Interview with female Photojournalist that photographed the Kurdish female fighters

SUMMARY: The YPJ (“Yuh-Pah-Jhay”) in Kurdish translates to ‘Women’s Protection Unit,’ and is an all-volunteer women’s military unit of 8000 women, from all over Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey. They emerged in 2011 to defend the Kurdish people in Syria and to support the larger Kurdish resistance movement, but now most of their efforts are towards fighting ISIS. Photojournalist Erin Trieb spent some time in 2014 photographing the YPJ and is interviewed about her experience and reflections on these female fighters. Trieb was one of the first western, female American photographers allowed to photograph the women of YPJ in August 2014, but now there is widespread interest in these women. It is notable that as a female journalist, Trieb was able to “connect with other women and cover topics that often cannot be photographed by [her] male colleagues.” This interview reveals both the mundane and extraordinary achievements of the female fighters, and as Trieb summarises;

     “The YPG and YPJ are changing the game. They are challenging cultural barriers, traditions and stereotypes of gender roles for Kurds. And somehow the Kurds are embracing it. YPJ soldiers will not marry or have kids. They sleep in the dirt, operate heavy weapons, fight alongside men, and kill ISIS militants — and they are revered by the Kurds.”

SOURCE: Anne Bailey, April 28 2015, ‘These women are taking the fight against ISIS into their own hands,’ PRI [Transcript] http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-04-28/these-women-are-taking-fight-against-isis-their-own-hands

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