Yazidi Fighters Condemn Charlottesville “Unite The Right” Rally
The all-women military unit calls Heather Heyer “a martyr."
They are an all-women military unit created to protect Syria’s Rojava region.
They are leading the front against ISIS in the city of Raqqa.
They are the Yazidi Sinjar Women’s Unit(YJŞ).
And they have something to say about Charlottesville.
"As women who have suffered at the hands of Daesh [ISIS] we know well the dangers that fascist, racist, patriarchal, and nationalist groups and organisations pose."
Read More: Meet the Women Fighting ISIS in Syria
In an exclusive statement to The Region, YJŞ fighters denounced the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia and called Heather Heyer “a martyr” fighting against the same principles as YJŞ.
“Once again men of this mind-set, this time in America, have martyred a woman, Heather Heyer, who was resisting against the division and destruction of communities,” the statement read.
32-year-old Heyer, pictured above, died while counter-protesting the “Unite the Right” rally of white supremacists and neo-Nazis when James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car directly into the group of protesters.
“We believe that Heather Heyer’s struggle is our struggle and that the fight against fascism is a global battle,” the statement continued. “For this reason, we are calling on women around the world to unite against fascism and put an end to terrorist groups like Daesh and those made from the same cloth that kill women like Heather.”
Global Citizen is dedicated to ensuring equality for everyone. You can take action to support justice for the Yazidi community here.
The statement was sent along with a photograph depicting four YJŞ fighters making “peace” symbols with their hands and holding two signs which read “R.I.P. Heather Heyer #Charlottesville” and “Unite Against Fascism.”
In the background of the original photograph a poster of Abdullah Ocalan can also be seen. Ocalan was the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Currently imprisoned in Turkey, Ocalan is considered a terrorist by both Turkey and the US due to the violence caused by his organization; although he is considered a hero by some Kurds as he claimed to fight for the independence of Kurdish people.
Although the YJŞ fighters do not adhere to all of Ocalan’s principles, they did receive military training from the PKK and believe in independence for the Kurdish people from ISIS.
The YJŞ were considered essential in recapturing Kobani from ISIS and rescuing thousands of Yazidis from Mount Sinjar in 2014. According to Reuters, they were also major contributors in pushing back ISIS forces in northern Iraq. You can read more about these women here.
YJŞ fighters have much to fear, knowing that if they are captured by ISIS they face rape, torture, and death.
But the danger does not deter them from their mission of ending oppressive regimes and fascist ideas.
Even if those ideas are marching down the street of a Virginian city.
*Global Citizen does not condone the violence inflicted by Ocalan or his organization. The photograph sent by the YJŞ women represents solidarity with Heather Heyer and condemnation of the “Unite the Right” rally.*