2nd European Women in Black Conference took place On May 1 to May 3, 2014, in Leuven, Belgium. Women in Black is a world-wide network of women committed to peace and justice and actively opposed to injustice, war, militarism and other forms of violence. This movement first started in Israel in 1988, where women in black stood silently in the streets of Jerusalem to protest against war with Palestine. WiB movement in Armenia started in 2011, when “Society without Violence” NGO organized an event against domestic violence.
As a part of this big network, two members of “SWV” participated in this conference which united WiB activists from different European countries. During the meeting, people from every country shared their experience and made plans of actions for the future.
During the first day, participants talked about the issues their countries are facing. Even though every country had an issue that was unique for their region, nonetheless there was one issue that was common for the whole WiB movement. Lack of young people is a concern that this movement faces nowadays. Most of the people were above 40 years. On one hand, it’s very beneficial to have people who are so experienced and who can share their knowledge and wisdom. On the other hand, however, the action needs younger people to get involved, in order to continue fighting for justice.
During the conference many issues were discussed and actions were planned through workshops which included workshop on NATO, Solidarity and Peace – using differences to move on, Palestina – Israël and BDS, Non-violent communication, Feminist activism against nuclear weapons and Militarism in Europe, etc. Since we had so little time and so many workshops we unfortunately couldn’t attend them all. One of the most urging topics was NATO, its growing influence in Europe and militarization strategies.
During the last day there was a round-table discussion in small groups where we talked about 3 main issues and came up with actions that we need to take. The issues were the following:
The conference gave us energy to continue fighting for justice in our country. It was a rewarding experience to meet all the people and hear their stories. We gained a deeper knowledge about this movement and made new connections with more experienced members of WiB community. Most importantly, we gained hope that we are not alone in our fight
I want to thank the organizer for this opportunity. We are going to continue our journey and inspire others around us.
WIB Armenia group member