I and my colleague, Katarina Härröd, recently had the privilege to take part in an Integrated Security Workshop arranged for Young Women of South Caucasus in Turkey. It is really an interesting concept; to integrate security and to create the space for activists’ own safety and well being – to make activism sustainable on all levels (personal, organisational, community).
In my case the integrated security workshop took me back to my childhood; to the first burning memory of gender inequality; of being treated differently just because society defined me as a girl. It was not until much later I learned about feminism and started defining myself as a feminist, however the roots of my belief in feminism is to find at the age of 3 or 4, even before I could name it.
It also took me back to my teens; growing up in a world which dramatically changed with the end of the cold war which resulted in the outbreak of numerous of violent conflict (which we in Sweden unfortunately did not hear so much about – I learned more about the collapse of the Soviet Union much later in life).
I remember my first visit to the post-conflict Balkans, I remember meeting that hatred; hating someone to the bones without any other reason than the pure thought of belonging to one ethnic group – the frustration and anger when being face to face with that kind of hatred.
I think what the Integrated Security Workshop did it made me travel back to the roots of my activism – and it really made me realize how important it is that we fight against inequalities and injustices every day – no matter how small or large they might seem. The fight goes on; we have to walk the talk and use our privileges to give voice and space to less privileged fellow human beings.
For more info about the Integrated Security Workshop visit – texts below are also from the manual; http://www.integratedsecuritymanual.org/