New World Summit—Rojava, part I
16-17 Oct. 2015, Dêrik, Canton Cizîrê, Rojava
Sana Soleman Elmansouri
World Amazigh Congress
In the work of revolutionaries Öcalan and Cansiz, the concept of “self-defense” is crucial. This does not just refer to the right to armed struggle in response to military campaigns against Kurdish peoples, such as are perpetrated by the Turkish regime. In relation to the women’s movement for example, self-defense also refers to the need to self-organize and self-educate to gain independence and women and an equal position in society. Self-defense is both about the mentality and the physical right to protect oneself.
The Amazigh inhabit a vast territory in North Africa which stretches from the Oasis of Siwa in Egypt, through Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, the Canary Islands and the Sahara desert to the north of Niger, Mali, and Burkina-Faso. Amazighism is a political-cultural movement of ethnic, geographic, or cultural nationalism, started mainly in Kabylia, Algeria, and in Morocco and later spread to the rest of Amazigh countries in North Africa. In northern Mali, the Amazigh dominated Coordination of Azawadian Movements established the de-facto independent state Azawad in 2012. In post-Ghadda Libya the Amazigh fight for greater inclusion within the Libyan state, but they have been threatened severely by the larger nationalist party as well as radical Islamist militants. As an international organization the World Amazigh Congress aims to protect and promote awareness of the repression of Amazigh people’s identity and culture across North Africa.
Sana Soleman Elmansouri is a representative of the World Amazigh Congress, Amazigh activist, journalist and television presenter, well known to be the first Amazigh television presenter in Libya and the first to present programs in the Amazigh language. She is an advocate for Amazigh and women’s rights in Libya and internationally. During the Libyan uprising in 2011 she presented “Libya, Al Nass’ (Libya, the People).
The New World Summit: Rojava, part I took place in the cultural centre Tev-Cand in Dêrik, canton Cizîrê, Rojava on 16-17 October 2015. The summit was chaired by Judy Osse. Sana Soleman Elmansouri's lecture was translated by Berfîn Osman.