Posts Tagged ‘Women in Black’

Women in Black

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

Women in Black is an International Movement of Women for Peace. What unites us all is our commitment to justice and a world free of violence.

The international movement of Women in Black began in January 1988, one month after the First Intifada broke out, as a small group of Israeli women carried out a simple form of protest: Once a week at the same hour and in the same location – a major traffic intersection – they donned black clothing and raised a black sign in the shape of a hand with white lettering that read “Stop the Occupation”. Within months, by word of mouth, women throughout Israel had heard of this protest, and launched dozens of vigils.

This began the 17-year history of the Women in Black movement, as it spread spontaneously from country to country, wherever women sought to speak out against violence and injustice in their own part of the world. In Italy, Women in Black protest a range of issues, from the Israeli occupation to the violence of organized crime. In Germany, Women in Black protest neo-Nazism, racism against migrant workers, and nuclear armament. In India, Women in Black hold vigils that call for an end to the ill treatment of women by religious fundamentalists. And during the war in the Balkans, Women in Black in Belgrade set a profound example of interethnic cooperation that was an inspiration to their countrywomen and men.

The movement of Women in Black has empowered women and men in many countries to mobilize for peace. It is an international movement, so that the voice of conscience in one region now echoes and reverberates throughout the world. And it provides a worldwide support system for victims of oppression, exposing their injustice to the light of day and the pressure of world opinion. The movement of Women in Black assumes many forms in many countries, but one thing is common to all: an uncompromising commitment to justice and a world free of violence.

The international movement of Women in Black was honored with the Millennium Peace Prize for Women, awarded by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in 2001. The international movement, represented by the Israeli and the Serbian groups, was also a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001. Israeli Women in Black won the Aachen Peace Prize (1991); the peace award of the city of San Giovanni d’Asso in Italy (1994); and the Jewish Peace Fellowship’s “Peacemaker Award” (2001).

Paint it Black / Ruth Eglash

Friday, January 4th, 2008

(Originally published in the Jerusalem Post)

At first glance, it appears to be a regular coffee and chitchat among some dear old friends, but on closer inspection, the bulging scrapbook brimming with newspaper clippings and the swift turn in the light conversation clearly indicates that these three women – Dafna Kaminer, Gila Svirski and Nora Bendarsky – have come here with much more serious business in mind.

“We are the conscience of the Israeli people,” states Kaminer, a petite grey-haired immigrant from Detroit, Michigan, in a plain and serious tone. “We remind people every week that there is an occupation and it still has not ended.”

The occupation she is referring to is Israel’s “control” over Palestinian lands, the people are the citizens of Israel and the every week is pretty much every Friday for the past 20 years when Kaminer, along with hundreds of other women, has stood in Jerusalem’s Paris Square holding a silent vigil as one of the notorious and highly criticized Women in Black.

“I believe that our voice also speaks out to the Palestinian people; it shows them that there is hope and that there is a true partner on the Israeli side,” joins in Svirski, also originally from the US, who joined Women in Black a few weeks after the initiative first started. “[The vigils] also send a message out to the international community that not everyone in Israel shares the same views as our prime minister.”

And Bendarsky, who made aliya from Argentina in the 1970s, adds: “There is something very important in having a constant message and being there every week. It makes us stronger.”

Stronger maybe, but none of the women really knows how to answer the question of whether Women in Black has succeeded or failed in its 20 years of activism. On the one hand, the focus of its ongoing demonstration – the conflict with the Palestinians – continues, but on the other, the movement they all helped to establish has flourished in the face of its critics, public opinion has softened to its cause and its tactics have even been adopted by thousands of non-Israeli women in hundreds of countries. Women, who for whatever reason, personal or national, regularly take to the streets in a silent vigil to protest violence, war and occupation.

“I am happy to say I am a Zionist and love my country and that is why I am a women in black,” says Svirski. “Different women have different responses and this is mine.”

“I AM SURPRISED that they are still around,” comments Shifra Hoffman, founder of Victims of Arab Terror and one of the movement’s harshest critics. “I was sure that after all the terror attacks they would not continue with their protest.”

“I think it is tragic that Jews don’t feel the pain of other Jews,” continues Hoffman, who held her own vigil opposite Women in Black during the early 1990s. “I believe that they don’t want to admit they’ve been wrong about this all along. I mean, how can Jews actively undermine the Jewish state? We have enough enemies; we don’t need women in black too.”

