In Kurdistan, education has played an important role in the development of the modern struggle for the freedom of women. The critical developments in this path have been uncovered with important advances, the woman's mentality, organization, and struggle. Of course, the mentality and formation of woman did not form without education. In Kurdistan, without education women could not have progressed. Because of this, the advances in women's desire for freedom in Kurdistan owes a lot to the educational mindset that brought them out of the education of the state. The progress of the movement for the freedom of women, which had a powerful effect on education in Kurdistan, has an important academic-philosophical meaning. This is also very important for the expansion and cooperation of the trials of the women's struggle.
Before we jump into these writings, we must clarify that Abdullah Ocalan's educational perspective is at the center of all these developments. The course of independent education on women's theory which they carried out and planted the seeds of, by experimentation became official. The shared values, paths, and traditions that Sakine Cansiz created continue until today. We must clarify that changing and transforming women doesn't just mean transforming men's and society's education. Of course there were some aspects that history had hidden, but we must clarify that there are many sides to this history. If we start with an evaluation of the history of education of women:
In this time, the Kurdistan Freedom Movement had still not become a party and had begun to organize themselves as a group. This movement, which initially began as a small group- in university, began to spread to the entire country after 1976. Initially, Fatma, Shenay and Martyr Sakine Cansiz were the only women in this small group. From these, the first two left the struggle in the following years. Sakine Cansiz always insisted on the struggle for women's freedom and helped ferment this reality.
It's not possible to speak to either a clearly defined policy of women's education or any dissection of these issues. However, there was the mentality of "in a national and socialist organization, absolutely must be free and equal". Efforts and organization related to education were carried out on the basis of this mentality. In Kurdistan in particular, when organizational efforts were carried out initially, an attempt was made to construct theoretical values with these small ideological groups. In general, study groups were formed among the women. Education was given on subjects like the history of Kurdistan, socialism, guerilla struggles, and the role of women in socialist literature. Of course, there were many problems that arose that were related to the feudalist mindset of the time. Because there were no good sources, because women couldn't go out alone, because women's existence in society was not well recognized by men, this situation arose. These women's study groups advanced a meaningful mentality and knowledge of the world and history to a certain extent. Many women joined in this mentality, from mothers to young women and married women, joined in this active work.
Sakine Cansiz's role was very important in this phase. Likewise, most of the female comrades who joined the group and fell martyr were students and teachers and very well educated. Female comrades like Turkan Derin, Sakine Kirmiztaş, Saime Askin, Azime Demirtaş, and Bese Anuş made great efforts. Martyr Sakine Cansiz played an active and pioneering role in spreading her love of freedom to others. She was popular with women and tried to educate and organize them.
In regards to women, the only advanced developments at this time happened in the camps of Lebanon and Palestine, as well as in some meeting houses in Syria. In order to strengthen and continue itself in the face of the crushing blow of 12th September, the movement of the struggle for freedom returned to the Middle East and carried out co-educational ideological, military and political education. These women, who numbered no more than 25, participated in all of these educations. We can't speak to the existence of a women's educational system and independent organization at that time, but we can say that there were independent educational efforts for women. There was an administrative group from the limited number of women.
Abdullah Ocalan constantly joined in dialogue with these women's groups, and encouraged research on women's issues. He particularly wanted to develop an analytic-style group. That is, he put more emphasis on women's discussion groups. This led to a positive approach in regards to the development of a female mentality. This gave a positive face to the struggle against the illiteracy forced on women for thousands of years. It also gave women a place among the dominance of men in every scientific, philosophical, cultural, economic and military field. This opportunity which was advanced in every field was eventually completed in every field.
Another aspect of this time that must be clarified is the powerful and relentless pursuit of self-education for all female prisoners under Sakine Cansiz's leadership against the enemy's most barbaric attacks, in Amed Prison in particular. In conditions where they had no educational materials, connection to the outside world, or updated information, as women they shared and discussed the things they knew. They worked with existing resources and created their own opportunities for self-education. This was very important. One can understand education as a philosophy. Though in its essence, it is a result of the philosophy of life. Here it was again understood through education, self knowledge became the power of resistance against every kind of sexist and authoritarian attack. In Amed Prison at this time, they never surrendered, and took the approach of "whatever happens, we will educate ourselves." The pioneer of this approach was Martyr Sakine Cansiz. In this educational phase in which illiterate people learned to read and write to the level of political discussion, discussions about the history of the world, the region, Kurdistan, and women, whoever had knowledge of something would share it with others. This progressed until they published a magazine. In short, one can say that this period of education was the teaching of things they had learned in life and the sharing of those things in the hearts and minds of the female prisoners. This became a cornerstone for the struggle of women both inside and outside the prison. Thousands of women continued this tradition inside the prisons, and this continues to be an expression of the progress of the struggle for women's freedom.
Consequently one can define education carried out in country in this time as basic education in the understanding of the language of conflict, practical difficulties, how to stand against these as a woman, and how to resist and succeed at this struggle. This phase educated without mercy in the subjects of life, nature, and war and gave experience. Of course, this situation exists in every phase of every struggle. But the female comrades who were living through this phase for the first time. They had no experienced friends that they could ask or learn from. This was a time of learning everything from scratch. The female comrades who lived during this time were self-sufficient, collected and resistant, and this is something that can never be forgotten as historically important.
The principle of change and transformation, an important education during this historical period, was a principle of contemplation. In particular this principle, that was implemented in the 3rd Congress in 1986, took its place as a basic principle of both education and a life philosophy. With this principle, it is understood that awareness and self-knowledge begins with this contemplation, and with knowledge of the self one can know the world, life, society, and the sexes. One can even come to know the enemy that one is struggling against very well. People acquire this through life and experience. Actually, if no one ever leaves this small circle, they cannot survive or implement this principle. In other parts, we will discuss this a bit more openly.
Of course, in this time period, there have been years of discussions and dialogue on the positive and negative outcomes of the independent fields of women's studies. It has developed so that each phase is prepared on the background of the phase which came before it, and each phase completes one another and is tied to one another. In particular, the independent discussions of Abdullah Ocalan and his dialogues with female comrades allow this to continue to all future times and generations. Truly, this is an important point. Because women have always resisted fiercely throughout history, but this resistance, survival, and awareness and/or the efforts of organized struggle cannot be completely satisfied by education. It has been very limited thus far. It has always been open to separation, isolation, and weakness. However, with education, the expression of every mentality and experience opens many subjects and becomes a basis for growth, development, and empowerment...
To Be Continued...