The Seventeenth PitchWise Festival of Women’s Art and Activism (PW) in Bosnia and Herzegovina 2022
FEMINISM DID NOT WAGE WARS – the Patriarchy did!
The CURE Foundation celebrates the seventeenth birthday of the PitchWise Festival of Women’s Art and Activism, which begins on Thursday, September 8, 2022 at 18:00, and ends on September 11, 2022 in the afternoon. The entire program will be held in Sarajevo.
During the seventeen years of organizing the PW, the CURE Foundation has created a space for connecting and networking feminist work and culture and bringing together artists and activists from women’s groups from BiH, countries in the region and abroad. So far, we have hosted over 1,000 socially engaged artists, activists, theorists, feminists and women’s rights defenders.
We, the organizers of the PitchWise, are primarily peace activists who work wholeheartedly to build peace in BiH and around the world, and we consider it political action to share our own experiences and the experiences of our sisters, friends and comrades in the war, post-conflict, and in the process of dealing with the past and building peace. We believe that women are the ones most affected by wars and the post-war period, although we never choose war ourselves. We, women activists, despite the fact that we have maintained the functionality of our communities, are excluded from peace negotiations, political agreements, excluded from the decision-making process on post-war reconstruction of the community and the state and excluded and marginalized in relation to all positions and decision-making process about lives.
We are organizing this year’s Festival with the aim of telling a different story, the story of the defenders of peace about building peace, tolerance and respect, and to share experiences of activist resistance to war and oppressive policies in the Balkans.
We did not choose wars. Peace is our choice and our right.
FEMINISM DID NOT WAGE WARS – the Patriarchy did!
Bosnia and Herzegovina is a patriarchal state. The countries of the Western Balkans are patriarchal states. Most countries in the world are patriarchal states. Feminist movements that have developed in the last 50 years or so have carried the ideals of equality and emancipation of all, and advocate social justice. In those countries where the feminist movement has become a political determinant, significant progress has been observed in the freedoms and social and political rights of citizens, and this includes Norway, Denmark, Finland… In our region, the feminist movement is opposed to nationalist, misogynistic and androcentric policies. Our movement may not be so massive, but it is slowly waking up and it is getting louder and louder…
All of us, feminists of the Western Balkans, inherit the legacy of building peace and solidarity. We all have experience in peace activism, and not only during the war, but also 30 years later when we actively work on dealing with the past and promoting a feminist approach to justice. Many of us have survived the terrors of war, trauma, loss, injustice, violence, sexual violence, and we still heal open wounds both on our body and in our soul. Our scars are woven into our approach, understanding and support aimed at those who are still seeking their justice. Despite the painful experience and lessons learned, today we are again faced with the threat of escalation of new conflicts, social insecurity, poverty, injustice, disunity, fears and destabilization of peace in the region.
Once again, the patriarchy with its representatives preaches the idea of conflict, brings unrest, propagates discord, brings fear and anxiety among the impoverished and disenfranchised population. Wars are started by people whose policies are based on patriarchal postulates such as elitism, political and economic power over others, nationalism, racism, fascism, homophobia, and clerical fascism.
Peace activists and feminists in the Western Balkans are worried about all the events in the world, the wars in Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Palestine, Somalia, Myanmar, Ethiopia… The list of wars in the world is changing day by day, and all for the benefit of individual powerful men.
Therefore, for all of us whose lives around the world are exposed to various oppressive policies and wars, policies that express their views against women’s rights and freedoms, policies that do not allow women and girls the right to a dignified life – for us who have always provided resistance to every patriarchal action – we organize and dedicate this year’s PitchWise Festival of Women’s Art and Activism!
We have always resisted and will continue to resist any oppressive politics, violence and war. Our strength grows out of every woman, no matter how loud or quiet, whether we have just raised our voices or have been doing so for years and no matter how we raise our voices.
We launched the Festival:
guided by the need to occupy an abandoned and neglected public space and transform it into a meeting place that brings together socially engaged artists, activists, theorists, feminists and anyone interested in women’s issues in BiH and in the region;
to provide a safe and open space for a new generation of artists and activists;
to never give up and, thanks to solidarity and networking with sisters around the world, create a history of resistance so that all women are treated equally.
The main goal of the PitchWise Festival as an idea and community of people working to establish gender equality is to make and promote positive changes in the immediate environment through engaged art and activism.
Seventeenth PitchWise brings us numerous exhibitions, creative workshops, lectures, performances, plays, book promotions, discussions aimed at conveying a different story, a story of peacebuilding, tolerance, respect, humanity and a story about what peacekeepers in this region have survived, experienced and how they resisted and said NO to war and all oppressive policies.