Another critic, Nadia Matar, co-chair of the Women for Israel’s Tomorrow, says Women in Black is a fringe organization and “does not represent the views of the majority of the people in this country.”

“These are the ideas of the extreme left wing, of women who quite clearly work for the Arab cause,” she says, adding that it is solely down to media attention that has made it appear as though Women in Black is a large and successful group.

However, Prof. Sam Lehman-Wilzig, former head of Bar-Ilan University’s Political Studies Department and founder of its communications program, says that the group has been a peripheral success, mainly in “raising public consciousness of Israel’s conquest in the territories.”

“They have added a moral argument to the situation here,” he observes, adding that over the past 20 years there has been a significant shift in public opinion regarding Israel’s place in the West Bank and Gaza and that Women in Black had a “slight influence” on that change.

At the same time, continues Lehman-Wilzig, “their protests had little impact on changing government policy. In order for a protest to be really effective and influential, its tactics must raise media attention. Doing the same thing every week for a long period of time means that after a while the media is no longer interested.”

Rather, he says, “I believe that it is more a way of cleansing one’s own conscience and giving people a non-aggressive way of crying out.”

WOMEN IN Black held its first Jerusalem vigil in January 1988, just weeks after the first intifada broke out.

“When we first started, people did not really react to us, they were just surprised to see us standing there,” recalls Kaminer, explaining that the forerunner of Women in Black was an early 1980s group called Dai Lakibush or End the Occupation.

“The women of Dai Lakibush decided to break off and do something on their own when the first intifada broke out. The idea was simple. We were just to stand there with banners that read ‘End the Occupation.'”

Their methods – wearing all black and standing in a non-responsive silent protest – were also inspired by such groups as the Black Sash in South Africa and the Argentinean Madres de la Plaza de Mayo. Black Sash started in the 1950s, but was active through to the 1990s. The women wore a black sash over their clothes. The Argentinean group, which wore white, was active in the 1970s-1980s.

Svirski’s recollections of the public’s initial reaction to their protest are slightly different than Kaminer’s.

“I think we were threatening from the beginning,” she says, highlighting that calling for an end to the occupation back then was a rather new and radical message. “It was also one of the first instances where women stood in public with a political message; the only other time women had stood together in public they were prostitutes.”

She says that during the movement’s first few years, the criticisms it received were “focused on our gender and sexual notions.”

“They called us whores and other things that cannot be printed in the newspaper. But later on, people stopped focusing on the fact that we were women and more on our message.”

While that might have been a positive sign, the verbal criticism soon turned physical.

“As well as people heckling us,” recalls Kaminer, “some tried to tear down our signs.”

The women highlight one incident in which the girlfriend of a Kach supporter infiltrated the movement, joining the vigil for several weeks and then reporting back to her boyfriend on the group’s activities.

“She told them that we were having a meeting and they showed up and wrecked it,” remembers Svirski. “Afterward, the boyfriend was quoted in the newspapers as saying that he’d found out about our meeting from his girlfriend, who had to ‘suffer standing with us for several weeks.’

“It was a period of intense violence against us. Kach and Kahane Chai were only two of the movements against us, but they were not the only ones. One group published a flyer calling for people to ‘take care of the black widows.’ Another group distributed to its members the names, addresses and phone numbers of eight of us. We were harassed, with one woman even having a hearse delivered to her house when, of course, she was still alive. I had someone call me telling me they knew where my children went to school and that they would come and get them.”

DESPITE THE threats at home and the constant catcalls when they were out on the streets, Svirski, Kaminer, Bendarsky and hundreds of other Jerusalem women continued with their weekly protest.

“It is an easy way for women to show their opinions, to just stand on a street corner in silence [holding a sign],” points out Svirski, adding that it did not take long for other women around the country to set up similar protests.

Women in Haifa and Tel Aviv, who had heard about the Jerusalem demonstrations, starting holding their own vigils, she says. Then, slowly, women in outlying areas joined in and by the end of the first year, a national conference was attended by more than 500 women.

While at its strongest moments Women in Black could boast more than 100 protesters a week, as with any long-term political activist movement, the group’s membership figures reflected the ups and downs of the conflict it was demonstrating against.

Events such as the Gulf War in 1991 and the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 saw many women turning away from the cause either because they no longer believed in the central message or because they had become apathetic. With the outbreak of the second intifada, some women decided that Women in Black’s methods were not enough and left to join other women’s groups, such as Machsom Watch or the Coalition of Women for Peace.

