APWLD March 8:
DEFENDING OUR RIGHTS,
ASSERTING OURSELVES TO LIBERATION!
MARCH 8, 2006
WOMEN DEFENDING OUR RIGHTS, ASSERTING OURSELVES TO LIBERATION!
Today, we celebrate the undaunted spirit of women who continue to believe and work for radical changes.
This spirit we have maintained and kept alive as different forces try to bring us down.
When we speak out, they hushed us. They call it libel. When we go to the streets and shout our calls for change, they arrest us. In the Philippines, they call it act of sedition; in Nepal, they don't have to call it anything.
They have killed us along with the other hundreds, as young as 7, and as old as 67, and other political activists in the Philippines in just one year. In Bangladesh, killings by the paramilitary group are a daily fare in the news.
They have made thousands of us widows, orphans as they killed our husbands, fathers, brothers, lovers, in the South of Thailand our only crime is that we have faith different from theirs.
They have driven us out of our homes as they ravage our lands, our bodies. This happens as governments let in transnational companies to mine, to log and they call it development. This happens as governments have military operations and they call it war against terrorism. As it happens in Burma, the military government doesn't have to call it anything.
When we seek protection and better lives in other countries, we are called aliens, migrants, refugees any other word except another human being.
They have made us poorer, and hungrier, even as we worked harder and longer. We produce food we could never afford to eat. We make clothes we could never know how they feel in our weary bodies.
Today, we salute us, as we resist these forces who insist in weighing us down.
We are never hushed as we continue to speak our minds.
We are never cowered by fear as we march on the streets, hand in hand, as we shout and demand changes.
As some of us fall, more are rising up. As some of us falter, more are carrying on.
Today, we reaffirm our activism. We will persist in bringing down all forms of repression and control over our bodies, our thoughts, our lives.
Today, we celebrate our growing sisterhood, our deepened solidarity. This in itself is a victory.
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development