The Rojava Revolution and Uncritical, White, Orientalist Leftist Solidarity Movements

Uncritical, white, Orientalist, western leftist solidarity with liberation movements from colonized societies is deeply problematic and will continue to impose further oppression on us so long as it fails to see race, and race related issues, as a deciding factor in the distribution of access to power, privilege and the truth. If your critique of capitalism is lacking in an at least basic awareness of the Othering, the dehumanizing process which occur as a result of the prevalence of the systematic Orientalist approaches towards colonized people from the West then your analysis is not for me, not for my people, not for our liberation. Instead, uncritical, white, Orientalist, western leftist solidarity with liberation movements from colonized societies like the Kurds demands selective appropriation, and erasing of race, ethnicity and religion based violence and appropriates the complex, manifold violence experienced by People of Color (PoC) under the umbrella of ‘state’ or ‘class’ oppression. Yes, the systematization of Capitalist inequalities was solidified under the establishment of the state-centric international system. But critiquing ‘State’, ‘Class’ or even ‘Gender’ as core manufacturers of collective and global inequalities is inadequate and insufficient in understanding the specific conditions of colonized people. Without the inclusiveness of the intersectionality of the ‘race’ factor the analysis, approach, comprehension and solidarity the left in the West displays is simply another means of producing other forms of benevolent and benign oppression on already heavily oppressed societies. When you fail to address the race based issues colonized people face then you also fail to recognize, address and do the work necessary to remove problematic and Orientalising behaviors on your own part.

For this reason, uncritical, white, western leftist solidarity with liberation movements from colonized societies is deeply, ideologically problematic and oppressive because it demands subservience; it is inherently racist. It demands subservience to the experiences of relatively privileged people whose experiences while containing some violence, are comparative to colonized brown and black communities is marginal. Your experiences of class oppression and of being poor in western suburbs in London, New York or Sydney does not equate to mine and my people’s oppression as a result of our Kurdishness. Class oppression are deeply violent; but the violence increases manifold when you add gender, race and religion into the identity mix; and even more problematic when solidarity fails to realise this toxic cocktail. So, no. You are not as oppressed as a poor, black, trans woman refugee escaping armed conflict in Nigeria or Cameroon. No, your class oppression does not mean that you “understand” what it feels like to be a Tamil, a Kurdish or Palestinian woman who is made homeless and stateless, and still experience extensive gender based violence.

So to uncritical, white, Orientalist, western leftist solidarity movements: because you did not inherit the specific colonial, imperial, capitalist, historical, race, religion and gender based violence that we have experienced as PoC it means you need to sit yourself down and stop appropriating, critiquing and delegitimizing the trajectory of our revolutions, especially in the name of intellectual and academic curiosity because what you deem as curiosity is the cause of the genocides and the daily erasing and cleansing of our ancient and proud identities. The capacity to speak, to speak the truth of our reality, to define and redefine our existence, how we understand and formulate the discourses around the oppression we experience, to define the boundaries and extent of our revolution and liberation is also our inheritance. This is not your cause to appropriate. This is not your people to infantilize, Orientalize, further marginalize, exoticize. The erasure of the Orientalization of our people, our cause, and our movements however contradictory and opposing they may seem to you, is a non negotiable demand here. Our right to point out your racism towards us is a non negotiable aspect of this inherently unequal relationship. Your resulting hurt feelings is, I assure you, the least of our concerns.

Hawzhin Azeez

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *