September 17 was marked with a Women’s Forum which took place in Minsk unannounced and with all its details secret. The Belarusian society has questions in this regard, such as:
- What sources was such a large-scale event financed from (booking the Minsk Arena, transportation costs to bring the delegates, fees for the Russian performers, etc.);
- Why was the Forum secret and closed to anyone interested to attend;
- Who were the women present at the Forum and whose interests do they represent.
Message communicated by the Women’s Forum
- Representatives of the Belarusian Union of Women present and speaking at the Forum under the slogans and posters “For Belarus”, “For Lukashenko” speak on behalf of the patriarchal authorities.
- Deputy Minister Bogdan (being also candidate Lukashenko’s trustee during the 2020 election) stated that “in the last quarter of a century, women of Belarus have turned from housekeepers to female leaders”. But then Lukashenko concluded: “Men will sort it out”.
- Abusive and humiliating remarks were part of the rhetoric of the women participating in the Forum.
People protesting across Belarus were called from the stage “leaders of a destructive sect”, “a mad crowd”, Tikhanouskaya and Kalesnikava were referred to as “a lady whose horizons are limited by her kitchen” and “a flutist trying to play some melody on a foreign flute”.
Fem Group’s response message:
- We unite with all the women protesting in any way against the election rigging and the unprecedented violence the authorities subjected the peaceful citizens to.
- We are certain that abusive speech based on the difference of beliefs is unacceptable between women.
- We support women who represent our interests as a social group when going out under slogans “A friend for a friend” and “One together and all for one”.
- We share the women’s desire and need to speak out, among other things, their political beliefs considering themselves a subject of the changes occuring in Belarus.
We can’t be stopped, we can’t be broken!