Dearest Activist, Friends, Supporters,
Saturday was an unforgettable day. One which demonstrated the true power of our solidarity as activists across the globe held actions in every region of the planet in cities as far reaching as Kathmandu, Manila, New York, Mexico City, Dhaka, Bukavu, and Rome.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for coming out, for giving your time and your hearts.
Because of you, the women living inside Afghanistan felt seen and heard and know that they are not alone in their struggle. By coming out to listen, by reading their testimonies, by holding space for them and sharing your own stories you gave them hope.
— One Billion Rising, V-Day, City of Joy and RISE FOR AND WITH WOMEN OF AFGHANISTAN
NYC (Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for One Billion Rising), Philippines (@gabrielayouthph), Bangladesh (Zhidul Islam Sazib), Spain (@onebillionrise_espana), Taiwan (@gohfoundation), Kenya (Colani Hlatjwako), Nepal (@worec_nepal)
This just in from our sisters at RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan):
Dearest V and respected friends,
First of all, we would like to congratulate you, V, One Billion Rising, V-Day and all the groups on the tremendous success of Rise with and for the women of Afghanistan. To all sisters and activists in Mexico, Croatia, Eswatini, Congo, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, South Africa, Italy, United Kingdom, Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jamaica, Guatemala, Thailand, Nigeria, Portugal, Taiwan, United Kingdom, Zambia, Austria and the United States: A BIG BIG THANK YOU. Your unyielding solidarity and support only makes us stronger and scares the enemy. Sending you warm and tight hugs!
We staunchly believe that the unity and strength of women all over the globe can defeat imperialism, terrorism, fundamentalism, misogyny and patriarchy!
RAWA and Afghan women are going through hard times and any action is important. Knowing that we have harder times ahead, we hope that the plight of Afghan women will not be forgotten. The women of the world can prove that they can be the voice of their voiceless Afghan sisters. LONG LIVE THE STRUGGLE FOR A FREE, INDEPENDENT, DEMOCRATIC, SECULAR AND JUST AFGHANISTAN!
A big hug,
“We RISE for peace. We ROAR for justice. We RAGE against wars of aggression and state-sanctioned violence against women. Today we rise in particular for the women of Afghanistan whose rights and freedoms are now again under siege by the fundamentalist Taliban government. This government’s brutal record against women has earned worldwide condemnation when it first came into power. Now it seeks to rehabilitate its image by engaging in doublespeak: paying lip service to women’s rights but in the same breath imposing numerous restrictions that, in effect, curtail women’s basic rights such as their freedom of movement, the right to live without fear and the right against gender-based discrimination.” — Lila Pilipina Comfort Women Statement
“We RISE to defend women’s rights, which are under threat in all countries, and uphold the principles of equality and secularism as the backbone of the protection of these rights.” — Voice of Domestic Workers Statement
CITY OF JOY RISING: In Congo, women at the City of Joy rose and released this video as a statement of solidarity from their rising. “We #RiseForAndWithWomenOfAfghanistan!!! We RISE for Afghan women. We RISE for the Afghan population. They need peace. They need protection. They need freedom. We say NO to the occupation of Afghanistan!” In the video, women at City of Joy sang, drummed, and held up signs expressing their solidarity. The video has since been seen by thousands and continues to spread far and wide.
Testimonies have come in from women on the ground in Afghanistan, as they explain how their lives have changed drastically since the Taliban took over.
One student, Nargis, explains how her education was interrupted but it will not deter her from protesting for her rights.
“My name is Nargis and I was studying at the Afghan National Institute of Music. I just finished 11th grade. And it’s been 8 years that I’ve been a guitarist and the day the Taliban came to Kabul and came inside our school. We were practicing there that day and we rapidly got out. They are still there and consider music haram (unlawful). They stay there day and night, all of them. They have broken all the music instruments in the school. To raise our voice, the women started protesting for the rights of women, for the voice of women. We also participated and women will never be caged again in houses and will never waste their many years of effort. They will break out and rally in the streets and raise their voice from women all over the world, women who are devoted to the rights and voices of other women. We want them to fight alongside the women of Afghanistan and raise their voice.”
Our message was carried in media and social media worldwide including wire stories, TV news, radio and more. Coverage includes Associated Press: Female Leaders at UNGA Call for Afghan Women’s Rights”; The Hill: “Jane Fonda, Rosario Dawson among those joining campaign to deny Taliban recognition” (8/31/21); KTLA News; Green Left; and more.
V (formerly Eve Ensler) and #MadinahWardak, Founder of #BurqasAndBeer appeared on Democracy Now! to speak about the campaign. The show also featured V’s exclusive interview with former member of Afghan Parliament #BelquisRoshan ahead of the global day of action in support of Afghan women.
“The Taliban are already restricting women’s rights in #Afghanistan — just a month since they overran the capital of Kabul — by blocking female students from returning to schools and universities, and telling many women workers to stay home. The new Taliban government has closed the Ministry of Women’s Affairs that was established soon after the Taliban were toppled in 2001, and replaced it with the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, charged with enforcing strict Islamic law. Former Afghan Member of Parliament Belquis Roshan calls for international solidarity with the women of Afghanistan and an end to imperial interventions in the country. ‘International solidarity, we can initiate … by creating harmony and unity and working together — not with governments, but the people,’ says Roshan in an exclusive interview with V, the award-winning playwright formerly known as Eve Ensler. V joins us along with Madinah Wardak, a mental health social worker of Afghan descent and founder of the digital platform Burqas & Beer, ahead of a global day of action in support of Afghan women.” – Democracy Now!
We cannot underestimate the power of our solidarity in this moment.