By Chiman Zebari and Paul Davis
In the past few of days, we have been treated to the news that Hilary Clinton and daughter Chelsea will be making a film based on a book about the female Peshmerga in Syria. Lots of comments on Twitter about this new book, to be published on 16th Feb 2021. Called Daughters of Kobani, it claims to detail the Women’s Protection Unit of the Syrian Democratic Forces known as the YPJ, and the YPJ’s struggle in Kobani against ISIS. Early reviews of the book indicate it looks promising and comes at a very timely moment in the struggle of Kurds, with Erdogan attacks in Rojava (NE Syria) on a nightly basis and threatening full-scale invasion.
We are both happy and disgusted by this. Happy that these fighters will get the exposure they need but disgusted that the person doing so spent the latter years of public service calling them terrorist and making every effort to deny the Kurds their rights and the country that should have been theirs to begin with. To make profit off the suffering she was a part of is hypocrisy in the highest.
We can understand the screams of frustration coming from women Kurdish filmmakers and accusations of hypocrisy and cultural appropriation but frankly, at this point of the Kurdish struggle, we warmly welcome this book as pro-Kurdish rights campaigners and hope that it will strengthen some people’s resolve to stand up to Erdogan’s attacks against NE Syria in the coming weeks and months. And to be honest, it is on that basis that Kurds welcome such policies, but at the same time, can disagree and want to ask where Hillary Clinton was when her husband, the then President of the US, were funding the Turkish government when it was at the height of the village depopulations in the 90s. It is a valid question and I’m sure we will face disappointment and anger in the coming months, but at least it gives some sort of hope that those around the President and Democrat circles will give recognition to the role the Kurdish people played in the defeat of ISIS and that they have sacrificed so much, that they have more than earned the inalienable right to be able to determine their own future and build the progressive society they fought for as a beacon of light, not only for women for who Rojava has been a revolution but for the future of the Middle East and beyond! We can only live-in hope and continue to defend the Democratic Nation through all its troubled times ahead. We hope this film can shine a light on the brave fighters of the YPJ. We hope however that the double dealing and hypocrisy of the Clintons is also brought to light.