Independent, “I fought with the YPG and I’m upset by the patronising reaction to Anna Campbell’s death”

I have been called a ‘psycho’ and accused of having a death wish, but I have never been told that, like Anna who fought for the YPJ, my actions were naive.

Last week, 26-year-old Anna Campbell was killed in Rojava, Syria, by advancing Turkish troops or their allied forces. She is the first British woman to die fighting for the YPJ; a feminist, all-woman army established by Kurds in Northern Syria which helped defeat Isis in Kobane, Manbij and Raqqa.

Before arriving in Syria she had been an animal rights, migrant rights and environmental activist. It is no wonder that she was drawn to the Rojava revolution – since gaining autonomy in 2012 from Syria this region has espoused a broad programme of ecology, direct democracy, feminism and anti-capitalism. It was for these very reasons that, like Anna, I joined the YPG (the YPJ’s male equivalent).

Anna and I were involved with the Movement for a Democratic Society (known as Tev-Dem), a coalition of groups governing Rojava. Through a complex system of “communes”, Tev-Dem offers simple solutions to ethnic and gender oppression. Rather than be victims of majority voting, ethnic and religious minorities have guaranteed representation in the local communes: 100 Syriac Christians have as much say as 1000 Sunni Arabs, for instance.

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