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Iraq. Summer 2003. Nobody, except our driver, knows where we are heading to. After 800 kms of desert and crossing illegaly the kurdish frontline, we reach our destination, a mountain range at the border of Irak, Iran and Turkey. This is a strategic point controlled by the kurdish rebels of the PKK. Among them are 3000 women. They have founded their own army and live separated from the men.

We are the first Western crew to have filmed their lives.

In these war zones, which last several decades, women are more and more present. As a way to stop the madness of men, they step into the light, and transform themselves into human bombs or soldiers, very often in territories where their basic rights are ignored.

Strangely enough, very few people speak about these women. It is true that the image of martyr women wrapped in burkas or torn apart by the deaths of their kids is more convenient to us than those of women giving death.
When you start talking about Kurds, you quickly realise that you are alone. This is the case when you mention Turkey’s Kurds, as their war has been completely silenced by the media.

When there is a conflict, the bulk of images we see are those, mute, from CNN or other live news feeds. As if a man behind a camera should not take an engagement or have a position. As if the fact to film horrors was enough to redeem ourselves, as if this was an engagement. As if we were too scared to get caught in a propaganda machinery.

What’s the point of filming tanks, despaired faces, cities in ruins if you don’t know what’s inside the heart of men and women ready to defend their ideals ? What’s the point of filming this if you do not share their lot for the time of a report, if you do not get engaged yourself ?

I have decided to give these women a voice by seeking the humanity behind their kakis and kalashnikovs. I have filmed in emergency and depth, by living among those who are fighting.
In Kurdistan, as in the majority of battle zones, which have been ongoing for many years, women are making their presence increasingly felt. It is almost as if, in order to stop the murderous madness of man, they must today be in the front line, transforming themselves into human bombs or soldiers.

In 1996, the women joining up with the PKK guerrillas decide to form their own army, completely independent of the men’s army.
“The Women of Mount Ararat” retraces the life of a women’s “manga”, a base unit of the guerrilla army, made up of six women soldiers.

Constantly on the move, with no particular aim other than climbing the next mountain, they are on the lookout for the invisible enemy. Amidst military manoeuvres and everyday tasks, the intimate moments of these women’s lives are gradually revealed alongside their individual destinies. Here, where life is a question of survival, their human qualities transcend those of the soldier’s, liberating them from their state of male oppression in their society.

(Kurdish language with Danish subtitles)

Duration : 0:9:58

[youtube HCgM7jNiW2I]

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Filed under: Made Women

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