[eng] Andrea Balart - The art of small victories

To great aggressions, small victories. Feminism often takes the form of parties that come to an end. Everything ends, sooner or later. The human condition is bounded by birth and death, as Hannah Arendt noted. It is also bounded by the ground on which we stand and the sky that stretches above us. Truth, what we cannot change, says Arendt. It also bounds us. The truth is tenacious, it is stubborn, it makes its way in an arid and rocky land until it comes to the surface, like the sprouting of an obstinate seed. Death snatches the momentum from us, even so the truth is still there. 

Feminism is the revolution of truth. Of the tenacious truth. The one that emerges from underwater to take a breath and end the party. The patriarchy has had to settle in silence and lies to survive. It is an absurd organization. Its antidote is love and sisterhood. Feminism is also the art of sisterhood. Like all art, it takes work. It is a refined art, elegant and simple at the same time, with such a capacity, that it has managed to break the infamous protection nets of sinister party hosts. 

The party is over for Nicolás Espejo Yaksic, denounced in UNICEF New York and in the Fundación para la Confianza [Foundation for Trust], so far, and removed from a UN Women event last March for being an abuser. It is over for Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, PPDA, so far denounced by twenty-seven women for sexual violence and rape, seventeen of them in court. It is over for Nicolás López, denounced by at least twenty women for sexual harassment, abuse and rape, and sentenced to a prison term of five years and one day for repeated sexual abuse. And so many, many others who, if narcissism did not grossly blind their sight, perhaps deep down they saw it coming. The end of parties is great.

There are still more joys. The Court of Cassation, the highest court of the French judiciary, has just said that we have the right to speak. The Court rejected in May the appeals of Pierre Joxe and Eric Brion, definitively dismissing the lawsuits they had filed for defamation against Alexandra Besson and Sandra Muller, who accused them of sexual violence and sexual harassment. In these two emblematic #metoo cases, the Court found that the two complainants' comments rested "on a sufficient factual basis" to recognize them "the benefit of good faith," and that they did contribute to "a debate of general interest on the denunciation of non-consensual sexual behavior by certain men towards women." Two remarkable decisions that give a very strong signal to the courts that will have to decide on these types of cases, to keep on ending parties.

It is not only the truth that is tenacious. So is the attempt to hold on to shit. For staying invited to the rubble of the party. For "separating the man from the artist". For God's sake, not because Bertrand Cantat thinks of singing songs that talk about love is going to change what he is: a murderer, who hit Marie Trintignant twenty times in the head, to let her then agonize to death until dawn in bed. Who drove Krisztina Rády to suicide because of his violent behavior. There is no separation possible. Only a guild of cynics can defend such a thing. Only those who fear the closing of the curtains because they know that the end of the party will expose much more shit than what can be seen when the lights of the end of the show have not yet been turned on. 

Sisterhood is an inescapable responsibility. Unfortunately, there are also women who hold on to shit. It is a behavior that strikes me. Just like narcissists not completely blinded, deep down they know that the truth is tenacious and that when it comes to the surface you have to look at it more closely because behind it there are years of pain. Of time. Conversations. Money on psychologists, psychiatrists. Suicides. Effort. Fear. Courage. Deep down they know it's all true. They just belong to the guild of cynics. The dividends of belonging are more diffuse in this case than being part of the oppressors' guests. Why the hell would a woman defend the shit that is also coming her way? As Simone de Beauvoir so well observed, the oppressor would not be so strong if he did not have accomplices among the oppressed themselves. 

Before death kills us, let us fill ourselves with small victories that will clear the way to build a different world. As Aldo Bucchi said, right now there is a tiny, elf looking, disgrace of a man who is hearing news about broken families, shattered dreams, and endless suffering and he thinks: yes, give me more of that, look at me, I'm so powerful! We need to stop picking the worst of us to lead the rest of us! And as Jorge Drexler said, and in the end, I always grope, without a compass in the storm, but after the discouragement, every story, if it is to be painted, is painted, time and ink, time and ink, time and ink, time and ink. Let us write those stories of wounded ink and time, and end the parties that hurt us. Feminism is the art of small victories. Justice, pure politics and love.

* Andrea Balart is a writer and human rights lawyer. Feminist activist, co-founder, co-director and editor of Simone // Revista / Revue / Journal, and translator (fr-eng-esp). French-Chilean, she was born in Santiago de Chile and lives in Lyon, France.

© Andrea Balart.

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