“For me it is essential to always move forward from the patriarchal culture of war to my feminist culture and vision of peace.
During the year 2020, we Mujeres de Negro (Women in Black) have expressed our opinion about various current topics that have seemed especially important to us. We want to say farewell to this year by giving a brief review of these topics and focusing on the future with renewed petitions.
We want to declare our commitment to Education for Peace, which seems totally relevant today, because we consider it essential to build a just society that will reduce inequalities, that will protect itself and that will offer nonviolent paths to deal with conflicts. It is fundamental for all people to develop these skills and to put these tools into practice, especially the young people, who are our future.
The feminist demands of 8 March 2020 came together surrounding a shout that continues to move us and we want it to not be left unheard:
WITH RIGHTS, WITHOUT BARRIERS, FEMINISTS WITHOUT BORDERS!
Neither do we tire of denouncing the corruption of militaristic language to deal with public health and social emergencies. In communication and beyond, forms and processes matter because they also contribute content to the message, directing our attention and selecting which aspects to highlight and which to hide. A pandemic is not a war.
The public health and social crisis unleashed by the rapid spread of Covid-19 has exposed our vulnerability and dependence. We need a society that puts life at its center and that opts for a policy of care-taking; that works towards a healthful environment and quality public services, especially in education and public health; that re-evaluates caretaking and endows this task with the prestige it deserves; that ceases to invest resources in activities that lead to the destruction of life, such as the military industry, so as to dedicate these resources to the care of people and the environment.
We refuse to collaborate with racism and xenophobia. We reject policies of hate and discrimination, and the institutional racism of exclusion and rejection of what is different. We do not want to leave anyone behind. We want to promote an active solidarity with the people who cross borders in search of refuge, considering them an integral part of our society. From the viewpoint of respect for human rights and through our nonviolent practices, we want to weave networks of women beyond frontiers, ethnicities and ideologies. Solidarity means to cross over and beyond barriers.
Our sisters of Women in Black of Armenia were going to receive us in the spring of 2020 in Yerevan for an International Gathering of Women in Black, a meeting which was canceled because of Covid-19. They had been concerned for several years and warning about the increase in military tension in the area and a new war began in September. We want to support and give voice to the youth, the committed and pacifist people, who seek new alternatives for a resolution of the conflict, both in Armenia and in Azerbaijan. We think that the present peace is still very far from being a truly peaceful, stable and just situation, so we continue asking for Peace in Southern Caucus.
The violence exercised against women happens not only in declared situations of armed conflict. It reaches all women in all situations, including their own home. According to the United Nations, violence against women has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The prevention and elimination of violence against women should be a social priority and, as such, should be included in plans for responding to emergencies. In addition, we send out a call to all women to rebel together against the violence that we find in our lives.
To better confront 2021, we wish for and need a society imbued with increased solidarity and empathy. For that reason, Mujeres de Negro, from our feminist and nonviolent point of view, request:
- That persons who occupy political positions prioritize the interests of the people over the interests of the political parties to which they belong and show respect for what is different.
- That persons who direct public institutions use funds for the common good, justifying and explaining their decisions and making their accounts public, because their work is directed not only toward those who voted for them but for all the people, and the resources they manage are not theirs but belong to the wholesociety.
- That the media and all those who have high visibility in the media, especially political representatives, cease to contribute to social polarization and commit to not lying to us or manipulating the language.
- That we not allow ourselves to be polarized; that we refuse to form enemies.
- That we nurture the initiatives for peace that propose reduction of military expenditures and repressive military strategies in order to dedicate more resources to cover social needs and to build a solid and inclusive harmonious life together.
- That we place care-givers at the center, because they sustain our lives.
- That we cease mistreating the planet so we can continue to live in it for several more generations.
As our colleague Annelise Ebbe of Women in Black of Denmark says:
For us, it is essential to always move forward from the patriarchal culture of war, towards a feminist culture and a vision of peace.
Mujeres de Negro, Madrid, 3 January 2021. Translation: Trisha Novak, USA