call for Take Back the Night organizing

from a member of GAD Committee Romania:

Hello, my name is Megan Hopper and I am a volunteer in Group 24. A few of us in my group were interested in organizing a Take Back the Night event that could be held throughout Romania on one night. If anyone is interested in helping organize this even or has any ideas, please email me at mhopper83 [at] hotmail [dot] com.


violence at bosnian gay pride

“Historic Pride Event in Sarajevo Canceled” @ WOC PhD

It took only one night of violence at the historic Gay Pride Festival in Sarajevo for the events weekend long schedule to be shutdown.

(Organization Q Awareness Graffiti 2007)

250 people attended the opening night event yesterday to celebrate queer sexualities and equality. 70 men stood outside the event throwing rocks and yelling homophobic slurs. A small group of these were Muslim chanting about offense on Ramadan, while 12 others came from the anti-gay group Horde of Evil. The latter yelled “death to gays” and smashed the window of the Sarajevo Academy of Art while throwing rocks at art exhibit windows.

Although the event was heavily policed, and officers were able to push back protesters the violence did not end there. Several people returned at the end of the night to beat up attendees as the left. Some were even dragged from their cars. At least 10 people were seriously injured by night’s end.

5 men face charges. That is less than 10% of the total protesters involved in homophobic verbal assaults and an untold percentage of those involved in the physical violence later.

The message, which began with posters saying “Death to Gays” and escalated through the Muslim Imams and then across religious and secular political parties, including acting members of the government, condemning the event, was clear: constitution or not, the queer community is not safe in Sarajevo. This sentiment backs up an earlier study of queer life in the post-conflict region that said gay people were being actively harassed and beaten and/or feared for their lives at night on the streets in parts of the region.

Svetlana Djurkovic, a member of one of the NGOs who planned the event, announced that it would be canceled. She had initially hoped the event would highlight human rights and encourage people to think of what they have already survived because of intolerance and make the connection to why homophobia is equally unacceptable.

see earlier news: “Death Threats in Sarajevo on Eve of Pride” also on WOC PhD

and a “Report from Queer Sarajevo opening”

sarajevofest.jpg On September 24th, the first Queer Sarajevo Festival was opened.
The opening started with a magnificent exhibition at the Academy of Arts. The turnout was great, it was so genuine and touching at the same time.
There were more than 300 people at the opening, and their sexual orientation was of no relevance, as well as their religion or their sex and gender. The most important thing was that they were there to support a great event, a fabulous festival, wonderful people. Art, joy, life, freedom…

However, the reality was not very bright. In front of the Academy, just before the very opening, a group of aggressive religious extremists started gathering. There were about 150 of them, holding stones, some of them with knives, even guns.
Seven activists and visitors of the festival , as well as one policeman have been injured. These people have been brutally attacked and have suffered severe injuries.
These groups of extremists were following people to their cars, pulling them out, kicking and hitting them. They also pulled one of the taxi drivers out of his car, told him to back off and started kicking the people in the car. They hit a young man so hard that they broke his nose and continued kicking him him with a gun, after which the man lost consciousness.
Few more people were attacked and suffered head injures. One man suffered internal bleeding.
The police has registered the festival as an event with a high level of risk, but unfortunately have not treated it as such. The police have allowed 100 to 150 football hooligans and religious fundamentalists to push their way through to the very enterance of the Academy. Then, the private security guards had to deal with the situation and the extremists.
The police didn’t even care to disperse the crowd and the gathering which had not been previously announced. This is a great failure of the police.

Again there was not only a failure to grasp who the endangered party was, but the violence was also allowed and supported.
The great responsibilty of the police and the institutions that have not reacted timely and properly, allowing football hooligans and religious fundamentalists to gather will not be undermined. They claimed that thay couldn’t have stopped them due to the freedom of movement.

If this is the case, then why don’t queer people have the right to freedom of movement?

After QueerBeograd festival, where I have experienced the same example of intimidation and violence, where people have been brutally beaten up, here I am in Sarajevo at the first proud Queer festivalu and I am reliving the same story, where it is being said that a person who is beating me up has the right to walk freely and kill me. And I am being pushed into a room and victimised just for being a lesbian, a queer feminist and a proud activist.

