Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) was invited to the Women in Black Gathering held in Bangalore, India from November 15th to 19th. Heela Faryal attended the conference organized by Women in Black India, led by Dr. Corrinne Kumar who is also the founding member of Vamochena.
The main event was the ‘World Court of Women against War, for Peace’, held on Nov. 16th in Mount Carmel College. Women from all parts of the world – Bosnia, Iraq, different parts of India, USA, different parts of Africa, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, Palestine, Israel, UK, Armenia, Hawaii, Iran, Philippines, Kosovo – spoke at length about issues such as war crimes and the role of NATO, genocide, women’s rights violations, militarization, use of nuclear weapons, racism, apartheid, refugee crisis, poverty and homelessness, rights of minorities (nationals, tribes, transgender, caste etc.). Following the painful testimonies offered by the victims to the 8-member jury, powerful stories of resistance were shared from all parts of the world (through videos and individuals themselves). In the end, the Court called for an end to occupation, war, and human rights and women’s rights violations, encouraging unending resistance for a hopeful tomorrow. There were a number of traditional Indian dance and music performances in the event, with a powerful performance by an Indian artist depicting the high rates of rape and low rates of convictions of rapists in India.
The next two days were spent in workshops and plenary sessions, again covering the issues mentioned above in more detail. RAWA spoke on the issue of ‘Injustice, inequality and violence against women in Afghanistan’, talking about the bogus war waged by the US and its allies, its backing of Islamic fundamentalism (Jehadi government, Taliban and ISIS) and how this has ultimately devastated our country and drowned it in war crimes, human and women’s rights violations, insecurity, poverty, a mafia economy, corruption, and drug production. The lies told by the Western media were exposed with facts and figures which was particularly important for most people who came from the US and other European countries.
A two-hour vigil was held on November 18th in Bangalore city to renounce issues ranging from wars and occupation to violence against women and poverty. Participants from all countries held their banners of powerful messages. The evening was ended with a candlelight vigil.
During the four-day event, Faryal met with some prominent activists and figures. Kamla Bhasin, well-known feminist activist and coordinator of One Billion Rising in South Asia, Ananthi Sasitharan, activist from Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) from Sri Lanka whose main work revolves around finding the ‘disappeared’ Tamil activists who were captured and detained by the Sri Lankan government and never seen again, Luisa Morgantini, former Italian Member of the European Parliament and founding member of Women in Black, and Elahe Amani, an Iranian activist involved in Afghanistan.
The events ended on November 19th with a conclusion plenary session which summed up all the issues discussed in the days before, and also the next WIB international conference suggestions were gathered. The women from all parts of the world pledged their solidarity and unity in the face of the war and oppression in the world.