Amuda coordination committee

20 July 2013

Soon after the uprising began in March 2011, a group of activists established the coordination committee of Amuda, a town in the Hasaka governorate in northeastern Syria. The town has a majority Kurdish and Assyrian population.  The committee seeks to fill a gap left by traditional Kurdish parties and catch up with the Syrian uprising. It combines political visions with field work, and links revolutionary activity to political action and media coverage of the demonstrations in Amuda.

The coordination committee identifies itself as an independent people´s group focused on peaceful resistance initiatives to serve the Syrian revolution in general and the Syrian and Kurdish people in particular. They demand the overthrow of the regime and they are committed to the opinion of the revolutionary majority, together with the views of independent Kurds, and Kurdish consensus.

Activist Mohammad Wali explained to Syrian Untold how the committee was in charge of organizing the first Amuda demonstrations on April 1, 2011. The town´s youth were eager to join the Syrian revolution, Wali assured, describing his city as the Kurdish equivalent to Kafranbel in terms of wit and creativity through street art, banners and messages.  "We consider signs a means to apply pressure, and they can become a very sophisticated way to protest".  One of their most well known banners shows a drawing mocking the Russian and Chinese position regarding Syria, with a message that reads "Buy old weapons and win a Veto!" They also have banners that mock corruption in the Syrian opposition.

After the withdrawal of the Syrian regime forces, the coordination committee of Amuda organized campaigns to clean the city, to spread the concept of civil society and the sense of responsibility. The youth also planted evergreen trees and started several campaigns concerning the role of women, as well as centers for the dissemination of the culture of civil society. Through a number of different workshops, they have also trained others in skills regarding the areas of transitional justice, negotiation, environmental issues and media management.

The Amuda committee joined the Avahi Coalition of the Syrian Revolution formed by all comittees of the majority Kurdish area, and is a member of the Syrian Revolution General Commission. It was one of the main organizers of a three-day sit-in held in the city of Amuda, protesting the dominance of the Democratic Union Party, which had arbitrarily arrested a youth group. “The Democratic Union Party is an obstacle standing in the face of all civil and peaceful activities in the absence of Syrian regime authority,” Wali said. “It interferes in everything, and uses force to hinder any activity beyond its authority."

The Amuda coordination committee has proven that nonviolent, civil work can be successful. On more than one occasion, the Syrian regime released detainees under the pressure of protests organized by the coordination. When asked about the happiest moments they remember, Wali answered: "The happiest moments for us were when the Syrian regime released civilians under protest pressure, and the most difficult moments were when the Democratic Union Party militias fired onto a nonviolent protest and killed six citizens of Amuda and injured dozens of others."

The Amuda coordination committee is a youth group that was born as a result of civil resistance in Syria. It combines and finds a balance between patriotism and nationalism in order to build a healthy society that welcomes all cultures and is free of tyranny. “We will not accept any tyranny, Arab or Kurdish,” Wali said.


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Illustation by Dima Nechawi Graphic Design by Hesham Asaad