Well, there will be no stopping, we will keep on living, rejoicing and fighting.

locuri comune ale tranzitiei/commonplaces of transition (video)

[en version]

de la dmedia:

“Locuri Comune ale Tranzitiei” e un proiect video realizat de D Media (Romania), in colaborare cu Ak-Kraak (Germania), Interspace (Bulgaria) si K:SAK (Moldova), care cauta sa reprezinte tranzitia dinauntru, spre deosebire de istoriile ei dominante, care o fac dinafara. Titlul exploateaza intelesul dublu pe care ‘locurile comune’ [commonplaces] il au in engleza: proiectul se concentreaza literal asupra locurilor sau spatiilor geografice ale tranzitiei si, in al doilea rand, examineaza ‘banalitatile’ sau lucrurile stiute ale tranzitiei, cu alte cuvinte acele reprezentari care populeaza taramul ideologiei. Intentia proiectului este aceea de a initia un dialog critic cu privire la semnificatia tranzitiei si a altor posibilitati care sa inlocuiasca simpla ‘ajungere din urma’ a pietei globale. Partenerii au produs 8 lucrari care exploreaza impactul tranzitiei asupra retrasarii frontierelor, transformarea caracterului muncii si diferitele forme de activism. Cele 3 filme produse de D Media [ro cu subtitrare en] sunt:

  • “In tranzit” este jurnalul unei calatorii prin spatiu si timp, alcatuit din impresiile subiective ale prezentului si amintirile copilariei trecute. Povestirea acestei calatorii prin Romania in anul intrarii sale in UE, mediteaza la sensul tranzitiei postcomuniste, la rescrierea istoriei si la relatia dintre imagini si memorie. 30 min, 2008.
  • “Vieti precare” monteaza imagini de arhiva infatisind munca femeilor in secolul trecut cu zece portrete de romance care muncesc din zilele noastre. Lucrarea polemizeaza cu discursul dominant despre precaritate si indiferenta acestuia la diferentele de sex si disparitatile economice intre tarile din lumea intaia si a treia a Europei. 43 min, 2008.
  • “Doua sau trei chestiuni despre activism” e un contradocumentar despre activismul din Romania care chestioneaza deosebirea dintre a face un film despre politica si a face unul in mod politic. In vreme ce diversii protagonisti isi discuta angajamentul militant, comentariul din fundal reflecteaza la motivatiile din culisele filmului. 73 min, 2008.

Pentru informatii suplimentare: jori [at] riseup [dot] net
Continue reading

despre decretei

recent, am reusit sa vad si eu filmul “decreteii”. din pacate nu se poate viziona nicaieri online, dar aici se gasesc un fragment din film si comentarii (in engleza) de la unul din doctorii intervievati in film.

eu nu ma asteptam ca documentarul sa fie atit de bine realizat… mai jos sint citeva opinii, dintr-o discutie cu o amica:

… legat de filmul decreteii, a avut comentarii:) filmul intr-adevar ofera multe informatii, e un documentar care tb facut si da, e bine lucrat. Apar in film multe de stereotipurile de gen, regizorul a consultat-o mult si pe [Gail Kligman] care a documentat teoretic toata povestea cu avortul si e specialista feminista pe tarile din esteul europei.

Dar pe de o parte trateaza avortul, arata drama femeii dar povestea de ansamblu e a copiilor care au fost nedoriti. Adica tratezi avortul, care a fost o mare trauma colectiva a femeilor, si scoti in fata copii nedoriti care l-au raspurnat pe Ceasca. Si daca e ceva simbolic, se putea inventa o poveste a femeilor -asa de fundal, care sa lege povestile individuale. Adica pe scurt, problema mea e ca povestea de fundal, backup, e scoasa in fata drama copiilor. Defapt, sunt doua variante de film: una in care apare mlt la final si drama copiilor cu handicap crescuti lasati sa moara in orfelinate, una fara. Si, da e o mare problema ca, copiii cu handicap erau pur si simplu ucisi, dar asta din nou e alt subiect care ar mertita documentat separat. Abandonul copiilor in institutii, la fel…

