Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Women's Day: Written by Prof. Dr. Busra Ersanli [from Bakirkoy Prison]

March 8th Proclamation[1]

This year, the now traditional Women's Day Proclamation by the Syndicate of Writers in Turkey was written from prison by Büşra Ersanlı.

Let us think anew, once again...

It is women who give birth, who nurse, who cook, who distribute, who tidy up and clean, who look after the sick, after the old, who manage to do everything on time, who mend and protect, who give their unrecognized labor on the plantations in addition to their unrecognized labor at home, who work in factories, schools, offices with the lowest wages, and who still manage to save, but... is men to make the decisions:

The government – 90 percent men

The parliament – 86 percent men

The local governments – 98 percent men

The ruling bureaucracy – 99 percent men

The holders of the capital – 99 percent men

The war starters, the military, all men – 100 percent

It is women who are exposed to violence, to harassment, to rape, to murder... These assaults have particular names: honor, custom, jealousy, love... These are, in fact, all the same thing, all seek to keep women away from power, from the government...

“To break the waist of whoever breaks the rule,” at least to keep them somewhere below, to damp them down... These are all actions of intimidation in the face of power. “I will punch you in the face,” “I will crash your skull,” “I will pluck all your hair out,” “I will pull your legs apart,” “I will break your nose.”

There are all actions of the conservative minds that are completely closed to criticism and improvement.

What is it that they want?

* Women should not make themselves visible!

* Women should bring up more male children for the struggles for power and for the war!

* Women should not use their intellectual potential in the public sphere!

* Women should not bring their creativity outside the home, the realm of cosmetics and other womanly activities!

* Women should not object and should not protest!

* Women should obey the power, i.e. men and their traditions, their justice and the laws they designed all by themselves!

* Women should not surpass men in their professional lives!

* Women should not gain fame and prestige in what they do; and if they do, they should immediately be defamed!

* Whatever they do, women should stand ONE STEP BEHIND!

* Women should melt and turn into residue! The ones who do not melt should be punished. Those who do not behave should be put in prison!

* Women should be hostages to the fights for power, hostages that are more indispensable than the capital itself to the men’s bargaining!

Women became conscious now, all women of Turkey who experience discrimination at home and in the office; Kurdish women whose native tongues are forbidden by the state and whose intellectual capacities are prohibited by their fathers, brothers and uncles; all women who are born and raised in Turkey, sisters of the women in the entire world who are sidelined in every realm.

With their organizations that have been developing every day for two or three decades, women participate in meetings, conferences and classes; they take it to the streets; they work in factories and plantations. They take their place in politics.

Us women do not have enemies; we have an observation, a statement:

Gender opression is the first and the strongest step of legitimizing the male predominance. Because the most apparent and the most widespread difference is gender difference. The longest living difference is gender difference.

Women, who have been denied all rights including human rights, have been neglected and disregarded through the concept of “mankind.” Women have already started their struggle to change the meaning of the notion of power and of predominance. Power will entail humanitarian partnership; an anti-militarist stance based on dialogue will govern; the precedence of dialogue will determine the precedence of law.

We shall justly divide the realms of decision-making and of administrative responsibility half and half, among men and women. We decided on peace. We reject war, both just and unjust. We believe in dialogue, in making life, in sharing.

Happy March 8th, International Laboring Women Day to all of us, all women, and everyone who supports us! (BE/ÇT)

[1] Originally published on Bianet on march 8. - America is thankful to Zeynep Seviner for her translation of the article from its Turkish original into English.