Today, Kaminer, Svirksi and Bendarsky say that roughly 30 women join them on a regular basis.

“Our message is not passé, it is still relevant,” claims Svirski. “One of the most common responses to our activities these days is people asking: ‘What occupation?’ It’s been 40 years now and many people here have been born into this situation; they don’t even realize that Israel is an occupier.”

And she is adamant that their work through the years has been successful.

“There has been a shift in public opinion. Today, two-thirds of Israelis believe that we have to get out of the West Bank. They realize that the Palestinians are partners for peace and that we have to talk to them whether we want to or not.”

Gaza in Paris / Doucha Belgrave

Thursday, December 21st, 2006

International appeal of Women in Black

December 2, 2006, Paris, France

I remember that from Israel, Gila and Debby did not stop, up to the last minute, feeding our website with new names of cities where vigils of Women in Black would stand, as part of the World Appeal.

I remember that the day before, comrades like Bertrand and Catherine (of the ex-coordination of Palestine’s committees) got back into harness to help us work and transport the sound system with its complex connections and its generator as heavy as a dead horse.

I remember our small disappointment, at 3pm seeing each group of the solidarity movement underrepresented, even if the banners of solidarity were there. And each of these groups had prepared a speech.

I remember that the fine and cold drizzle did not persist (certainly thanks to the “It’s nothing, it’s nothing, it will pass”) and that it did not perturb while it lasted.

I remember my pride when I pronounced one by one the names of the 78 cities in the world where Women in Black, according to the time zones, had gathered, where gathering or would gather this same December 2, 2006 with the same demands “Stop the siege of Gaza”, “Stop the massacre of the Palestinian people”.

I remember that following the alphabetic order, Naples was placed side by side with New York, Paris with Parksville/Canada, Verona with Vancouver, Washington with Wellington in New Zeeland and that Honolulu came just after Grenoble.

I remember that three of us passed hours in a parking not far from “La Fontaine des Innocents” blowing up with helium black balloons on which was written in white: “End of the occupation”. I remember that they brought us, in dribs and drabs, with an expression of delighted little girls, these strange bunches of black balloons.

I remember that a very old man from the “Association des travailleurs maghr�bins de France” held one of these black bunches for two hours and that he refused to be replaced even when it started to rain.

I remember that many women mixed themselves in the stream of passersby to distribute our statement and that their black and motionless figures creased and slowed down the flood of the walkers, like dark rocks showing at the surface of water.

I remember that Mickéline read the poem “I shall resist” from Mahmoud Darwish and that all of us, while we where listening, felt being “résistantes” through and through.

I remember that at the end, three women of the chorale “Chants de rage et de révolte” (Songs of Rage and Revolt), that we did not expect anymore, broke into song a capella in Calabrian, such a powerful polyphony that they tetanized the participants and even the black balloons which stayed in the air above our heads.

I remember the finale, the release of black balloons – Identified Flying Objects to our struggle and our hope for “over there” and that they slowly rose in the grey sky of December 2, 2006 in Paris France.

  • Translation From French into English by Edith Rubinstein

So Much Pain and Suffering on Both Sides / Yvonne Deutsch

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

In the midst of the war, the World Pride events were taking place in Jerusalem the last week. They had been postponed from the last year because of the disengagement. This year the March was cancelled because of the war. But all the other events were taking place. There was an overwhelming religious reaction to the march which was a product of Jewish-Muslim-Christian fundamentalist unity. Why don’t they find this unity for creating a process of justice, reconciliation and peace for all? Why do they unite in hating lesbians, gay, bisexuals and transgender? Of course, there are inter-religious meetings of different Muslim, Jewish and Christian groups in search of peace. But the power is not in the hands of people who would like real change in basic values and the end of every oppression and suffering.

In my worst dreams I did not imagine that the war will be so long and painful. Today they declared a cease fire. We, in the radical left were out on the streets from the first days confronting feelings of hate and racism. We are regarded traitors more than ever. The Zionist parts of the peace movement started to wake up last week. Our historic role is to be catalysts of the mainstream peace movement. But it is important to mention that from the beginning of the war also individual Zionist peace activists took part in our demonstrations.