da, … nu e un film doar despre drama femeilor. motivul pentru care mie mi se pare ok totusi e ca subiectul filmului e avortul si decretul 770 SI cum au afectat societatea, contextul “comunist”, cum s-a terminat perioada aia etc. – e logic sa vorbeasca si despre “decretei” si dupa parerea mea nu e o ignorare a dramei femeilor, dimpotriva. da, e drept ca sint mai multe aspecte combinate in film care ar putea fi si trebuie sa fie tratate (si) separat. Continue reading

Do YOU want to grow a penis?

I seem to live in a world that tells me that to feel and behave “like a woman” is belittling, demeaning, disparaging, and degrading my credibility. And myself together with it. How often is it that as women, we hear the words “how typically feminine!” being said about us or to us in a disappointed tone when we argue our points of view? That being said, from then on, we have no more credibility, thus nothing more we say will be heard or listened to. That is also the moment when we become guilty of committing a disgraceful act: “I believed you were my equal but I realize you’re still just a woman”.

And obviously in many years of feminist workout we still couldn’t claim that back. We still are reversed sexists if we say “how typically masculine is of you to pretend you’re right when even you know you’re not”.

Pretending that you know something that you don’t seems to be a value in itself in this society. It’s the road to a successful career for example. Reason why I see it very often in the work relationships I have with others. If we talk about an issue that I don’t know exactly or at all about, if they name a word that I never heard before, I pretend that I know what we are talking about while quietly making a little note in my head or on a piece of paper so that I can “google” it later. Why do I do that? It’s because otherwise I risk to lose my credibility, the respect I gained from others as professional and to change the way the others see and respectively, relate to me.

So I keep appearances in a certain way so that I will keep other’s opinions on me high above my own opinions on my own self. It’s obviously more important who they think I am then who I think I am. And is not something particular I identify in my case only. I learned it from many others. I learned it mainly from a society in which is “typically masculine” to know everything and “typically feminine” not to know.

Probably this is only one example of many talking about how “typically masculine” is then the world in the way is constructed and in the values it holds. So when the system is “typically masculine”, “typically feminine” is another anomaly that has to be corrected and I, as a woman, have to work very hard at growing a penis from day one in order to be respected, listened to or treated equally.

Do YOU want to grow a penis?

fwd: monitoring of women in poland

Please circulate widely!

Dear Women,

Poland’s Minister of Health, Ewa Kopacz, has just announced the government’s plan to establish a database of all pregnancies in Poland in an effort to eliminate illegal abortions.

If this idea becomes law, every pregnant woman will be registered by her physician. Her pregnancy will remain under state surveillance, so that she cannot terminate it.

We consider this a shocking violation of women’s human rights, the right to privacy, as well as a blatant breach of patient-doctor confidentiality.

We encourage you to join Polish women in responding to the Minister with letters and used tampons/ sanitary napkins (a tampon soiled with red ink or juice will do just fine) proving that you are NOT pregnant.

Here is the address and a sample letter you may enclose with the evidence:

Minister Ewa Kopacz
ul. Miodowa 15
00-952 Warszawa

Dear Minister Kopacz,
I know that you are planning to build a database of pregnancies in Poland.
I am not a Polish citizen, but I too would like to be registered in your
system. I thought you may be interested to know that I am not pregnant, and
therefore unlikely to have an abortion. I send you my towel/ tampon as proof. I
will be glad to keep you up to date on the state of my reproductive system.

yours sincerely,
(name, address)

If you decide to support Polish women in this effort to respond to our government’s curiosity, please contact the Feminoteka Foundation, the inventors of the action, send e-mail to: info [at] feminoteka [dot] pl

you can also see the Feminoteka website (English):

recentele rapoarte pe gen ale parl. eu.

Doua rapoarte adoptate de Parlamentul European atrag atentia asupra inegalitatilor intre femei si barbati si asupra perpetuarilor prin intermediul mass-media a stereotipurilor de gen. Un obstacol major in calea egalitatii il reprezinta violenta impotriva femeilor, fiind una dintre cele mai raspandite incalcari ale drepturilor omului.

