Today marks the 24th anniversary of the martyrdom of the struggler Zainab Kenaji; the nom de guerre "Zilan" who carried out a self-sacrifice operation against the Turkish army on June 30, 1996.
On this occasion, we will highlight Kurdish and Arab women who carry out guerrilla operations against injustice, including the struggler Zainab Kenaji "Zilan", Arin Merkan, Avista Khabour, Revana Kobane, Hamida al-Taher, Sanaa Moheidaly, and hundreds of women who have registered heroic epics in the face of injustice.
Zainab Kenaji "Zilan"
Zainab Kenaji from Almali village in the region of "Malatya" in northern Kurdistan, born in 1972, from Mamurli clan.
She studied psychology at the University of Inunu in Malatya, and worked in the imaging and radiology department within the National Hospital in Malatya before joining the Kurdistan Liberation Movement.
The struggler was from a middle-income family, but her social structure was influenced by feudal traditions and bourgeois concepts, and she married a man who was with her in the university department itself.
The struggler's interest in the leftist thought and the Kurdish issue evolved when she was studying high school, and she deepened in matters of life during those years without adopting any political approach. During the university stage, her direction among leftist ideas clarified, and she began to tend to the approach of the Kurdistan Liberation Movement.
The combatant started in 1994 to participate in the frontal activities in Adana city for a year until she was arrested by the Turkish government in 1995, and in the same year, she joined the ranks of the Kurdistan Liberation Movement in Dêrsim.
The struggler Zilan says in her letter that she was able to get to know her personality from all sides, gained development, and she gained strength from the issue of morale, decision, will and decisiveness in many issues at the time.
The struggler Zilan, although she was a professional, did not accept to live a normal life and her homeland under the yoke of occupation. With the strength of belonging to national values, she was influenced by the ideology and philosophy of the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, especially his principles of women's freedom.
She paved the way for the struggle, leaving behind a fingerprint in the hearts of all the revolutionary women when she decided and implemented the first self-sacrifice operation against the Turkish state, to sow in the hearts of the occupiers of Kurdistan the terror of the free woman's will.
The fighter Zilan carried out her self-sacrifice operation which was the first of its kind in the history of the Feminist Revolutionary Movement in one of the centers of the Turkish state in the city center of Dêrsim in northern Kurdistan on June 30, 1996, a year after joining the Revolutionary Movement.
The self-sacrifice operation sowed fright and fear among the Turkish army, as 18 of them were killed and 21 got injured in the operation.
The operation of the struggler Zilan came as a response to the operation that targeted the leader Abdullah Ocalan at the hands of the Turkish intelligence which spent thousands of dollars and used tens of tons of explosive materials in an attempt to assassinate him in Damascus.
Since that day, the combatant Zilan has become a symbol of the redemptive woman, as she created historical developments and changes, and paved the way for the struggling women to march in the path of freedom. Furthermore, the name of the struggler Zilan has become everywhere and at all times.
Zainab Kenaji's message to the people and the leader
The struggler Zilan wrote, before carrying out her self-sacrifice operation, a paper letter in her handwriting, and sent it to the peoples and women of the world, to the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan.
That message has become a reference for the revolutionary women and the struggling people, and for every free and resistant woman.
The struggler wrote in the message: "My association, advocacy, and adherence to life is exemplary, so I want to be the owner of a great process and a life of great meaning. The national liberation struggle under the leadership of the leader Ocalan will reach victory soon, just as my oppressed people will take its proper place within family of humanity, I want to translate that into a great operation that is recorded in the immortals' record, and because I love humanity very much, I want to do such operation.
I call on all humanity, if you do not want to commit this crime against humanity, be in solidarity with the Kurdistan people and support it, cleanse your hearts and minds from the rust of imperialism that has degraded it, and listen to the call and failures of freedom for this people because there is brotherhood, human virtue and friendship in this voice."
Delara Kinj "Arin Merkan", and Revana Rojava
The women of northern and eastern Syria inherited the guerrilla approach of the struggler Zilan, and they did not hesitate to sacrifice in order to create a free and dignified life for all women and peoples of the region, and to build a bright future for their children.
Among the commando women is the Afrinian young Delara Kinj, "Arin Merkan" who adopted the struggle of Zilan in the redemption and sacrifice, and saved the women of the world from the brutality of ISIS mercenaries in 2014.
The fighter Arin was born in 1992 in the village of Husse "Merkan" of Mobata district in Afrin canton, and she joined the ranks of the Kurdistan Freedom Movement in 2007.
