Following up the Bob Crowe Brigade Repeal the 8th solidarity images

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Last week we were blown away by the amazing level of solidarity that was offered to those of us who are working tremendously hard to introduce free, safe, legal abortion in Ireland when a photo emerged on twitter of two members of the International Freedom Battalion in Rojava next to a sign that said “Ní saoirse go saoirse na mban” (Until the women are free none are free) and “Repeal the 8th”.

The image went viral and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive with many people tying in that no one struggle exists in isolation from the other, reinforcing the importance of international solidarity in trying to create a new world.

The expected “terrorist abortionists with guns” narrative occurred of course but on such a low level that it isn’t worth examining any further than this.

Disappointingly, there were some who seemed hell bent on proving that this image was a fake. Attempts were made to undermine the agency of the women in the photograph by claiming that they couldn’t possibly know what the sign said (despite the fact that slogans in other languages can be explained to people especially people as intelligent as those in the photo) and that they would never agree to the photo if they understood the sentiment of the sign (again, despite the fact that these comrades are extremely well versed in feminism and jineology – the Kurdish theory of women’s liberation).

We decided the best course of action was to get in touch with the Bob Crow Brigade who brought us the images of solidarity with the Repeal campaign and the Dublin Bus Strike as well as show off some more of the pictures sent to us.

They told us that a number of Irish republicans have been fighting in Rojava already. One member of the Bob Crow Brigade is a fluent Gaelgeoir and was discovered as such by a Kurdish woman giving the jineology training. When she found this out, she said that he must fight to defend his language, and he was inspired by this to take all his notes in the training centre (Kurdish history, language, jineology etc.) in Gaeilge rather than English. Making him possibly the only owner of a Kurmanci to Gaeilge phrasebook.

The two women in the #repealthe8th photo are fighting with the International Freedom Battalion, but are not European or American, and are aged 21 and 23. What is particularly salient about the Kurdish-Irish solidarity is that, along with defending and promoting the language, Kurdish women have also been fighting against fundamentalist religious patriarchy oppression, albeit in different circumstances.

A member of the Bob Crow Brigade described it thus:
"Across the world women are denied sovereignty over their bodies and across the world the only option is to fight with all our strength. Women of the International Freedom Battalion fighting patriarchal religious misogyny in Syria salute the courageous action of our sisters in Ireland fighting the same enemy. By oppressing women they have created an insurgent army in every home. Victory is inevitable."

The Bob Crow Brigade have been strengthened by the solidarity they have received from Irish people responding to their tweets. The Brigade is made up of members from Britain and Ireland, and all are socialists and republicans, as can probably be surmised by the starry plough in the bus strike tweet.

We should offer them solidarity whenever we can. Remember to follow them on twitter at @BobCrowBrigade to keep up to date with their struggle.

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