In the first 2 weeks I went to the anti-war vigils in Jerusalem everyday. Jerusalem is not part of the current war zone which means that here it is possible to continue our regular lives. But the sorrow and pain because of the widespread suffering is tremendous. I hardly can concentrate on my work. I am taking part in the feminist organizing concerning the war. We who work with women from disenfranchised communities – who disagree with us politically – are looking for ways to discuss the issue of security and war from feminist perspectives based on their experiences. We also plan a gathering of activists for our own political discussion besides the constant demonstrations and activities that are taken place, though marginalized and hardly represented in the media.

Every Saturday, Jews and Palestinians in Israel march in Tel Aviv against the war. Among other slogans we also shout that we refuse to be enemies. Asking a Palestinian friend what sustains her in this horrible situation, she immediately said that the Jewish-Arab demonstrations in Tel Aviv. Although our voices are hardly heard in the public. We insist on marching together. We insist on being together and saying among other things that: We are against the war, We don’t want to kill and be killed in the service of the US, Both in Haifa and Beirut children want to live, We refuse to be enemies. I go out the street to express my views publicly. I go out to express my opposition to solving conflict with arms. I go out to express solidarity, I go out on the streets to be with my Palestinian friends.

So much pain and suffering on both sides. The suffering and destruction in Lebanon is greater and I feel horrible about it. It is done in my name. It is done in our name. But also here there is destruction on many levels of life. I mourn the suffering of the wounded, the dead and their families, the refugees in Lebanon, the ones whose houses were destroyed, women, men and children in the war zone who were thrown into destruction, anxieties and greater poverty. Two friends of mine have old parents in Haifa who are survivors of the Holocaust. They didn’t want to leave their homes and their children were really worried. Lately we started to hear about the experiences of old and sick people who cannot go to the shelters. The horrible situation in Gaza and the west bank is not at the centre of public attention. This is also done in our name.

Feminist organizations in Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other places organize around women’s needs like single mothers with children and poor women. Finally the media mentions also feminist critique of the war. Nevertheless our world view is still marginalized. The critique was there from the beginning, but the media did not respond to it till now. The stickers in the streets claiming Israel is going to win the war are around everywhere. What does it mean to win a war? The division between Jews and Arabs or Israelis and Palestinian is growing. We are creating more hate towards us. We are going to face even worse economic and social problems. Many are killed. Many are injured. More money will be given to the army and less and less for health, education and welfare. I think we still cannot imagine the inner social destruction that Israeli society is going to face. The chances of a real peace process between Israel and Palestine look less and less possible already for a few years. We lost hope to witness and take part in a process of justice, reconciliation and living in peace for Jewish and Palestinian people in the Middle East. No matter how important is the struggle against any kind of religious fundamentalism the core of the problem here is the national conflict.

As I already mentioned, we witness the racist attitudes, dehumanization and hate toward the enemy. One dimensional attitude towards a large community, this time here towards the Muslim Arabs. This is a widespread phenomenon everywhere. As feminists we should discuss this concept of the enemy in depth and oppose it. Only through the deep notion that all humans in the universe are connected can we really create change. It won’t be easy for us because Patriarchy, Militarism, Fundamentalism, Capitalism and every oppressive system is regarded by us as the enemy. We witness the ruins and destruction of those oppressive systems everywhere. We know that men in power or men in the arms industry are part of those systems and benefit from them. How do we relate as feminists to those enemies? Do we have a unique contribution to the concept of the enemy?

I hope that the cease fire will help me to get back also to my everyday work with women directors. Those are women who by being directors within the welfare office and of social change organizations will have to deal with the new social and economic challenges that people from disenfranchised communities will have to meet. This tremendous responsibility puts a special burden on them. In our project we also want to expose them to feminist critique of social rights and change.

Black in Women / Henriette Dahan Kalev

Sunday, August 28th, 2005

Vicki Knafo  and Sara Lahiani are two Israeli women, single mothers, living in development towns in the southern periphery of Israel, Knafo in Mitzpe Ramon and Lahiani in Kiriat Gat. Both women are of North African origin and both of them were hard working women who struggled on a daily basis raising their children and keeping their homes functioning. Until one day they, each one separately, found themselves in the eye storm of public debates

in Israel. In Israel, being an underclass woman (or man) of Mizrahi origin (Of Arab country origin) is a formula from which the stereotype of being right winger is produced. My aim in this talk is to defy this stereotype.

