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decorDistasteful comparison with Warsaw events of 1st August 1944

ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Étienne Balibar : « Pour les résistants de Kobané »

by Etienne Balibar

In favour of the Kobane resistance-fighters

Translated Tuesday 28 October 2014, by Anne Sanders

While the situation is evolving by the hour, it would seem that it may be possible to avoid the worst-case scenario: a repetition of Warsaw, crushed by the Nazis, under the very eyes of the Red Army, who were waiting until the dirty work was done for them [1]. The Americans are eventually co-ordinating with the ground forces and even Turkey seems to have been obliged to partially open the border, allowing the arrival of reinforcements. Let us hope that the town can be saved, thus halting the IS (Islamic state) advance. In the small space at my disposal, and with the information I have, I would like to underline two points. On the one hand, across and on both sides of the border, forms of solidarity are developing, in self-management and self-determination, which give the resistance movement not only the importance of a nationalist struggle but one of an experiment in democracy. This is a break with the traditions of the PKK (the Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and of the PYD (the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Unity Party) to whom western governments always devote the majority of their commentaries. Secondly, this resistance is beginning to strike a chord throughout the region, from Iranian students through to Turkish Kurdish women’s groups. This means that crucial things are about to happen in Kobane. A politics of civil rights, which seeks to prevent the whole region from heading towards the extremism for which so many massacres and interventions have provided the perfect conditions. And stakeholders who are a threat to tyranny, fanaticism, populism and imperialism. This is a faint hope but it is a vital one.

[1In a comment on the present article, in his blog,, under the title "Distasteful comparison with Warsaw events of 1st August 1944", Hervé Fuyet takes issue with Étienne Balibar’s claim that the Red Army waited for the Polish resistance to be crushed by the German army, and with the slur on those Kurdish political movements that are not to Mr. Balibar’s taste.

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