You – I – We* UNITED AGAINST #discrimination #violenceandwars #poverty

As an activist and feminist, I take my place on the front lines of resistance. I stand against the oppression of patriarchy, hatred, discrimination, violence, and wars. I resist the patriarchal system with every fiber of my being, in a body that is still claimed by the state. A state that aims to control not just my earnings, but also my reproductive rights, my health, and my autonomy. With every ounce of strength, I raise my voice against the System that seeks to manipulate my words and poison my thoughts, beliefs, and emotions through the law and the societal constructs that surround us.

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I fear my present, am anxious about the future, and wonder how I survived the past – how much trauma has this body of mine endured, and still doesn’t belong to me. I live in a system where I work tirelessly to afford air, water, food, electricity, heating, land, a roof over my head, to repay debts from past governments, to cover debts of the future. I live on credit, my account is always in the red, always in debt, and I can’t plan my tomorrow. I have no time to dream, and when I do, it’s only of survival. I remain silent in the face of workplace bullying because I can’t afford to start over, as I’m already drowning in debt. I dare not even consider the idea of having children, as I fear I won’t be able to provide for them.

Nonetheless, today I find myself on the front lines of resistance. And I am not alone. You stand beside me. I may not know what drives you to stand with me. Your story and identity might differ from mine. Yet, I appreciate your solidarity, joining me in expressing our shared defiance. Together, we will listen, and learn from each other’s experiences. Our experiences are our power – the power of collective feminist action.

We*, feminists and activists of Bosnia and Herzegovina, advocate for women’s rights across rural and urban landscapes. We represent diverse identities: returnees, Roma women, lesbians, gender non-binary individuals, bisexual and transgender women, women with disabilities, those from families of the missing, young and elderly women, employed and unemployed, parents, single parents, parents of children with developmental challenges, homemakers, and entrepreneurs. Together, we stand united against gender-based violence, systemic injustice, and violations of our rights, offering support and solidarity to one another and embracing our rich diversity.

In 2024, we still live in a state where the system does not function, while we are confronted by the perils of climate change, wars, and recessions. Wars remain a constant in our lives – once started, they do not cease, and new conflicts emerge. One leads to another – violence becomes increasingly explicit – women are killed because they are women, wars and famine claim lives indiscriminately – climate change threatens our future. What is more challenging? What is worse?

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Today, on March 8, 2024, we stand resilient on the front lines, relieved that gunfire is absent in our surroundings. Yet, gunfire once echoed. We are intimately acquainted with the array of emotions that accompany warfare—fear, despair, disillusionment. When war engulfs us, mere survival consumes our thoughts. We set aside other life matters to prioritize peacebuilding, disregarding the seismic shifts in our world and the apprehension for a tranquil, joyous tomorrow.

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And so, while we still have a voice, WE* want to express our dissent, our resistance, our pain—stop the wars IMMEDIATELY, stop the violence IMMEDIATELY, stop the discrimination IMMEDIATELY, eradicate poverty NOW!

The war in Palestine affects us all! End the war in Gaza NOW! Investigate war crimes! No act of violence should go unpunished!

We insist on the respect of our human rights and living free from violence! Grant us the space to breathe, the freedom to choose, and the support and protection to become the best versions of ourselves!

For us, International Women’s Day – March 8th, can only be commemorated through resistance.

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