When did I begin to act in solidarity? Am I in solidarity? Has someone been in solidarity with me, heard my story? The significant issue is that every woman is in solidarity to the degree that she is ready to confront her own reflection in the mirror, to accept herself as she is and share a small part of herself with other women who need a story, advice, or a handshake without a false smile.
Solidarity is a choice which I have made and share with those who were or are in solidarity with me, who understand their special qualities and my special qualities. When I hear a story, I try hard to understand every word and to hear what is said by facial expressions, clasping hands in one’s lap, strange pauses between two sentences, and intentions to stop, begin another tack, or hush up what hurts.
And at the end of the story, silence resounds bitterly and boldly, not ready for more truth. I learned to also hear silence. A frightened smile which quivers on the lips relates a story. That story prompts my change, my decision to accept the ethic of care as my choice to as I am, to talk only with people similar to myself in this way. This is the choice of the ethic of care, guidelines for the solidarity values of equality in statements and thoughts.
All of this retelling, hushing up, jotting down, and even hiding stories prompts us to constantly learn who we are emotionally, socially, and politically from the beginning,. We are on our own to resist values and rules of life imposed by patriarchy and to avoid and prevent discrimination. We should constantly learn who is ‘the other’ in our story and if we are an ‘other’ in some other story.
I constantly ask myself different questions because of all of the things that have happened that we did not want. Will I again have the strength to confront the expressions of women from Pristina, Bujanovac, and Presevo? Will I be able to look them in the eye and say that I am sad that someone—in my name but without my knowledge—destroyed dreams, took away freedom, and stained honor? I don’t know; I just ask.
Our women’s solidarity is only the beginning of the defascization of all of us. We choose understanding over judgment, smiles over tears, and empathy over hate. The enemy does not expect that of us. Women’s solidarity is a policy of antifascism because our pain is the pain of others.
Women’s solidarity is international because national identity is only one of the differences in the world. To be part of women’s solidarity means to say no to patriarchy, tribute, discrimination, and the decisions of others. I choose to be disloyal to patriarchy because that is the beginning of my women’s solidarity. I learn to care equally about myself and others politically and emotionally. I choose solidarity because it is feminist politics. Feminists are not born; feminists are made.
JASMINA S. MITROVIC
Greetings to all women in solidarity!