‘The Daughters of Kobani’ shows just what motivated women can do

By Ande Jacobson

In February 2021, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s groundbreaking book, The Daughters of Kobani, became available. This is an important book telling the story of the women of the Kurdish Militia, an all-female fighting force (the YPJ) that pushed back and took revenge on the men of ISIS to free Kobani and other Kurdish towns in northeastern Syria. They faced long odds and opposition from their families, the oppressive regime in their native Syria, and hostile neighboring nations. They showed that women are not only equal to men, they are a force to be taken seriously. Lemmon spent hundreds of hours on trips and interviews between 2017 and 2020. She spoke with a broad swath of militia members as well as with civilians just trying to survive in Syria and Iraq. She also talked with the American military advisors in country and with military and political functionaries in the U.S. about the challenges surrounding U.S. involvement. The U.S. was keenly aware of the dangers posed by ISIS to the region and to the world, so there was a vested interest in making this work. Continue reading