The Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)
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RAWA.org, March 28, 2015

RAWA member attends the First Middle East Democratic Youth Conference in Turkey

The conference revolved around the role of youth in leading their countries in the revolutionary struggles for freedom, democracy and prosperity

Official poster of the conference
Official poster of the conference.

The First Middle East Democratic Youth Conference was held in Diyarbakir, Turkey from March 13th to 15th, 2015. The conference which was organized by the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) and People's Democratic Congress (HDK) was attended by a RAWA member (Heela Faryal) representing Afghanistan among Middle Eastern countries.

The conference revolved around the role of youth in leading their countries in the revolutionary struggles for freedom, democracy and prosperity. It was attended by about 300 young political activists from different organizations based in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, Cyprus, Jordan, and Armenia.

The topic of discussion during the panel the RAWA member participated in was, ‘Orientations of Capitalist Modernity to Youth Identity’, where she described how one of the most important aims of the US and its allies in Afghanistan after its occupation was to strip the youth of their patriotism and conscience so they would not even consider resisting US and its local puppet regime. She described what RAWA has always stated as the various methods used by the US which are apparently for serving our country but have hidden agendas to serve the neo-colonist powers themselves. For example most NGOs and other charitable bodies, and the so-called civil society posture as the benefactors of the prosperity of our country but only further the interests of the occupier forces; the monstrous propaganda machine is used to deviate public opinion with cheap entertainment and meaningless political debates; and scholarships (like Fulbright and Chevening) are used to brainwash Afghan youngsters to later serve foreign powers.

On March 16, the participants took part in two peaceful sit-ins to mark the anniversary of the Halebja Massacre (1988), one in the city of Diyarbakir and the other in Midyat town of Mardin province. In Diyarbakir, the sit-in was next to a monument erected in the memory of the Roboski attack (2011). The next day was spent in Suruç a district bordering the town of Kobani (where Kurdish fighters showed epic resistance to bring ISIS and its imperialist supporters to its knees). Thousands of local joined a celebration to mark the Nawroz (New Year according to Solar calender), a holiday shared by both Afghanistan and Kurdistan. They sang revolutionary songs, saluted their martyrs with slogans and posters, and took a solemn oath to continue their struggle for a free, independent Kurdistan.

During the week-long trip, Faryal also met with dozens of activists from revolutionary and leftist groups, journalists, and martyrs’ families who had lost their loved ones in the fighting in Rojava (Western Kurdistan in northern Syria).


RAWA member talking during the panel of the First Middle East Democratic Youth Conference
RAWA member (face blurred for security reasons) talking during the panel of the First Middle East Democratic Youth Conference.


The organizers paid tribute to RAWA's martyred leader Meena along with the most prominent Kurdish martyrs
The organizers paid tribute to RAWA's martyred leader Meena (left rows of photos) along with the most prominent Kurdish martyrs.


A seven-member commission was set up to draft the final resolution.
A seven-member commission which was set to draft the final resolution met for two days to draft the resolution of the conference.


Posters with photos of martyrs from the recent Gezi Park protests and YPG
Posters with photos of martyrs from the recent Gezi Park protests and from the People's Protection Units (YPG) were hung to pay homage to.


RAWA member with a member of Peace Mothers, a movement of women who had lost their loved ones
A member of Peace Mothers, a movement of women who had lost their loved ones in the Kurdish-Turkish conflict.


Sit-in staged in Diyarbakir to mark the anniversary Halebja Massacre
A peaceful sit-in organized next to a monument built in the memory of the Roboski attack to mark the anniversary of the Halebja Massacre (1988) was held on March 16.


Sit-in staged in Midyat of Mardin province to mark the anniversary Halebja Massacre
Another sit-in was staged in Midyat of Mardin province in the evening the same day.


Nawroz celebrations held in Suruç
Nawroz celebrations held in Suruç in advance. Thousands of locals celebrated with revolutionary songs, the traditional Kurdish HaLay dance, and by honoring their martyrs throughout the festival.


RAWA member with a woman who had recently lost her nephew in the Kobani conflict
A woman who had recently lost her nephew in the Kobani resistance against ISIS (photo pinned on her chest) sits with the martyr's son.


RAWA member with a female fighter of the Women's Protection Units (YPJ)
With a female fighter of the Women's Protection Units (YPJ) who had recently returned from Kobani to join the Nawroz celebrations. She could not reveal her face due to security issues.

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