Academicians’ Statement of Solidarity and Call for Action to Support Kobani
The humanitarian crisis caused by the Islamic State (IS) continues to terrorize and displace hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East. The autonomous canton of Kobani is now bearing the brunt of the IS’s attacks as the international community has mostly been watching. The city has been under siege for three weeks. Despite fierce resistance by the defenders of the town, the advance of the IS forces towards Kobani is threatening to set off another massacre similar to that of Shengal. As scholars working on issues related to the Kurds and other peoples of Kurdistan, we are profoundly concerned about yet another imminent humanitarian crisis and stand in solidarity with the people of Kobani. We urgently call on the coalition forces against the IS and the broader international community to take immediate action to prevent an impending disaster by supporting the Kurds in their fight for self-defense.
We view the situation in Kobani as one of self-defense against the military aggression of the IS, notorious for its macabre forms of violence against ethnic and religious minorities. The defenders of the city of Kobani have repeatedly and desperately tried to bring their predicament to the attention of the world community and called for more focused and effective air strikes against IS targets around Kobani in coordination with the political authorities and resistance fighters of Rojava (Western Kurdistan). They are once again asking for diplomatic and political recognition, weapons of self-defense, and humanitarian aid to protect themselves against the relentless onslaught of IS. They are too ill-equipped to be able to fend off the most advanced American and Russian arsenals used by the IS. If global support is not provided immediately, they may not be able to withstand the IS’s incessant bombardments; tomorrow may be too late.
We fully support Kobani’s demands and spirit of self-defense and call on the international coalition forces and the broader international community to support Kobani immediately. In expressing our solidarity, we need to stress the fact this statement is not a call for any military aggression or occupation, including that of the Turkish military. We encourage the Turkish government to negotiate with the Kurdish representatives in good faith to ensure the ongoing peace process, which holds much promise. As Kurdish political representatives of Rojava have repeatedly declared, if they are recognized as a legitimate authority and provided with the needed weaponry and other support, they are capable of driving away the threat of the IS.
Ultimately our appeal for extending the necessary support to Kobani has as much to do with the survival of a pluralistic city and its residents, as it has to do with the defense of freedom everywhere else.