Saturday, 8 March 2014

8th March International Women Day

In this day as in any other day my routine is the same. I stumble across the train station in the morning and pick up the newspaper from the red boxes. In the train, I am offered a myriad of faces that is inevitably going to chance the day after.
I should celebrate. Being a semi-independent white woman in the western society is a prize many spend a life time trying to win. I spend my days in classrooms listening to middle age scholars who have their lives already established.
Then I come back in a tinted sky among other people flooding the train wagon with different smells and suspicious looks.
Often I get tired but today there are compelling stories of foreign clashes that steal my sleep. Celebrating the 8th March of 2014 is knowing that in Portugal there is a 17, 5 % of women in their sixties that suffer different types of violence. Those can be financial, physical, psychological, negligently and sexual violence. These are the same women who by fear and by having emotional ties with their offender do not officially complain about these acts.
I thought we had already exceeded these issues a long time ago, when women’s rights were proclaimed worldwide as well as documented.
A few pages ahead, while the train is still on track, there is a two page article on the exportation of minerals in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A few years back we had all heard about the Blood Diamonds and its overwhelming profits to the occidental nations such as The United States of America and Great Britain. After the established Kimberly Process Certification Scheme in 2003 little has changed.
Again we hear about these practices and how they influence thousands of populations being removed from their homes or, dramatic in the same proportion, their physical and moral abuse in the war zones.
Republic of Congo was removed from this scheme in 2004 because it was found unable to prove the origin of its gems.
Now, with the recent events, about 40,000 people are found refugees and there are approximately 5, 4 millions of deceased.
Given the situation in the country and the condition of the state structures, it is extremely difficult to obtain reliable data, but this is the information that comes in the newspapers. These are real images that were captured in recent and ambiguous days by reporters who attended these violent crimes that remain mostly directed to women or children.
It’s not only up to UNICEF and other NGO’s to urge action but also each person who’ll read this and who will decide if they want to continue reading the same unbearable and enlightening news about these individuals.
I don’t feel lucky anymore nor has my will for celebration grown up in the past few days. It is urgent to review the attitudes and consider the progress we want to achieve in the future.
There will always be a next train to catch.

Mariana Branco

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