Foreign Policy Blogs

Liberation in the Shadows

Liberation in the Shadows

In the forests of Ukraine where fighting has been occurring for most of 2022 and likely for years to come, a tradition of resistance took shape during the Second World War. Many of those fighting against the Nazi Occupation of the region during the Second World War were
Women, Partisans and Patriots to their communities. While many were refugees from local towns, they still participated in the functions of Partisan fighting by serving as teachers, nurses and some in combat roles as well. Despite their contribution, there is little discussion of the women who fight in hot conflicts even today, and even less support from their Allies from abroad it seems in the 2020s.

The evolving human rights atrocity that was the abandonment of Afghanistan lead to women in the country being the main target of the Taliban. The silence surrounding Afghanistan’s tragedy has only been matched by the audacity of those trying to hide the shameful response to their abandoned allies, many now being killed for being a voice for women in their community. Canada has gone the extra mile, bringing only a fraction of those as refugees designated, most who were already outside of the country, and now issuing a Plaque in commemoration of the evacuation job barely taken in helping their Afghan allies. One of those who were supposed to be helped was killed recently waiting for that help, a story given in the same breathe as their congratulatory Plaque. Most other Afghan allies have not done much better, but they at least do not have to audacity in failure to congratulate themselves with an official Plaque.

When women in Iran saw how their cousins for freedom in Afghanistan had been abandoned, they realised that the brutal death of a Kurdish woman is a sign that all women and their families could eventually be subjected to a similar level of brutality and silence. This brutality would likely garner little attention from outside of the region, and for the most part the importance of their movement had been given limited attention in Western media since. It seems as if financial interests with Iran’s current government is prohibiting Western governments in labelling elements of Iran’s government as being outside of the international order, even when they were responsible for shooting down an airliner filled with Canadian citizens as recently as 2020. Canada’s own actions seem to be excessively muted, giving little attention to the families and victims of Ukrainian Air Flight 752, even relinquishing their role as effective representatives in International Law for their own citizens. Countries have the obligation to speak for their people as they are the only parties able to represent their citizens in International Law. Private individuals have no ability to represent themselves in an International Law proceeding, so any country ignoring their obligation to effective and real representation for their people is violating of their rights. The Canadian Government repeatedly told them to seek justice in Ukraine, taking no actions when Kyiv itself was attacked in 2022 and legal assistance from Ukraine became difficult.

There was much media attention given to Kurdish women fighters who helped beat back ISIS from conquering Kurdish territories when they helped save many Yazidi women from becoming brutalised under the ISIS regime. Since Masha Amini was murdered, an Iranian national with Kurdish ethnicity, and the motive covered up by Iran’s Government, there has been a concerted effort to attack Kurdish forces in Iran and Northern Iraq by Iran’s military. Much of these actions have been met with silence by Western media, despite the worldwide protests against Iran, Kurdish leadership in ending ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and the US and Iran being allies of the Kurdish forces in their fight for survival against ISIS. Weapons being used to terrorise civilians in Ukraine that come from Iran are being used against the Kurds. When a limited supply of armaments from the US are used to defend Kurdish communities, a threat was made against supporters defending the Kurds as well. To their credit, the protest movement in Iran had large rallies with the Kurdish community in Iran, but with little support from outside, the protests in Iran must succeed in order to save their own society from a dark future. This success will likely have a massive effect on communities in Kurdish regions and Afghanistan as well, especially for women and their freedoms. Those moments in history are the ones that earn their place in history, and are rightfully accompanied by a Plaque.



Richard Basas

Richard Basas, a Canadian Masters Level Law student educated in Spain, England, and Canada (U of London MA 2003 LL.M., 2007), has worked researching for CSIS and as a Reporter for the Latin America Advisor. He went on to study his MA in Latin American Political Economy in London with the University of London and LSE. Subsequently, Rich followed his career into Law focusing mostly on International Commerce and EU-Americas issues. He has worked for many commercial and legal organisations as well as within the Refugee Protection Community in Toronto, Canada, representing detained non-status indivduals residing in Canada. Rich will go on to study his PhD in International Law.

Areas of Focus:
Law; Economics and Commerce; Americas; Europe; Refugees; Immigration