On people’s and women’s anger : standpoint of a feminist journalist. By Alizée Pichot
I am finishing these lines on August 28th, 2022, 8:30 PM, a text that was begun in december 2019. I am still me a white non-binary transfem writer from France, still angry, still feminist, still antiracist and antifascist.
At the time these words are written, I have no home and write from a psychiatric hospital. As those lines are published, I want to begin with the energy of all the revolutions, from Tunisia to Honk Kong, never forgetting one face from the Jasmine Revolution in the Arab countries. Their anger displaced governments and changed forever the face of their countries, offering, as peoples, the possibility for democracy. The results were diverse but the idea is the same : trying, being, resilience in resistance is what lead us, people, to power. I am convinced that we have voices and that these voices shall be heard, hence the existence of this text exploring people’s and women’s anger and the necessity of hearing it.
Before entering bluntly my subject, I need to explain the « why » of my decision to tell the angers and the doubts, I need to tell you why I chose, as a journalist, to embrace my « I » about all the hate I see all around: our anger, the one we hold within, is toxic, hard as the rock and burning as acid can do. In January 2020, around the 3rd or the 4th, I finished a novel and with it finished for a while my way with fiction. Here, I will talk about our fears, our loneliness, our freedom, fear amongst all, tying us tightlty to our tomorrows within the inextricable web of our idelological systems so smartly built…
In a more global quest of understanding of violence, anger today, appears somehow as salvation. That word – anger – echoes today almost like a solution, not a miracle, but something that carries hope against everything.
I am going to write about the women who are beaten, about the bodies raped, the endangered children everywhere, about the ones who are humiliated and/or broken by sexual, emotional, and physical violence. Each and every one of us who’ve lived through this knows deep inside the responsibility and impunity of autocratical governments, sexist and racist states who act in the darkest and the golden corners of their institutions. We must talk about the anger of trans people, ignored migrants, students and artists judged useful or useless to our societies. These legitimate angers are joining the one held high by thousands of families separated by iron fences, left without dignity and rights. And I am of course, talking about ICE-like concentration camp or the Calais Jungle camps of death.
Moreover, women’s anger is ignored and stuffed into oblivion, women’s cries all around the globe are drowning into the oil pumps and into the laugh of Weinstein and its lawyers in grey…
When I think about women’s anger from all the times, I am surprised that we are still so calm… It seems that we’re waiting that something happens, that all the young women of this world becomes another Greta Thunberg or Amanda Lindberg so us, the olders, can rest a little bit. Why? Because this is how we’ve been taught how to live in the occidental democracies: a few elected ones will go to the front whilst the rest follows, runs or freeze. It’s a global PTSD.
The initial lines of this text were written the day after Boris Johnson was chosen again as prime minister of England. Since January 31st 2020, it is done : England is not a member of the European Union anymore and with him, Johnson leads the rest of Great Britain (including Nothern Ireland) towards a future that will be fascist. More precisely, fascism rises from the open doors to liberalism and a visible positioning of the countries through ultra-capitalist and nationalist politics. Emmanuel Macron, always waiting for an occasion to shine and do its rhetoric’s has reacted to the news via insisting on the need to play the rest of the game in « the respect of the high standards of Europe ».
I say, wtf?
The English population, diverse and divided, can now see itself isolated from the rest of the union formed by other countries where far-right movements are solidifying themselves by the minute. Our 21st century is sad, thinking it was as stronger than fascism.
We are far from living in democracies where one can speak and be listened.
England; France; Italy; Spain, Russia, USA, Canada, China, Isarel… so many sovereign nations in which politicians take the role of the hero and victim, fallen angels with nasty masters, the peoples. We shall not forget to feel and even sadness if we listen to them, for the chiefs of these countries perpetually engaged in geopolitical wars inherited from centuries of domination of men by men. The insidious capitalism disguises itself in mortgages without 0% interest, in three-weeks longer maternity leave, GAFA, CAC40, Ellen Degeneres, the Oscars and all these other dog names, everything mixes 6in inhumane and clinical visions of our world smelling like gasoline. Emotion is the enemy of profit while affection remains the nemesis of progress.
