Women's Appeal—No To Violence
AFRICA 93, UFAL Saint-Denis, UFAL Ile de France et al, France
November 15, 2005
We are women, mothers, young women, sisters . . . we are nieces, aunts, cousins, friends, lovers or neighbours. We make up half the population.
Half the sky. Half the world. But look hard at the photographs of the blazing suburbs . . . you will not see a single woman!
Now, when an irresponsible and provocative Minister insults those close to us and our families, French people, immigrants, foreigners . . .
Now when he claims "to clean out the districts in Karcher" or "get rid of the riff-raff" . . .
Now, when we weep over the death of two children, refugees in the obscure conditions deep within a transformer EDF . . .
Now, when we weep and deplore the death of a man, beaten to death in Epinay because he wanted to take a photograph of a street lamp . . .
Now, when cars, schools and police stations are ablaze . . .
WE APPEAL FOR THE VIOLENCE TO END BEFORE IT COMES TO A MORE DRAMATIC CONCLUSION
Because our children need vehicles to go to work or look for jobs.
They need schools to give them essential knowledge.
They need free prevention and care centres; they need to access immediate medical care.
They need public transport to move about.
They need firemen to save lives or put out fires.
They need postmen to deliver the mail. The community needs public services.
WE APPEAL first to our children, to those we love: we demand they go home, and calm down! We demand this because we have brought them into the world. Because we have carried them and nourished them. Because without us they would not be here. They do not have the right to destroy the life we have given them. They make us ashamed by turning into the things they have been called. They are not a rabble. They are not rubbish to be cleaned away. They are human beings who have a right to respect, equality and dignity. Like every other citizen, they have rights, but they also have responsibilities.
WE APPEAL TO THE POLICE FORCE TO SCRUPULOUSLY OBSERVE THE RULES OF THE REPUBLIC.
WE SIMILARLY APPEAL to those who misrepresent us and ignore us, to those who have instituted 'big brother' politics with disastrous results, who only negotiate with churches and imams, who cut public subsidies and community police, who spread hatred and helplessness, and beat us every now and then, but never give us the means to live with dignity. Behind these politics, there is also a contempt for women, those who fight on in the neighbourhoods, who campaign with insufficient means and support, for ways to counter violence: teams of women in solidarity, standing tall!
WE DEMAND a real emergency strategy for the suburbs which provides a real social policy for everyone, a policy of prevention and support for families from infancy, a high stakes schools policy, a real policy for social cohesion and an end to the ghettos.
WE WILL BE IN THE BURNING DISTRICTS, AND WE WILL DEMONSTRATE WITH THOSE CLOSE TO US, SILENTLY AND PEACEFULLY.
WE SEND THIS APPEAL TO ALL WOMEN.
THERE MUST BE THOUSANDS OF US TO INTERVENE AND PUT AN END TO VIOLENCE.
The above appeal was posted by several women's groups on the internet in response to the rioting in the French suburbs.
AFRICA 93 is an African women’s organization in departement 93, Seine Saint Denis, an area of northern Paris. UFAL (Union des familles laïque) was founded in 1988 to promote the nondenominational family movement.