This Earth Day, four women defenders from four countries came together to reflect on their struggles defending the body-territory. They emphasized that the relationship of women’s bodies with the earth, its natural resources, and the mutual care that this implies, is reflected in the types of threats and forms of violence against women’s bodies and against the earth that emanate from the same capitalist-patriarchal system that seeks total domination of both territories.
Femicide is a crime foretold, warns lawyer Karla Micheel Salas. Announced, frequently by the victim herself, in denunciations and desperate cries for help that are ignored by the authorities and society. Announced by the conditions of discrimination, threat and vulnerability in which so many women live. Announced, by the numbers of femicides that increase daily. Announced, because of the capitalist-patriarchal system in which we all live, a system that devalues the life of women, especially if they are poor brown migrants with disabilities.
If any country on earth should be breathing a huge sigh of relief about now, it’s Mexico. Four years of bashing, bullying, trade threats and white supremacist machinations now ends with the ignominious exit of Donald J. Trump.
The country was still reeling from the impact of hurricanes Eta and Iota when a new crisis hit Guatemala last week, this one the product of a history of accumulating pressure in the country. The political crisis revealed public outrage of broad sectors at government corruption and impunity, particularly aimed at the Guatemalan Congress.
They say coronavirus doesn’t discriminate, that it puts us all at risk, that it dictates an equally threatening future for all humankind, but pre-existing inequality for women–the largest group of people discriminated against–ensures that the virus does discriminate.
It was the largest and the boldest Women’s Day march in the history of Mexico City. Tens of thousands of women pulsed through the downtown streets, a river of violet mirrored by the jacaranda trees in full spring bloom. Women of all ages, sectors, classes, barrios, schools and political and sexual orientation marched; they filled the streets with their bodies and their cries.
When four thousand women from forty-nine countries met in a Zapatista community to find ways to end violence against women, we knew what we were up against. Many, if not most, of the women brought with them the scars of gender violence. We also knew we were meeting at a critical and contradictory point in the history of women’s movements–a point when an all-time high in public attention and mobilization coincides with a rise in the violence the movements aim to stop.