In pofida progreselor semnificative inregistrate, persista multe inegalitati intre femei si barbati, se mentioneaza in raportul elaborat de eurodeputata Iratxe García Pérez.
Membrii Parlamentului European au salutat raportul Comisiei pe aceeasi tema, care sustine abordarea dubla propusa in ceea ce priveste egalitatea de gen, promovand, pe de o parte, masuri care sa asigure egalitatea intre femei si barbati, iar pe de alta parte, masuri specifice pentru reducerea discriminarii.
“Violenta impotriva femeilor – principalul obstacol in calea egalitatii”

cele doua rapoarte pot fi descarcate de la urmatoarele adrese:

informatiile oferite sint utile, dar rapoartele ignora faptul ca datele despre “femei” pe care le prezinta, si concluziile/sugestiile pt. pasi de facut, se aplica numai la unele categorii specifice de femei. de ex., la capitolele joburi si educatie, raportul comisiei porneste de la sesizari ca: “participarea femeilor la ocuparea fortei de munca a progresat in mod continuu, iar nivelul de educatie al femeilor este in prezent superior fata de cel al barbatilor” – ca si cum aceste concluzii ar fi universal valabile pt. femei indiferent de status social, etnie etc. sau ca si cum numai femeile pt. care sint valabile conteaza si au nevoie de solutii). in realitate, exista nenumarate exemple de perspective din care nu e adevarat ca participarea femeilor la ocuparea fortei de munca e pe calea cea buna [rapoartele “Femmes et Hommes – Regards sur la parité”, “Economic aspects of the condition of Roma Women”] sau nivelul de educatie al femeilor superior [raportul “A Place at the Policy Table”].

in esenta: “din pacate … nu am gasit nici un aspect despre “diversitatea femeilor” sau ceva in legatura cu aceasta… . se are in vedere “diversitatea europei”, insa nu si a cetatenelor si cetatenilor ei…” (c.)

fwd de la: crina, hajni

Filippine workers in textile company in Romania

“We have to work like horses!” – Filipina Textile Workers in Sibiu, Romania
by Ana Cosel

Like many other companies in the Romanian textile and construction sectors, textiles firm Mondostar has had to struggle with a persistent labour shortage for several years. Amongst the local workers hardly anyone is willing to work for the low wages paid in the textile industries. Since three months ago Mondostar has employed 95 women from the Philippines in order to counteract the shrinking supply of labour. Hoping for a good job in Europe, the workers from the Philippines borrowed money while still in their home country. They needed the money in order to be able to pay the high fees of the recruitment agency in Manila. The agency recruited them for Mondostar, signing a contract which entitled the workers to a basic wage of US-Dollar 400 and 100 per cent extra for overtime. In fact the women were never paid this wage. The following report is based on conversations with some of the Filipina workers. more

original text in german

must read

“Why That Police Brutality Stuff Matters” by brownfemipower

… [she] didn’t do anything to deserve it.

And then I went back and thought of all the other dismissals about the police brutality we’ve seen.

What were those protesters expecting?
What did they think was going to happen?
Why were they even there?
Who cares, it’s their own fault for causing trouble!

It’s just a bunch of old hippies and troublemakers looking for attention!

I’ve heard all this before. I’ve heard all this before over and over and over again.

What was she thinking?
What was she expecting was going to happen?
Why was she even there?
Who cares, it’s her own fault for causing trouble!
It’s just some fat bitch looking for some attention!

… I think that for violence against women to end, violence on all levels must be questioned, challenged and interrogated–violence on all levels regardless of who is committing it, must stop making sense. Police brutality at protest events matter because it exposes where violence makes sense to us, or where power makes sense to us.

It exposes where victim blaming begins, and exactly how those in positions of power write themselves into power by using victim excuse making…

… Where does it end? How does it end?

When do we get to stop asserting that a woman that is forced to comply against her will to any form of power didn’t deserve it?

When will we stop checking to make sure she didn’t deserve it–just in case she did?