Today we celebrate the wedding of our comrade Napuli Langa, who has been an inspiration to all of us migrant and refugee women living as foreigners in Germany. A country that permanently refuses to recognize us as members of their society although we are here despite the hardships we undergo because of their racism, prejudice and xenophobia.
And we are taking our responsibilities as political women as Napuli has always done without asking for permission to do so.
So, we, the International Women Space, would like to take this opportunity to remind us all of the urgency and responsibility that we all have in face of the horrors women have been suffering in these days of war. People may say we are not at war. But we say without vacillating: yes, we ARE living in a bloody wartime because in the countries where the bombs are being dropped, secular governments have been dismantled in order to place religious sects who can better attend western imperialist interests. And in Europe the excuse is to reinforce the growing islamophobic propaganda in order to blame the victims, like the system blames, criminalizes the refugee who dares crossing borders in search of safety.
In January we saw people all over the world gathering to protest against the horrifying killings of the 12 victims of the attacks against the french cartoonists in Paris whilst at the same time in Nigeria, another crisis was unfolding, as reports came through of an estimated 2.000 casualties after an attack of Boko Haram in the city of Baga.
Why we are not protesting against the enslavement of thousands of women who are being bought and sold, kidnapped and raped in broad day-light in Iraq or in some parts of Africa?
The answer is because everyday we are made believe that a white, western life is more valuable than others.
Why are we not demanding the recognition of the responsibility of the west in these wars? When we know it is all about the profits made through the selling of weapons, the control of certain territories in order to perpetuate a neocolonialist system? Why are we not recognizing that people have the right of self-defense and that these aggressive wars of the western countries lead to the destabilization of whole regions causing people to flee?
No, we don’t accept because if we did we wouldn’t let so many borders be erected, forcing so many people to enter Europe in a so-called Illegal way.
We do accept an unfair system of asylum, a system which was created, through the Refugee Convention, in 1951. A time when women had to show that it is her race, or her religion, or her political beliefs, or her position in society, which has made her flee her country. Therefore, traditional practices such as forced marriage, female genital mutilation, foot-binding or domestic violence against women were not considered as ‘persecution’ because ‘persecution’ for the Refugee Convention was seen as something which happened exclusively in the public domain. It was only in the last decades that gender persecution or domestic violence started to be considered as reasons to apply for asylum, but still women have historically found it more difficult to qualify for refugee status than men.
Women are living their worst nightmare where the direct conflict is taking place. Rape is becoming again the terrifyingly common weapon used to terrorize and control communities as it historically is in warfare. Women’s bodies are the spoils of these wars. And what Europe does? Hides the truth, denies the facts, cynically avoids taking responsibility in their involvement in all the brutality which is going on.
And if this is not enough, for those who almost miraculously scape the conflict areas and dare to arrive in Europe there is the constant treat of deportation, the complete isolation and insecurities of a life in the Lager. And for the women who is here alone and, like almost all asylum seekers, is not recognized as a refugee, the options left are also terrifying. She will end having to chose between getting married and/or getting pregnant as a last desperate attempt to have her papers and live legally in Germany.
The fact that by doing so she is risking her physical and mental health is not considered because as second class human being she won’t be given the choices women who were born here have. This is what migrant and refugee women face in the land of democracy, where human rights are supposed to exist.
We demand to be left in peace in our countries! We demand the end of the collaboration and weapon supplies between western countries and puppet governments working for the interests of imperialism.