Kobane is bearing the brunt as its women fight on

Kobane and its people will not bear the responsibility of the West abandoning the Syrians

Diana Moukalled
Diana Moukalled
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Amid the worry accompanying the siege imposed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters on the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane, Arab criticism and restlessness surfaced despite the heated situation in the city and the fierce fighting on the ground.

This restlessness was frank and rather rude at some points despite all the deaths and the possibilities of relapse in the city.

So according to some, the city is not called Kobane but Ain al-Arab, the Arab name for the city. Only the Arabs could seek to control the name of a city with Kurdish inhabitants. Let them stop protesting and demanding their linguistic and cultural rights as they have no choice other than fading into this Arab world and cancelling all differences. At this point, it’s also okay to admonish the media attention in Kobane and ask “why did you forget Daraya, Homs and other Syrian cities but remember Kobane? Is it because you suffer from the complex of minorities while the majority suffer worse?”

Kobane and its people will not bear the responsibility of the West abandoning the Syrians and leaving them to their fate against a criminal regime and extremist fighters

Diana Moukalled

The peak of this unease and restlessness was voiced via writers, columnists and comments stating that there’s an “exaggerated” celebration of the Kurdish female fighters’ participation in the battles in Kobane. Those observers commented that this apparent exaggeration in celebrating these female fighters is based on some form of orientalism, God forbid!

Such criticism is being considered as subjective criticism without any Baathist or nationalist suspicions surrounding it. Of course, the city’s reality is that it is besieged by complications – the Turkish factor mixed with the Syrian Kurdish factor.

Syria’s dramatic recent history

We cannot deny the truth that Kobane is another chapter in Syria’s dramatic recent history and that other cities have suffered what Kobane has suffered and that what the Kurds are going through is an extension of their historical suffering that does not diminish others’ sacrifices. However, this does not mean that the Kurds are only to fail in their ordeal and will find no one to sympathize with them.

Kobane and its people will not bear the responsibility of the West abandoning the Syrians and leaving them to their fate against a criminal regime and its extremist fighters. What was referred to as an orientalist vision in celebrating the Kurdish female fighters is also a mystification of this very same perspective when those celebrating Kurdish female fighters realized that the environment which produced these fighters has also produced a high rate of honor killings. So when noticing this is apparent orientalism, who said we cannot adopt this from the West? The West is not home to only negative values and when we engage in revolutions and in values linked to freedom and human rights, we don’t bring these values from the East.

Those criticizing our orientalism must check Google right away to fight out how many Syrian cities and non-Kurdish Syrian women have been celebrated.

The world is unjustly treating the Syrians by not seriously working to end their ordeal. This is true. But celebrating Kobane did not bring about an orientalist rhetoric but a deep-rooted Baathist and nationalist one. There will be no freedom for us, the Kurds and all other factions in the East unless we get rid of this latter rhetoric just like we hope to get rid of ISIS and of tyrannical regimes.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on October 21, 2014.


Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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