Peywendi is a project of solidarity with social movements in the Middle East. We produce a curated feed of news and analysis written by people who live there. We focus on the region surrounding Mesopotamia, including Kurdistan, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq.
Pêwendî ("pay-wen-dee") is a Kurmanji Kurdish word meaning connection or link. Our hope is that the project can serve as a bridge between those struggling for freedom and their would-be accomplices.
We aim to facilitate this connection by making English-language news from Kurdistan and broader Mesopotamia more accessible. We give priority to people from—and writing from—the region. These voices, we believe, are more important than those of political pundits or theorists.
Peywendi was inspired by the autonomy project in Rojava, a mostly Kurdish region of northern Syria. Early on in the Syrian Civil War, the region became an experiment in self-management, gender equity and alternative economy. It builds on some of the region’s traditional communal practices, as well as the works of a variety of anarcho-adjacent thinkers. Imperfect though the project may be, we believe engagement with actually-existing attempts at autonomy are critical to building it in our own communities.
Our guiding principle is that of critical solidarity. On one hand, like our compañeros in Chiapas, we are committed to the principle of mandar obedeciendo, or to ‘lead by obeying.’ As ‘Westerners,’ we strive to avoid projecting our expectations onto these struggles. Instead, our analyses must be informed by those movements and their actors. At the same time, we don’t want to romanticize the situation on the ground in Northern Syria or the surrounding regions. And we know that constructive critique makes room for productive tensions, and the opportunity to learn to do autonomy better. Peywendi is committed to striking this balance.
We aim to enact this principle by providing a platform for the diverse local perspectives that share our commitment against oppression. We hope to foster understanding of both the struggle they share and the tensions between them.
Peywendi operates from an anti-oppression, anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist framework.