Sassoon’s Revolutionary Women- Shakeh of Shenig

Shakeh, come from the house of the revolutionary leader Kurko, led a women’s battalion in 1891, decimating Kurdish armed forces that threatened the Armenian settlements. In 1894, She brought military aid around Antioch and was known to smuggle ammunition and artillery, alongside amassing large stores of food to support the revolutionary groups and nearby villages.

June of 1894 saw vicious battles, during which time Shakeh and her women of Shenig adopted the motto of “Freedom or death” as they fought bravely, even while reduced to using rocks and daggers. When the malnourished and fatigued men fell, it was the women who took their places, rolling boulders down the mountains and creating such chaos that the enemy’s numbers dwindled considerably. However, the men required ammunition and resources and the women were left to hold their positions. Unfortunately the situation was dire and while the women fought off the Kurdish and Turkish hordes for over a day, they had a choice to make. Shakeh is known to have stood on top of the mountain and aimed her words to her sisters in arms- “Women of Sassoon! It falls on you to make the choice- Is it better to fall slave to the Kurds, be defiled by the hands of the enemy, forever lost to your own people, or follow my example?” As she said these words, wearing the smile of a proud martyr and holding her son to her breast, Shakeh threw herself into the unending chasm over the cliff. The owmen all followed her example, preferring to die an honourable death than live their lives in misery, slave to Muslim invading forces.

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