Once again, we, the women in the MENA region, find ourselves -with other marginalized groups- fighting the never-ending wave of ruthless misogynistic violence. This violence has a clear and pre-set purpose: to control our lives, eliminate our rights and choices, and subjugate us in a way that makes us all constantly wonder if we will be the next victim?
Burdened with sorrow, setback with disappointment, and overwhelmed with rage, we are not only bitterly witnessing our national governmental institutions failing to fulfill their moral and legal duties to protect us, but also taking the side of the aggressors, leaving us fighting this battle all by ourselves.
The utmost effort these institutions have made so far is offering meaningless statements and empty promises when a crime is exposed to the public, without really doing the much-needed/ effective structural changes to amend the laws that exclude substantial portions of our societies and fail to guarantee our fundamental right to life.
This is not just a failure, but rather a deliberate act to deny women the right to benefit from protective legislation that would put an end to these heinous crimes against them in our region; including the crimes that were publicly exposed as well as those covered up by the murderers and their apologists that we never hear about We, the women, stand alone in the battle to gain our fundamental right to life. We have been actively left behind by the very institutions that are supposed to protect us; the institutions that have left the survivors amongst us susceptible to violence in public and private spaces, performed by strangers and family members alike; the institutions that only persecute a
a low percentage of revolting misogynistic criminals, not protected by power or wealth.
Make no mistake, it is time we use that rage and sorrow to fuel a movement that forces the long-needed change, to shout the facts you have overlooked for centuries: we will not be treated and regarded as second-grade citizens by our constitutions, societies, and institutions. It is time we make our sorrow and rage heard loudly, to make it clear we will not accept any short-term and case-specific solutions that are never enough to provide sustainable solutions, and that we will not shy away from the systematic prejudice and bigotry that we are facing. It is time we use our rage to organize a cross-border effort of solidarity, one that believes in the power of individuals, one that sounds the alarms and calls out all how violence and discrimination are facilitated, by law, in this region.
Our sisters, survivors, fighters, and potential victims, since we are not guaranteed our safety or our lives, what do we have to lose?
We, the women, invite our sisters and allies and all feminist, civil rights activists, political entities, and justice-seeking groups to organize efforts, spread the word, and toll the bells for a general, cross-borders, women’s strike on the 6th of July in all MENA region countries. A strike where we will abstain from doing our jobs and fulfilling our tasks to the farthest extent of which we are capable. A women’s strike in which we unify our voices and declare our solidarity as one body in a single-hearted unity while encouraging the efforts of any other decentralized forms of protest such as marches, sit-ins, silent protests, and all other means of protest and objections that would ensure that our voices are heard by the world at large and are channeled by the media. We invite you all to take the stand in a strike that would call for ending all forms of violence against women, and all acts of justifying and facilitating that violence; whether blatant or hidden. We want you to know that we will heartfully cherish participating in this effort by showing support on social media platforms, and we highly appreciate such acts of resistance in a complex oppressive environment.
We welcome the efforts of organizations that are willing to participate through spreading the word of this strike and gathering efforts through social media announcements, organizing protests, and forming temporary local coalitions that would aim to get our voices heard, and we appreciate and welcome all support of activist groups and initiatives from outside the regions and their respective entities and groups and invite them to join us in calling out for joining this effort and work towards making it known and effective in any ways they see fit.