Commemorating May 24th International Day of Women for Peace and Disarmament
I declare myself an objector
"From my position as a woman, and with the difficulty to be a woman, I declare myself a conscientious objector, not only refusing the existence of armies, but I also object to this economic, social and cultural model" (Milena Romero, Colombia).
Ever since 1982 the 24th of May has been celebrated as The International Day of Women for Peace and Disarmament, a commemoration stemming from the numerous protests of feminist and pacifist women against the installation by NATO of nuclear missiles and opposition to wars and all militarist policies.
Today, within the vast movement of feminist and pacifist women, we want to remember the women who are conscientious objectors to militarism.
As Cynthia Enloe has stated, “when we think about conscientious objection, at first we think about men. We make that assumption”. In fact, it is only in two countries that women have the obligation to perform military service, Israel and Eritrea. In both countries, there are women’s movements refusing conscription into the army.
However, the fact that women declare themselves objectors to militarism occurs all over the world, and it is precisely women who have contributed the most to giving a wider dimension to being a conscientious objector.
Some examples of women who objected to actively participate in the Second World War, or in the armed defense of their country, can be found in the United States, Great Britain, Sweden and in other European countries. Later, declarations of women as conscientious objectors occurred in countries like France, Germany, Belgium, Turkey, South Korea, Paraguay and Colombia, to cite a few examples. In the case of Spain, we can point out the campaigns opposing women in the army (Con nosotras que no cuenten) and the women who are fiscal objectors to military expenditures.
Analysis and thoughts that have emerged from feminist and anti-militarist groups show that women object to militarism for various reasons:
- Objection to recruitment by the Army (in times of peace as in time of war)
- Objection to buildup of arms (from the objection to not contribute with one’s taxes to an objection to working for weapons industries)
- Objection to armed intervention in other countries
- Objection to the militaristic culture
- Objection to the militarization of society
- Objection to the patriarchy and its hierarchies
Hilal Demir, a Turkish objector, summarizes these reasons: “When I thought about what to put in my public declaration, it was very clear what point I wanted to explore in my text: the causes of wars, how people are used in wars, how militarism present in daily life prepares us psychologically for war and violence, how this system perpetuates a social life structured around gender roles. In my declaration, I wanted to reject all these points”.
As this is the time to file income tax forms in Spain, Women in Black against War invite you, men and women alike, to be objectors to military expenditures. Please visit the following web pages (in Spanish) and take action:
Recommended reading (in English):
“Objectors of conscience. Anthology”.
Publication of the International Resistors to War. December 2012.
Or on the page http://www.wri-irg.org:
Objectors of conscience. Anthology
Translation: Trisha Novak, USA