The story of Knafo, for those who may not know begins like that of about 35% of the Mizrahi women in Israel who are single mothers and who live below the poverty line. When Nethanyahu began his economic growth plan in 2003, Knafo who was working full time in the kitchen of a military camp in BAHAD 1 -near Mitzpe Ramon where she lives –-she

was informed that her salary and her complementary payments paid by the national security will be cut in half. In other words in August 2003 she was going to get 1250 NS instead of 2500 NS. The average income in Israel at the time was 7000 NS.

As a spontaneous reaction to what she saw as an economic disaster she decided to go to the Minister of Finance and tell him what she thought of his economic plan. Having no money for a bus ticket, she decided to hike  to Jerusalem no matter how long it would take her. This protest has  inspired many Israelis and other single mothers joined her. On the way during her hike Bedouins, Soldiers and Kibutzniks provided her with food water and road guidance. For a moment she has brought together many of the conflicting groups in Israel, only for a moment. When she finally arrived to Jerusalem she was given the national flag and in a triumphant gesture she covered herself with it and entered the city of Jerusalem after walking 200 km during five days.

The media loved it and the public had something to chew. “If she came all the way to struggle against the governmental policy and the states institutions what was the point of wearing the flag?” some of them asked. “Didn’t it have the mark of reinforcing the stereotype that Mizrahim are right wingers?” others said. This condemnation is not surprising as the stereotype is rooted very deeply in the Israeli political debate and maintain the simplified dichotomy of Mizrahim tend to vote for the right and Ashkenazim (Israelis of European origin) for the left.

Looking closer on who she was and what was the context of her struggle intricate the picture.  It was part of a more complex situation which demanded wit and sophisticated action which Knafo did have to a certain degree. For example she refused to join other groups of deprived people such as the Mizrahi women in Katamonim led by Ayelet Sabag (Marciano) who tried to push in the direction of using violence. Another example found in one article quoting her saying in the name of the single mothers: We will not send hungry children to the mandatory service in the army. We could

hear in her rhetoric how she criticized Nethanyahu for pouring money on the settlement instead of on the poor in the periphery.

I would like to suggest that listening more carefully to what she had to say and how she acted one could see that Knafo’s wearing the flag was something that had nothing to do with her being a rightist or a leftist. For a woman whose children future looked so dark, she did not care what her political image was. What leftists, women’s organizations or even the Mizrahim movements thought of that was of little significance at that moment.

In a simplified abstract terms her rhetoric and her waving the flag may appear to be contradictory or even point at her being politically  inconsistent, but in any case it cannot be viewed as superficial. It was part  of a more intuitively complex behavior of a woman whom we cannot dismiss by reducing her actions to one dimension of political tokens.

However, the left camp in Israel is known to be holding economic problematic position. On the one hand it is based on socialist tradition inspired by the founding fathers and on the other hand its practices are of neo-liberal nature. Hence, when Knafo started a protest that looked somewhat as a socialist revolt it played to the hands of the NGOs and

they very conveniently embraced her and appropriated her struggle.

Knafo, who admitted her distributing bank checks that were not backed

with money became their heroine as she fought one of the central

capitalist symbol. But precisely because of that she was condemned by

her peers in Miztpe as they interpreted the same move as shameless and

as hearting their reputation. This point is of significance as it shows the

ideological differences that divide upper middle class liberals who

happen to be leftist, in our story, and underclass of whom the majority are

of Arab origin. My contention is that both sides overlooked the moral

forces which motivated her.

Her protest should be viewed within the context of economic protest

aimed at the governmental policy and not an act aimed at de

legitimization of the whole state. In this respect what she did was not

different from what the leftist political camp does. This camp may

protests against Mr. Sharon’s policy and against the occupation but it does

not de-legitimize the state. There is where the line is drown. What both

Knafo and the leftist camp want to achieve is subordinated to the

command of humanistic and moral action which they believe is above the

state and therefore right to do. They both want the state to submit to this

morality.

*

This is Sara Lahiani. A woman, single mother who raised her children

with the faith that surprised many Israelis as this faith was again

inconsistent with the stereotype of Mizrahim support of the right wing.

For those who may not know her story, Lahiani is the mother of Tali

Fahima. In August 2004 Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz decided to place

her in administrative detention (arrest without trial)… Mofaz said: “She

was involved and took part in planning a terrorist attack in Israel.” Judge

Uri Goren, who authorized her arrest without being charged, said: “I have

reached the conclusion that Tali Fahima is determined to perpetrate a

terrorist attack against Israeli targets and to obtain combat material from

Palestinian terror activists.” (Quoted from “Throwing the book at Tali

Fahima,By Orit Shohat 31. 12.04 Haaretz.).

