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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL - international, The Kurdish left unjustly denigrated on Arte (fr, it, pt) [machine translation]

Date Tue, 4 Jul 2017 09:30:51 +0300

To be critical is good. To use this as a communitarian, even ethnist, grid is to fall into the low-level geopolitics. This is what Raqqa, the battle of the Euphrates, does, despite the relevant information it brings. ---- Arte aired Saturday 1 st July a report rather hostile to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDS) - Arab-Kurdish coalition whose YPG are the backbone - in the Raqqa region. For several weeks now, the SDS has besieged the city, the Syrian capital of the Islamic state, with the support of the Western coalition. ---- We can only congratulate journalists for wanting to be critical of the SDS. This will change the stories obsessed with the valiant combatants so characteristic of the Kurdish militias. However, the criticism here is irrelevant, because it seems to respond to a preformatted reading grid, presupposing that the SDS, far from " liberating " the areas occupied by Daech, will in fact constitute a new occupant oppressor. For what reason ? Because they are Kurdish and foreign to the region of Raqqa, which is Arabic, the reportage in question answers us.

This view corresponds rather to an old geopolitical grid that conceives politics in Africa and the Middle East only through the relations of ethnic and tribal forces. Because of the colonial heritage, this grid of reading has long guided French diplomacy [1]. In the press, it continues to be distilled by a professor at Sciences Po, Jean-Pierre Filiu, columnist polemic, but often highlighted by Lemonde.fr [2].

According to this grid of reading, it does not matter that there are people left or right, regardless of the project of society (liberal, Islamist, socialist ...) they carry: their community and tribal interests will prevail always. If they claim otherwise, it is a ruse to abuse the West. Thus, when the Kurdish left speaks of democratic confederalism, hammers that it is neither a separatist nor a separatist, it defends a political project for the whole of Syria and the Middle East, Various communities in its struggle ... it is considered a trickery of which one must not believe.

Young people just out of Daech are incorporated into the SDS.
" The new Kurdish masters "

In the report produced by Arte, this reading grid permeates the comments in voice-over, globally hostile to the YPG, qualified (4:15) of " Kurdish Marxist independence guerrilla " and " new foreign masters in the region " (10:05 ). Thus, the inhabitants of the liberated city of Tabqa must " now compose with their new Kurdish masters, after the Syrian dictatorship, after the rebels of the ASL, after the jihadists of the EI " (23:50). Conclusion: " In the name of the struggle against the EI, the West turns a blind eye to the territorial expansion of its new Kurdish ally in Syria. Even leaving the seeds of new conflicts " (24:30).

Presenting things so is tragic.

In a Middle East that is actually torn apart by racist and religious conflicts, it is tragic to denigrate the SDFs which are just trying to overcome ethnic fractures to reinject politics and a progressive and federalist project.

This does not mean that they should be incensed blindly . Like the Algerian FLN in the past, the Kurdish left certainly adapts its language to each of its supporters - Russian, American and French imperialisms on the one hand ; On the other side, the far left of Turkey, Latin America and the West.

Rather than a pre-formatted denigration, this report could have adopted a relevant critical point of view by seeking to share story-telling and reality ; Noble federalist ambitions, and the cruel feudal reality with which one must compose.

The FDS officer Abu Khalil negotiates the return of the refugees with heads of families of Tabqa, after the flight of Daech.
Information to remember

For the rest, the report deserves to be seen, because it provides information that can usefully reflect on the stakes of democratic confederalism in a fairly conservative Sunni Arab region. We will remember:

The opening sequence, in the suburbs of Raqqa, where a militiaman of the FDS, in a certain confusion, fires shots on what he thinks are jihadists, while his comrades tell him to stop because they can Be civilians. Or, in the devastated Tabqa, those inhabitants who tell that many civilians were killed in the bombings, while only six jihadists remained in the city. Images that recall, if need be, that " clean war " does not exist ;
The incorporation by SDS of young men - no women on the screen - barely out of the ranks of Daech. In a fortnight, their military training is provided by the United States ; Their " political " formation is by the Kurds. What is its nature ? Is it more than a " code of conduct " ? Does it contain some first bits of feminism, even minimal ? Are there any Arab women volunteers to engage ? The report says nothing. It is a burning question, as we know that the taking of arms was the first strong act for Kurdish women to break with patriarchy and feudalism ;
Abu Khalil, the FDS officer who guides journalists in Tabqa. He is an Arab, originally from the region, was persecuted by Daech, and then lost part of his family in the bombing of the coalition. It has only been part of the SDS for six months, and is now the military official for the city, interacting with local heads of families. So far veneered comments on " new foreign masters Kurdish region " ... But Abu Khalil of hiding anything difficult post-Daech in this liberated area: " If it is not, consider t- He (24:10), the people will kill each other ; There are many tribal rivalries " ;
The naivety of certain recruits vis-à-vis the United States (19:35), of which they see only the material aid, without deciphering the imperialist ambitions. We are far from the lucidity of seasoned militants, trained in the analysis of the balance of power ;
The damage inflicted on the Tabqa hydroelectric dam, the largest in Syria. For several years, Daech continued to deliver his electricity to the Damascus regime, which in return paid the salaries of the Raqqa officials. Before escaping, they sabotaged the facilities, including Soviet turbines for which there are no spare parts ... The challenge for the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria is enormous. Will it be able to restart production without logistical support ? And if not, under what conditions ? Burning question again ...
Guillaume Davranche (AL Montreuil)

Sophie Nivelle-Cardinale and Sylvain Lepetit, Raqqa, the Battle of the Euphrates, Arte / Kheops Prod, 2017. Visible until July 8th.

[1] Thus, in the 1970s and 1990s, the Élysée considered that the extreme right-wing regime that oppressed Rwanda was legitimate , since it came from the majority (Hutu) ethnic group. This made it possible to say that " the Hutus " were in power.

[2] His extremely biased chronicle of June 25, " The true face of Rakka's liberators , " is a case study.

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