After the outbreak of the Rojava Revolution, July 19th, 2012, Arin and Revana joined the revolution, taking their place among the Women Protection Forces (YPJ) ranks, and with their personality based on the principle of women's freedom as their basis, they influenced their comrades and the women of the region.
In 2014, ISIS mercenaries took control of the Iraqi city of Mosul and Syrian al-Raqqa, surrounded Kobane district from 3 sides, and began launching separate attacks against it until September 15 came to launch the largest attack on it.
With ISIS mercenaries arriving at Meshta Nour Hill overlooking the city of Kobane on the 5th day of October 2014 and at the height of the clashes, as ISIS believed that it was the last day to enter the city, and after the mercenaries attempted to full control of Meshta Nour Hill, the fighter Arin Merkan who was fighting in one of the small groups on the hill headed towards a group of mercenaries to scatter it with her self-sacrifice operation.
As a result of the self-sacrifice operation, dozens of mercenaries were killed, and panic began to dominate them after they were sure that the city wall had turned into the fire of Arin and her companions, who saved Kobane from the mercenaries' brutality.
On the southern side of the village of Kolmet and a short distance from the place where the struggler Arin Merkan carried out her commando operation, the combatant Revana saved her wounded comrades and companions despite her injury as well, carried out a self-sacrifice operation, and thus managed to stop the mercenaries' attacks and advance.
Arin Merkan and Revana Kobane, with their heroic operations, managed to draw the world's attention to the resistance of Kobane, and to save the people from the danger of extermination, as they opened the eyes of the world to the extent of the threat posed by ISIS.
In the Resistance of the Age that was shown against the Turkish occupation in Afrin canton, the fighter Avista Khabour terrorized the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries with her self-sacrifice operation against the occupation army on January 27, 2018.
The fighter Zalloukh Hamo "Avista Khabour", born in 1998 in Aleppo, from Beleh village of Bulbul district in Afrin canton was the sister of 4 sisters and 3 brothers, and the elder among them.
The struggler Avista lived in Sheikh Maksoud neighborhood of Aleppo, and with the start of the Syrian crisis, her family was forced to flee to the governorate of Damascus, and because she grew up in an atmosphere of war and destruction, she lived a cruel and difficult childhood.
The struggler Avista got acquainted with the Women Protection Units after she returned from Damascus to her hometown in the village of Beleh in the district of Bulbul, and during that, she read the ideas of the leader Ocalan and the stories of resistance and redemption for the martyrs of the revolution.
From here, Avista's revolutionary spirit deepened more, and she rushed to join the ranks of Women Protection Units in 2014, finding in their ranks everything that was going on in her mind; ideas and answers to her questions, sought to prove herself by receiving intellectual and military trainings and became a fighter in the Anti-Terrorism Forces.
Avista was at the forefront of the fighters who resisted the attacks of the Turkish occupation on Afrin canton on January 20, 2018, and her front was proven in Janders region.
7 days after the attacks began, on January 27, the border village of Hamam in Janders region was subjected to the fiercest attacks by the Turkish occupation and its mercenaries, and during the strong clashes that took place between the People and Women Protection Units on one hand and the Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries on the other hand, the struggler Avista carried out a commando operation by detonating a hand grenade which destroyed a tank of the Turkish occupation's elements.
The struggler Avista reminded of the era of resistance when she confronted the Turkish occupation army and its mercenaries, and registered in the history the greatness of the commando woman that applies the saying "everything is sacrificed for the homeland."
In reverence and appreciation of the struggler Avista, the Martyrs' Families Council in Afrin canton established a shrine on January 31, 2018 in the name of the martyr "Avista Khabour," which hosted hundreds of martyrs of the Resistance of the Age; civilians and military members.
In a flagrant violation of human values and principles, on August 12 of the same year, the Turkish occupation army destroyed the Martyr Avista Khabour Shrine, located near the center of Afrin, with a bulldozer.
Arab women known in history as guerrillas
History attests to the greatness of women, their resistance and their rebellion against the mentality of oppression and tyranny practiced against peoples. There are epics of women within history books, how women led, managed and sacrificed themselves in order to create a free and democratic society.
Among the commando women, Hamida al-Taher, born in the city of al-Raqqa in 1968, was affiliated with the Youth Revolutionary Movements in Syria in 1981, and because she did not accept injustice and tyranny, she carried out a commando operation.
Sanaa Youssef Moheidaly, born in 1968 in Sidon, southern Lebanon, is known to be the first to conduct a commando operation in southern Lebanon.
There are hundreds of examples of Fedayeen women, among them Palestinian women such as Zakia Shamout, Dalal al-Maghribi, and many others.