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Dear Women in Black

Events at the NATO Summit in Strasbourg, April 2-5, 2009

This report went out on the Women in Black listserve on April 10, 2009:

Dear Women in Black,

In response to a call we put out some weeks ago, around 40 women, of Women in Black, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and other feminist organizations, gathered in Strasbourg for the days of action No-to-NATO. We started with a Women in Black “European encuentro” on the evening of April 2, attended by 32 WIB women from Spain, Italy, the UK and Denmark, joined by a large and welcoming group of Femmes en Noir from Paris and Strasbourg. We exchanged information about our groups, our similarities and differences.

The next day we attended the big International No-to-NATO Conference where we inserted two photographic displays of women/war into the plenary area, mounted a table in the information hall, and ran a successful workshop on “NATO = Security? Gender Questions.” It was attended by around 40 women, 14 papers were submitted and circulated, from six countries, and these were summarized in short statements by four speakers outlining “the feminist case against NATO”. First, against NATO as an international actor (patriarchal ‘bloc’ mentality, national ‘interests’ etc.). Second, against its military installations and bases (pollution, hazard, sexual exploitation). Third, against the deformation of our daily lives (by militarizing men, encouraging youth violence etc.). Fourth, against NATO as a perpetrator of wars (eg. Afghanistan, which have dire effects on women). We split into five language groups to discuss and produce strategies for action against NATO and EU militarization.

Finally, we held a fine vigil of about 20 women for 90 minutes, with many and varied banners, right at the heart of the mass rally. We did our best to remain a visible and peaceful band of women as the demonstration disintegrated under the pressure of extreme police aggression, and (sadly) due to the violence of a minority of irresponsible demonstrators.

To read the texts, hear our evaluations and enjoy our photos, please go to http://www.wloe.org

Source: http://wloe.wordpress.com/2009/04/29/events-at-the-nato-summit-in-strasbourg-april-2-5-2009/