Every March 8, women around the world celebrate and are celebrated. International Women’s Day aims to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women yet often the true cause of this celebration is masked by marketing agendas and materialistic goods. One local event this Tuesday in Nicosia reminds that Women’s Day goes beyond gifts and flowers. The ‘Reclaim the Night’ Street Parade will set off from Phaneromeni Square at 6.30pm and invites all people of the island to come together.
“For us, 8 of March is not a celebration. For us it’s a struggle!” say event organisers Kores Xapolytes and Sispirosi Atakton. “For us, March 8 is not a celebration to accept roses and gifts. It is another reminder of the need for the feminist movement to actively challenge the individualism of the neoliberal societies in which we live. Over the years, capitalism has ‘pinkwashed’ this anniversary, making it another day of consumption – an opportunity to flush out and commercialise all the struggles that have taken place for women’s claims to become visible. Last year, after public revelations from women about incidents of abuse, rape, sexual exploitation by people in positions of power (in churches, theatres, universities, etc.), we realised how necessary a voice from below is, that can raise these issues in the public sphere and give voice to our ‘invisible’ claims.”
So on Tuesday evening, at 6.30pm, they will take to the streets reclaiming the right to walk at night without fear. “We take to the streets reclaiming the public space because it belongs to us,” they add. “We take to the streets to stand next to every oppressed person, to every gender identity that does not fit into the heteronormative norm. Every immigrant, every sex worker, every homeless person, every drug addict who does not have the social or class privileges to be heard loudly. We take to the streets trying to change the way society still views women and even the way we see ourselves. We take to the streets because we feel the need to create collective structures and to practice solidarity and togetherness every single day.”
Alongside the street parade, a symbolic shoe exhibition will be set up as a sign of respect for the victims of femicide. People are invited to bring shows which will be given to people who need them. Music, song and poems will be heard throughout the evening and those attending are welcom to bring musical instruments to add to the lively spirit of the event.
Reclaim the Night
Women’s Day street parade by Kores Xapolytes and Sispirosi Atakton. March 8. Phaneromeni Square, Nicosia. 6.30pm. Facebook event: Reclaim the night Street Parade