We wanted to meet with and talk to women around the world who are fighting for change and who are the protagonists in the fight for life and freedom today. Afghan, Yazidi, Iranian, Kurdish, African, South American, Indian, migrant women. Different and far from us and yet so close in their desire to change, to transform suffering into leadership, marginalisation into a push for life.
We have done this in Women Church World this month in the simplest of ways: the scribing of 10 letters by Italian female writers who - we are sure - will somehow reach out to the furthest parts of the globe. The language of literature, like that of freedom, is universal. Despite the oppression in the world still being so great, the voices of women today are strong, and capable of crossing borders of all kinds. Their voices demand to be heard.
Viola Ardone has written to the Afghan woman who has had everything taken away from her, even her face, but who does not resign herself to being, as men would have her: a thoughtless ghost, a life she does not experience. Behind the burka, she is there; she is alive and thinking. Similarly, under the hijab, there are the Iranian women who have the courage to demand their future in the streets. The letter to them is by Silvia Avallone. To Kurdish women, the first to shout out “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi”, Women, Life, Freedom, is penned by Carola Susani.
Mariapia Veladiano’s words are addressed to the Yazidi women who brought down the West’s “wall of distraction” when the Islamic State attempted to destroy their people.
The letter by Dacia Maraini is directed to the African women who are caught between a backwardness that continues to punish them and a modernity that nevertheless denies them their rights.
Nadia Terranova writes to the girls who were born during wartime, the fragile little women who have to face a difficult and evil world. Igiaba Scego to a Yanomani girl whose lands have been invaded and sacked in the Amazon gold rush. Elena Janezeck’s letter to the invisible and excluded migrants.
There is Maria Grazia Calandrone too who gives voice to an Indian girl who refused an arranged marriage imposed by her family.
Nevertheless, what about the men? They too are present in the March issue of Women Church World; Edith Bruck addresses them in her letter. Her words are as heavy as boulders. She writes, “It is the weakness of men that triggers violence, rape, the murder of those who leave you. Not love”.