RAWA, August 23, 2020
Honoring the memory of Cristina Cattafesta, a defiant Italian woman!
RAWA with the rest of the Italian friends vow to continue standing by the causes she was committed to
Early in the morning on August 7, 2020, we were all stunned with a heavy heart to hear about the death of Cristina Cattafesta, the beloved friend and sister of RAWA members. We extend our condolences to her partner, Edoardo Bai, her mother, sisters and members of CISDA on the terrible loss of this magnificent woman.
Cristina was an Italian activist who gravitated towards RAWA’s standpoints and struggle when she happened to meet a RAWA activist at an event on March 8, 2000, and since then remained committed to supporting RAWA and other revolutionary and democratic-minded forces in Afghanistan. She travelled several times to Afghanistan and Pakistan during the Taliban’s mediaeval era, and then began to arrange group trips of other Italians every year to Afghanistan in order to raise awareness about the work and struggle of revolutionary forces of Afghanistan to the Italian organizations, media and intellectuals.
Mar.8,2006: Cristina addressing a RAWA event in Kabul.
During the dark rule of Taliban, Cristina and few other progressive Italian women laid down the foundation of “Coordinamento in Sostegno delle Donne Afghane” (CISDA), and she remained its director till her last days. Through this organization and in an organized and disciplined way, she pursued her support to social and political activities of Afghan women. Over the past two decades, Cristina and her colleagues delivered valuable services to RAWA and Afghan women; helped them to establish literacy classes, schools for Afghan children, handicraft workshops, health clinic and few other income-generating projects. In addition to her fundraising efforts, she has travelled many times with RAWA members to remote provinces of Afghanistan taking all the security risks to personally see the programs.
Thanks to the efforts of Cristina and CISDA, RAWA members got the chance to attend numerous programs in Italy and other European countries where they unveiled the atrocities committed by the ruling Jehadi fundamentalists, Taliban and the US-installed regime and let the Europeans know the truth about the ongoing tragedy in the occupied Afghanistan. Cristina and her partner, Edoardo, have always welcomed Afghan activists at their home leaving at their disposal all the resources they possessed. The home of this couple in Milan was the place to stay for revolutionaries from Afghanistan, Kurdistan, Palestine, Algeria and Turkey.
Mar.29,2010: Cristina and Carla are being welcomed in a RAWA orphanage.
Even though she had a high level of education and adequate experience in anti-fascist and anti-imperialist movements, she was often talking with a typical modesty about how her life changed since she got to know RAWA and learnt a great deal of … lessons in the course of joint works with them. She said: “I learnt from RAWA how to identify enemies of people and then fearlessly lead the way to an unwavering fight against them, and to run a women’s organization by creating political opportunities for them.”
In the wake of growing armed uprisings of Kurdish women guerrillas against the onslaught of ISIS, Cristina rushed to stand by the Kurds and visited them on the battleground. On her way back from Diyarbakir to the Turkish airport in spring 2018, she was detained and jailed by the Erdoğan’s police on the charges of supporting Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Her fearless spirit has always been a learning example for her colleagues. In response to the safety concerns of the Italian delegation travelling to Afghanistan at the time when security situation was deteriorating, Cristina, while planning the trips, often used to downplay the threats with a sense of humor and unique jokes trying to tell RAWA members that her life was not precious than that of RAWA members and she would consider it an honor dying alongside with them in Afghanistan.
Sadly, dear Cristina is not with us today, but her diligence, struggle, lively spirit and kindness will be remembered in our heart forever. RAWA with the rest of the Italian friends vow to continue standing by the causes she was committed to.