A revolution by and for women


Hanna Bohman left her home in Canada to fight on the front lines against ISIS in Syria in 2015.

How did someone with no military experience go from working in sales in Canada to joining the fight against ISIS in the Middle East? Bohman revealed to “Salon Talks” what first motivated her to join the battlefields of Syria with YPJ, an acronym whose translation means “Women’s Protection Units.” “You could call it perhaps a mid-life crisis. I was bored with my life. I felt like I hadn’t done anything important,” Bohman said. “I’d always wanted to pay my good fortune forward and I just happened to have the time off and the money. I really identified with the Kurdish revolution, especially the YPJ.”

For Bohman, she felt a close connection to how ISIS was affecting women in the region. “The women of the YPJ fighting for women’s rights in the Middle East and trying to create a secular democratic egalitarian society, I thought these are all good things and I really identified with it and it really just felt right for me it was like a calling.”

The documentary “Fear Us Women,” executive produced by Olivia Wilde, revolves around Bohman’s incredible story and YPJ’s struggle to take down ISIS and bring women’s liberation to the Middle East. The film follows Bohman over three years of tense firefights as well as the community building that the YPJ is trying to implement in the region.

Bohman told Salon about the political revolution by women and for women they’re trying to inspire. “What they’re trying to do is create a bottom up democracy, get rid of the dictatorship’s and the warlords and all the gangsters that are there,” she said. “It’s bottom up democracy where everything is done by a local committee and every committee is co-chaired by a man and a woman. Every committee must be made up of at least 40 percent women and if it’s a women’s only issue the men have no say in it.”

Watch the interview above to hear more about Bohman’s selfless journey into one of the world's most dangerous battlefields and how the YPJ is trying to liberate, protect shape a future for women in the Middle East.

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