It is said that death at the hands of a woman prevents a martyr from entering paradise!
Approximately one third of all Kurdish fighters in Rojava (Western Kurdistan) are women. Unafraid of death and fulfilled by a passion for their homeland and love for their families and people, these women muster up the courage to face the heavily armed IS in Syria. Their most recent victories includes the recapturing of the City of Kobane in northern Syria from IS earlier this year as wellas rescuing the Yezidi people in Sindscha City from genocide. At home, they are celebrated as heroes. Because the Women’s liberation movement is deeply rooted in the ideology of the PKK-movement, there are about 2000 women aged 15-45 years old who have joined the female political party. PKK founder Abdullah Öcalan stated that “The land cannot be free when woman are not free” and that, for him, the freedom of women is more important than the freedom of the homeland.
The barbaric persecution of women by IS is systematically and ideologically grounded. IS stands for an ideologicalworld view according to which women are seen as inhumane beings without rights and freedom. IS has kidnapped hundreds of Kurdish Yazidi women in Sindscha and sold them as sex slaves on markets, raped, and even beheaded them. It is in this context that IS approves the most direct, extreme, and crass forms of patriarchy, sexism, and feudalism.
Who? Sonja Hamad
Docking February 6 - 26
Working on »Jin – Jiyan – Azadi« Women, Life, Freedom
About female Kurdish freedom fighters
The documentary photographer Sonja Hamad was born in 1986 in Damascus, Syria, to Kurdish Yazidi parents. At the age of three, the family flew to Germany due to political reasons.
In 2013 she started the project “Jin, Jian, Azadi – Women, Life, Freedom – which was explicitly intended to be political. Based of contacts stemming from her portrait-project and aided by a scholarship from the VG Bildkunst, she was able to start her documentary in Northern Iraq in March 2015 followed by a trip to the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) in Northern Syria, a second stay in September 2015 and a third journey at the end of November 2016.
Founder & director at Photocaptionist
"IS’s persecution of women is a known fact. They are considered inhumane beings without rights and freedom, IS kidnapped many of them, sold them as sex slaves on markets, raped them, and even beheaded them. But what do we know about female Kurdish fighters?
Sonja Hamad’s project is necessary. As simple as that. As a Syria born Kurd, based in Germany, she managed to establish strong relationships with female Kurdish fighters in Rojava (Western Kurdistan). Their common cultural background allowed her to immerse in aspects of their lives never touched upon before and to gather impressions of their living conditions, in all their complexities and individualities. Unafraid of death and fulfilled by their passion for their homeland and their love for their families and people, these women muster up the courage to face the heavily armed IS in Syria. Hamad’s incredible portraits and cityscapes document the living environment of these women and the war sites.
The first project to be entirely devoted to the female Kurdish freedom fighters of the YPJ, as well as the Kurdish guerillas, it reveals their brave and powerful refusal to succumb."