Komala, support and resist

In Kurdish, Komala means society. Since its creation in 1969, this political movement is known as Komalay Shorshgeri Zahmatkeshani Kurdistani Iran. Significantly involved in the complex and bloody history of Iran with its Kurdish Province known as Rojhilatê Kurdistanê or Rojhelat, the movement has been successively resisting to the authoritarian regime of the chah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, leading guerrillas and insurgencies against the Islamic regime, caught in the crossfire during the Iran-Iraq war, plunged into quarrels between Kurdish parties and lately engaged in the fight against Daesh. Despite many sacrifices and massacres, the Iranian Kurds – including the Komala – rarely receive international media attention or any form of recognition in their struggle to exist freely.

During these years of resistance, rebellion and fights, the Komala’s never lost their focus on supporting oppressed people, workers and students of Iran and, in particular, on defending the rights of the Kurdish minority, the rights of women and human rights in general. From a Marxist-Leninist inspiration, the movement evolved into a social-democrat ideology, advocating for a federal and democratic Iran where every group would have access to the same opportunities and the same rights. It also retains a singular emphasis on gender equality with women occupying important positions in the party and reaching all ranks and military functions within their peshmerga army.

As the situation deteriorates in Iran with a socio-economical collapse and especially since the largest outbreaks of public dissent in the history of the Islamic republic last November 2019, many young women and men are leaving their country to join the movement. After extensive training for three months in their military compounds in Iraqi Kurdistan, they become peshmerga and are sent on missions in Iran to support the underground network of activists, distribute uncensored news to people who have no access to it and extract dissidents or citizens threatened or sentenced to death. The Komala is also very active on social media and media, managing their own radio and TV channel.

All these young exiles and future peshmerga have known directly or indirectly arbitrary imprisonment, torture, discrimination, night roundup and the hanging of men and women in public places whose only offense was their opposition to the regime – and being a Kurd.

Fixer: Kayvan Sharifi, Omid Taheri, Elin Aslani, Sroosh Ovaisi, Sherko Hawrami

(ongoing project)