ho iniziato a informarmi e a frequentare i gruppi di sostegno».
Secondo i dati forniti dal Centro Operativo Aids dell’Istituto Superiore di Sanità da dieci anni il numero delle diagnosi non accenna a scendere, e anzi registra un incremento tra le persone omosessuali. La trasmissione dell’Hiv avviene quasi sempre per via sessuale e sempre meno per via endovenosa. Tra i maschi gay è allarme rosso.
Soprattutto tra le nuove generazioni che hanno abbassato la guardia. Lo spiega bene Massimiliano, volontario del Circolo di Cultura Omosessuale Mario Mieli di Roma dove trascorre parecchie ore alla settimana per fare consulenza e ascoltare i problemi dei giovani.
Dopo anni di lavoro si stupisce ancora della disinformazione e della mancanza di responsabilità: «Quando parlo con loro, siano etero o gay, scatta ancora il meccanismo del “poi ci penso”.
Non usano precauzioni, spesso perché il partner risulta esteticamente affidabile. Una volta un ragazzo, dopo aver avuto un rapporto non sicuro, mi disse “Non mi sembrava il tipo da Hiv”».
Ma ci sono anche giovani che rifiutano l’uso del preservativo non per ignoranza ma per scelta. «È più eccitante – dice Flavio, 28enne – Ammetto che farlo senza mi eccita di più, sia dal punto di vista fisico sia perché è più pericoloso. Poi mi pento, ma solo dopo».
Un microuniverso giovanile che va in moto a fari spenti: il sesso senza preservativo per il gusto di farlo “al naturale”, senza pensare alle conseguenze. Fino ad arrivare a pratiche estreme, come la moda importata da oltreoceano del chem-sex, sempre più diffusa tra i giovani.
Droga e sesso mescolati. Ci si ritrova tra sconosciuti in casa, si fa sesso non protetto e ci si sballa: aumentano sia le performance sessuali e sia i rischi di contrarre malattie.
Emiliano a 26 anni si considera un habitué dei festini a base di droga e sesso: «Ci si organizza tramite i social, qualcuno ospita e ci si ritrova lì. Gay ma anche etero. Una volta mi ritrovai in un festino con 7 gay e una donna etero. Lei guardava e si sballava». I preservativi di solito sono sempre ben visibili sul tavolo, accanto a droga come cocaina, Ghb, Md, Ecstasy liquida. «Ma i condom restano dei soprammobili, perché quando la droga entra in circolo si ha un senso di invincibilità e non si è coscienti di correre il rischio. E se lo sei comunque ti eccita.
Quando sale l’effetto non hai la lucidità per aprire un preservativo e mettertelo. Si perde spesso la cognizione del proprio corpo e del tempo.
Una volta sono rimasto in casa tre giorni». I party iniziano il venerdì sera per poi prolungarsi il sabato e domenica c’è il down finale. «La prima volta che l’ho fatto sono andato avanti dal venerdì alle sette di sera fino a lunedì. A me sembrava fossero passate solo due ore. Alla fine si scopa poco in realtà, ma non hai fame e bevi molto».
Tra le pratiche estreme oggi resta meno in voga il bugchasing, che consiste nell’avere rapporti sessuali non protetti con persone sieropositive e disponibili a trasmettere il virus dell’hiv: «Preistoria» commenta Gaetano, 25enne. «Chi è sieropositivo oggi si cura e difficilmente è contagioso se segue regolarmente una terapia anti-retrovirale e non è affetto da altre infezioni sessualmente trasmissibili. Quelli che fanno bugchasing sono una categoria paragonabile a chi si eccita guardando i morti.
Un caso clinico». Gaetano invece è più affascinato dal “bareback”. In inglese vuol dire “montare a cavallo senza sella”. Si organizzano orge e si fa sesso rigorosamente non protetto: «È più divertente, quando lo fai ti senti libero. Le malattie? Non ci penso, si vive una volta sola».