Last week I was inviting all that were in the proximity of Kaunas city for a performance piece “Nature Morte Avec Cendres, Rouilles et Cris” in POST gallery. It was the 8th of March, International Woman’s Day which somehow antagonises Lithuanians. Not sure if it is because of some reminiscence of the Soviet period or because of the lack of respect to women as equals, which I often notice in public and private discourses here.
Merely yesterday (15th March 2018) Lithuanian Parliament voted against including the question on ratification of Istanbul convention (which has been signed by Lithuania in 2013, but hasn’t been ratified until now) into preliminary schedule for spring. In the days prior to this voting, media was flooded by half-witted articles by some right-wing parliament members and an army of their supporters claiming, that the ratification of Istanbul Convention would result in huge increase the numbers of queers as well as of people changing sex. The misinterpretation was so drastic, that I was laughing to myself what an absurd it is. Upon one research via google, I found that even a petition against the ratification of Istanbul convention had been started in autumn 2017.
This did come as a shock to me, as I hardly understand what one should smoke in order to come up with such far-fetched interpretations of the concept of gender (as opposed to sex, which in Lithuanian describes the social aspect).
Along with these talks, I heard the Parliament is bringing back the discussion to ban abortions in Lithuania – bishops of Lithuania (not to forget — we are supposed to be a secular country, but we have a council of bishops that have their regular sittings with the members of Parliament. The minutes of those sittings are supposed to be public, but even upon request they are really hard to get a hold of) are coming up with this idea time and again, and time and again there’s a protest or two which puts the question in a halt. The problem is, I have the feeling that we’ve got the most stupid parliament we had in all of these years of Lithuanian independence. Therefore the possibility of introducing yet another completely idiotic and unreasonable idea as a “law” does not seem as an impossibility any longer.
So this is pretty much the backdrop of the thoughts behind the performance “Nature Morte Avec Cendres, Rouilles et Cris”, and it is in dialogue with the Black March of Polish women that are fighting their fight against the inhumane new proposals of complete ban of abortions in Poland. It is absurd how a woman is regarded as an object, a mere reproductive machine, and how her, OUR will and agency is trampled upon.
Thus Sunday the 18th of March I’ll have the brief moment of connecting the discourses of here and there (wherever those two are), putting the anger, the pain and frustration which are beyond words in an ephemeral image. Come join me.