Hi I'm Ria,
“If I can’t dance I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”
I am an after-war child, born on the longest day of 1954 in the Catholic Flanders, north of Belgium. From nature I’m an anarchistic someone: hyarchic authority, rules and getting commands, always have bothered me. Sensitive for unjustice, violence and war ?
That’s why I started to study law and became a lawyer because the women of the Shelter for Battered Women (which I was one of the founders) needed feminist lawyers.
I’m a lesbian, that’s my “being”; my feminism is my ideological and political “choise”.
Thinking autonomous, taking care and responsibility for your own well-being, and solidarity with them who didn’t get the same opportunities as myself, is important for me. The struggle against intra-family violence went always together with my fight against war, racisme, homophobia, social unjustice in the world.
In 1988 – when I was visiting Palestine with a women’s group – I heard for the first time about Women in Black, a non-formal-organised mouvement of Israëly women, calling their own government tot stop the occupation of Palestine and to give to the Palestinians the right of existence.
“Making dirt of their own nest”, is an expression in Flemish, and that’s how they were called, just like they did with the Women in Belgrade later, always critisising their own government and state.
I do like that, courageous women, having the guts to go out of the so-called safe basket, even if they would lose the own group of the basket.
But the Women in Black always take care that they get a new group to support them, and that became (and is) the transnational mouvement of Women in Black, which spreaded out over the continents in the last seventeen years.
Hundreds of feminist women, questioning the tenthousandyearold patriarchal structures and rejecting them, structures who are responsible for so much violence, war and all kinds of misery.
Even if women are no saints (which they are not, fortunately), I’m really convinced that women deal with life in a more peacefull way, and that bringing together their strengths the only hope is for the existence of life and mother earth.
I will smile if men – from the sideway – would support our actions; I will jubilate them if they are prepared to do something about their behaviour, tot analyse this behaviour, to have the guts to be critical about this behaviour and to call for a change.
As long as this is not succeeded, I’m absolutely convinced that women should organise separately. They will resist in a non-violent way.
Thanks to Lena Vandamme (who attended the International Meeting of Women in Black in Yugoslavia in 1993) the mouvement came to Belgium. I attended the first vigil in january 1994 before the European Commission in Brussels. With support from my feminist peace friends, we started our own vigils on the 4 th of march 1994 before the City Hall in Leuven, where you can find us every wednesday at noon.
I love the specific form of action of Women in Black, very conviniant for busy women: standing an hour or half an hour a week at a crowded corner, dressed in black and in silence (it’s impressing when it’s really silent, which is not always possible with chatting women…).
We became a notion in Leuven.
Many declare we’re mad and “it doesn’t change anything”; others –whether they like it or not- get everytime again confrontation with what is going on in the world and that people can not continue to live with these closed eyes. Ofcourse we also get sympathy.
I love the international network that gave me already so many beautifull friends and soul-mates; the encounters at the international meetings (I attended till now about eight of them, mostly in former Yugoslavia, also in Italy and Israel-Palestine)¨; the concrete practical solidarity work (sending parcels in time of need); writing (press-)articles with the one and only goal to inform politicians and the public, hoping they will do something about it.
I love our own little group in Leuven, at the moment about eight loyal attenders of the vigil, every wednesday with our banner of good quality (we use it already ten years):
Women in Black
In anger and sadness
Against war and violence
Hi, my name is Marianne,
and since the national women’s’ day in Leuven November 2002 I am with the movement Women in Black. On that day I was particularly touched by the workshop with Edna from Israel, Jihan from Bethlehem and Sonja from Belgrade, all Women in Black They testified so penetrating on living in conflict areas, and testified also that they only survive because they knew that they were supported by the worldwide movement of Women in Black, that I couldn’t otherwise than answer the appeal of Mieke: “Women in Black, Wednesday half past twelve before the town hall !!". A bit scared I went to the demonstration that Wednesday. And I must say they welcomed me with open arms. Our silent vigils are perhaps just a drop in the ocean, but we all know the strength of water
Hi, I am Rosemie
I also joined Woman in Black Leuven after Women’s day 2002. It became clear from the testimonies of women from war areas that we mustn’t feel powerless. The fact that there are frequent vigils from Women in Black worldwide against war and violence is a tremendous support for them. This way I can do something together with my fellow-women, stand still, sympathise with all women, men and children who still suffer from war and violence
Hello, I am Mieke
Warring powers are not going to loose any sleep over it
So don’t world leaders
But I am convinced, that our vigils give a warm feeling for a while to our girlfriends in conflict areas and elsewhere
I know for sure, because they told me
and that will do…
To feel the solidarity and pass it on to the next generation.
Hello, I'm Lieve
You ask me if I believe we can change the world by our actions: "No AND Yes" is my answer.
No: I do have that much sense of reality to know that our silent vigils will not make that we will wake up in a better world tomorrow. The road to this world with justice and peace is long, the tree has many deep roots and we are only one link on that road, one of many roots of the tree. And so I actual come to the positive part of my answer, yes we are a link, yes we are a root of the tree, nothing more, but also nothing less...Moreover women living in conflict areas tell us that they feel themselves very supported by those many solidarity actions worldwide, they tell us that this makes a real difference to them. They feel supported by us, and we feel ourselves reinforced by their unbelievable courage and good energy. It seems like mutual empowerment.
For me it does not have to be more than that !
As a result, I can continue, also continue dreaming...
I am Carla.
From the sideline, in silence but so visible. For me our weekly vigil radiates a particular strength, which slowly filters through and touches everyone, to the very root. Only then the puddle of grief runs dry and a singing world is going to be visible..
Is it naïve to remain hopeful ?
I say no.
For this reason I am a Woman in Black.
Hello I am Chris
It was on woman’s day 1994 that I heard women from Belgrade, Bosnia , testifying on the evils of war.
Their experience touched me deeply.
But even more I was moved by their strength to hold out a hand to each other , to look for reconciliation, despite the oppression, the misery and horror.
“Blind retaliation doesn’t release”
It is that strength, that yearn for peace, that I want to make visible every Wednesday. It is an honour to stand still for a moment every week, as an answer on the testimony of so many women from conflict-areas, that they take strength and courage of the knowledge that we are there to catch the eyes of the passers-by on our banners. Their live could be ours
|Femmes en Noir - Frauen im Schwarz - Women in Black - Mujeres de Negro - Donne in Nero - Zene u Crnom|
click on the woman to read her statement