Tali is now appealing to the high court hoping that she will be released

soon.

My focus today is on the mother of Tali, Sara Lahiani, who is sitting with

us here today. In a conference of Mizrahi women in January 2005 Mrs

Lahiani gave a talk and avowed that she is responsible for educating Tali

to be sensitive the other’s pain. She has also said that her children heard at

home that Arabs were people with whom she had lived back in noth

Africa and they should not believe the racist prejudice that they hear

about Arab. This is her explanation to her daughter’s choice to chat at the

net with Arabs and to her motivation to go to Genin to see for herself the

Palestinian real life. Her children, Mrs. Lahiani summed up, were

educated to become humanists and not to deny their own Arab roots.

The GSS, she continues made her and her daughter pay the price not only

to punish her personally. The GSS (General Security Service) is acting as

a counter educator, thus warning anyone of what will happen had he or

she might get an idea of supporting the Palestinian struggle. Now, as she

recalled, she has ignored the GSS “educating” warnings to those who  won’t behave themselves politically and her daughter pays the price for  following her moral faith.

In Mrs. Lahiani’s opinion, this has a Mizrahi and an underclass aspect as

she has put it. “If it was the prime minister son, it wouldn’t happen to

him.” Indeed, Lahiani is right; we saw what has been done to the daughter

of the former chief of staff Moshe Yaalon. Yaalon’s daughter whom it

was circulated was a refusnik, did not really stand in the middle of the

GBB attention and just like other refusniks her step was appended to her

as virtue.

At this point allow me to take a stand and say that the following: The

young leftist or rightists who become refusniks come from Middle class

ranks, whether they are Mizrahim or Ashkenazim, when they take this

decision, unlike the underprivileged, they are well aware that they will be

supported by their friends and families. They have firm economic ground

that can provide them with social, political and economic backing. Hence,

they come forward to the public arena and make their disobedience a

virtue. At the same time, there is another type of disobedience,

socioeconomic disobedience that is indirectly related to the Israeli

Palestinian conflict, and that is the disobedience of the deserters. The

group is large and often they are not even drafted. The group consists of

exempted soldiers who are found to be incompetent for the service

because of their being involved in crime, drugs and social disorder. Many  of them are of Mizrahi origin whose background is generations of  unemployment, poverty and deprivation. The figures are confidential so

we cannot estimate how many they are. The CBS usually define children

as under the age of 18 and as this group is under and above this age it is

difficult to estimate their number.

There are many reasons why I suggest not to ignore them when

discussing disobedience and military refusniks, I will mention only the

crucial one and that is the consequences of their exemption. Like the

conscience refusniks, the deserters are those soldiers that did not

accommodate to the military service, hence impeded the militaristic

goals. This way or another they are abstaining from contributing to the

was and occupation effort of the state. Being privileged or

underprivileged, the rage and frustration against the army is what

nourishes their motivation not to be in the army. The rage of the deserters

against and that of the refusniks are directed against the state.

This argument might seem feeble and misplaced, but this is only because

problems of social justice and civil disobedience questions are treated

separately within the neo-liberal discourse.

Being a Mizrahi woman of lower class who educated her children

according to humanistic values and Arab legacy what Lahiani has done  was precisely to associate what neo-liberalism wants to keep separate:  Social rights, human rights and political rights. In this respect I see

Lahiani as a true heroine amongst women whose lives are completely

taken by struggling to survive. This, however, did not take away her faith

in human values.

In conclusion: Lahiani and Knafo are not women in black; these are

women whose lives are painted in black. They both took action from their

position as mothers who want to protest their children, a position that

might not be coherent with feminist categories and leftist conviction.

They were not interested in feminist theories or liberal ideologies nor

were they interested in how their action looks in the eyes of the GSS or in

the eyes of the politicians and peers. They remained faithful to their life

values and dignity, and to their children’s education and future. Therefore

feminist theories and the leftist women politics should in my

understanding accommodate themselves to these women and study what

impact they have as active subjects on the conflict rather then looking for

their behaving according to pc codes. In other words, the analysis of the

social situation and the political action, the search for conflict resolution

cannot avoid crossing these women’s road and include them in the

journey to peace.


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