In 2013 we, the activists from International Women Space (IWS), set ourselves the task of documenting the lives and stories of refugee women in Germany. We approached the project in the Latin American tradition of testimonial literature – looking to amplify the voice of the voiceless.
“In contrast to conventional writing about the colonial situation, which is produced at the centers of global power and near the apices of class difference, testimonial literature is produced by subaltern peoples on the periphery or the margin of the colonial situation. Thus the margins of empire are now „writing back“ in an overdue attempt to correct the Western canon and its versions of „truth“. Testimonial literature has been defined by George Yuidice as an authentic narrative, told by a witness who is moved to narrate by the urgency of a situation (e.g., war, oppression, revolution, etc.).” – Voices for the Voiceless
Two years on, after many stories being exchanged and many women working collectively on this project, IWS is pleased to announce the launch of IN OUR OWN WORDS. The book contains texts by and about women and includes 10 testimonials of refugee women in Germany: women who could have migrated, but wouldn’t have been given a visa. Women who became refugees in their own regions before attempting to reach Europe by the deadly routes available. Women fleeing war, poverty and environmental disasters caused by corporation’s greed, women fleeing persecution for not conforming to the gender they were assigned at birth. Women running away from their own families for not accepting domestic violence perpetrated by patriarchy.
IN OUR OWN WORDS is a documentation of brave women who have fought difficult realities, we are sure it will inspire us all in the struggle for emancipation. The choice of the launch date, the 25th of November, is not accidental – it is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Violence, specifically violence against women and gender persecution as well as the ways women find to survive such oppressions are common themes of the life experiences recorded in this book. One of IWS’s main demands is the right of women to be granted asylum on specific gender-persecution grounds, without fear of removal or deportation.
The International Women Space is a feminist political group of migrant and refugee women in Germany, it was formed in 2012 within the occupation of the Gerhart-Hauptmann School in Berlin Kreuzberg. IWS challenges dominant knowledge structures and fights against discriminatory policies and practices, which oppose the emancipation of refugee and migrant women and all women.
engl.dtsch. 256 Seiten 7,00 €