Women have been struggling on a daily basis for equality and justice. They have been defying the impossible through daily practices of courage and defiance. Women in the MENA region are standing alone against all odds, surviving a deadly mixture of oppressive and patriarchal regimes, ISIS, occupation, war, violence, displacement and loss.
On this International Women’s Day, we are celebrating our differences as women in the MENA region. We call for more solidarity between organizations, collectives and individuals to face the increasing violence festering in our communities and countries. We’ve been witnessing increased state militarisation and a continuous politicization of religious and sectarian discourse, while spaces for accountability and reflection are becoming less and less possible.
As a collective, we are struggling everyday to make our work relevant and sustainable amidst these local, regional and global changes. On this day, we remember those who have fought similar struggles in the past, and we salute those who are keeping feminism alive with courage and steadfastness. We wish to honor their memory and work by acknowledging their contribution to our political presence and existence.
We salute our sisters from Syria, Palestine, Yemen and Egypt fighting and surviving under dire conditions. We salute the struggle of migrant domestic workers and of the sudanese displaced communities and are humbled by the lessons of perseverance and resilience they brought into our lives. We salute our Kurdish sisters and their sacrifices fighting ISIS from one side and the Turkish regime from the other. We salute our African American sisters as they carry the weight of racism on their backs, teaching us to speak everyday about what matters. We honor their work and we are inspired by the knowledge they produce that has made our journey less lonely. We salute our sisters in Latin America and their struggle to survive in their indigenous lands. They have taught us how to be faithful to our vision and ideas. We salute women in feminist movements and all movements for social justice around the world, particularly in the Global South.
Today, and more than ever, our feminist commitments thrive to build bridges that further connect and bring us closer to each other. Today, and more than ever, we have faith that with solidarity we are able to defeat the impossible; with solidarity our interconnected realities will transform and change for the better.
Sawt al Niswa collective
Beirut, 8 March 2016