Canadian Dilan Cudi: My story of joining the Kurdish Women’s Defense Units

  • July 13, 2017 | Articles

Written by: Dilan Cudi
My name is Dilan Cudi. I am from Canada and came to Rojava two years ago. Back home I had been seeing a video about the attack on Kobane in 2014. I could see the struggle of the people there and that the women were fighting, too. It influenced me, because I was convinced, that this war was not just a threat to the people in Kobane, but for the people all around the world. This and also the heroism done by the people there made me come here and join the YPJ fighting. I was really impressed about the case, when in the battle one female fighter stopped the tanks by blowing herself up. Her name was Arin Mirkan and when she did this, with ending her own life she could save the whole city and a lot of people's life. That was actually inspiring me.
Before I came, I actually didn't think about the dangers of war at all. I found it more dangerous to live a normal, unfulfilled life, getting a job, having a family and always be living in the patriarchal system. I felt the strong influence of patriarchy on every person's life and wanted to fight against that. To find a way to fight for something like this, something bigger than myself was and is more important than any fear that I could feel. There is so much in our western societies that we fear to do. Instead of all this fear we could also just get out of our houses and build something up.
By coming here I actually wanted to show to other people, that this is possible. I wanted to be brave, so I could be an example for other women. We are able to fight for one's right and this is what I want to do. Of course there are so many ways of doing this, it is not necessary to pick up a gun for everyone. Whatever structure it is, be it in the civil society, doing diplomatic activities or fighting on the frontline with our friends, that's all part of the same fight. But it is also necessary to fight with the gun to keep away the enemy that wants to kill us.
When I came here I was surprised about the common lifestyle in YPJ. In my life before I didn't know something like this, so it was completely foreign to me. I was not good at getting close to people and really build a relation. But here the good relation to each other and the friendship is everything. After a while I got used to the communal lifestyle. Ever since I could connect with people on a deeper level. This really brought up my courage, because we are strong together. Now I am not scared to get to know people anymore and that they get to know me.
What was also making me think a lot is, that people never ever think of themselves, but always about their friends. Even in the smallest things they will take care, that another person will be satisfied first. So for example, someone will not drink the tea until everyone has tea. This was also a totally new principle for me, but I find it very great and fascinating. But an obstacle, especially for a Canadian, is really the weather. It is very hot here in summer, so sometimes I was wondering if I could manage it. But also this depends on a strong will and after a time I just told myself, ok, I can do it and move, even though it's 50 degrees. And then it worked!