China, whatever may be the angle, becomes for all enemy number one. It’s easier to blame the Chinese because communism has changed, the road was cut too short. Covid-19 arrived perfectly to confirm the hate and the racist fears of all the whites of the world. We can keep on watching each other, keep on discreetly thinking that things are changing but hey… things are always changing and still staying the same. The powerful are cheering up with vodka or Moet in bulletproof chambers while we wait… We are not moving whislt money is getting cleansed on the poor’s’ back, being blinded away by the most dangerous criminals of the world. This money sleeps, quietly in banks, in Switzerland, Russia, Ukraine; France, Brazil, England; Iceland, North Dakota, Bahamas, Hong-Kong, Urugay and more…
At then of 2019, one good news: Right before Christmas, Donald Trump has received two orders of impeachment thanks to the opposition team of the democrats who managed to bring proofs accusing the POTUS in front of the nation committee for « high crimes and misdemeanours ». Pointed for corruption and traffic of influence at the congress, the silhouette of Trump bears now the weight of his crimes, aggressor, liar, rapist, criminal. Now, at the time where I am writing, Tuesday 24th august 2021, Joe Biden is president of the United States of America. On July 15th 2021, Biden and Kamala Harris decided to bomb Afghanistan, for the sake of war, for the sake of tradition, pretending to help the population there . We will know later, with time, in which way this decision has shaped the rest of the 21st century, plunging all of us in a dark web of secrets and wars that will not be cold but eminently warmed by the screams of the peoples in anger and those of the ones killed by bullets. I cannot write anything more than my hope for the souls of this country that is still looking out for himself. I hope for the USA to burn on its own foundations, so it may be built better.
Again today, the Earth is burning. I think of the giant trees in el parque Chapultepec de la ciudad de Mexico, I think of their deep roots and their big leaves; the kind of green that reminds me of all the forests. California and Greece burn, the north Pole melts, whales are dying and rhinos disappear. Amazonia is screaming its pain. France is burned away by psychopath pyromaniac whilst white-assed families keep sun-tanning on the white beaches of Hawaii.
At the end of 2019, right before the beginning of the 20s, images and flames from Australia scared us. We all understood that there is no other choice than getting used to violence on our planet. A question arises: should we submit to violence ? Should we really say yes to violence ? On the five continents, weapons of massive destruction and guns are selling and exchanged freely. Drugs are made, sold, assimilated, bodies are bought, assimilated, killed. Humans, in 2021 are still enslaved and sold in Canada, France, USA, Libya. Female-assigned babies are still being mutilated, excision and circumcision are still mundane practices, kids are forced to work under threat, migrant workers exploitation persists as racism does in any country held by corporations or white supremacist governments. All this violence signs, once more, the capital manifesto.
In all the Americas, invisibilized communities of first nations peoples still survive and live on stolen land, some managed to keep their land or survive on unceded territory. Colonial administrative control is still a thing and its consequences still hidden, entire populations are still deprived of rights and Justin Trudeau, highest man in Canada, negotiates international agreements to supposedly reduce pollution and excessive energy consumption whilst killing first nations and hiding the truth about colonization. This whole hypocritical system invests in the oil industry and builds pipelines on unceded first nations land in an obvious and eco-geco-cidal manner. This neoliberal logic pollutes History and highlights the coloniality of the Canadian Constitution by invisibilizing whole social groups and major human rights issues. I also think of Quebec, François Legault peeps’ and himself, all playing the game of who will hurt communities the most. I think of Canada insulting women of colour and first nation mothers and sisters and 2spirits, Muslim women targeted first, always, in our Islamophobic societies. I think of all the ones who are alone and those who are badly accompanied. I think of the members of the 55 indigenous communities in Quebec, their determination, and their fight for their rights and for the protection of all the lands. I think of the murdered girls and women from all the nations in Canada, of the tombs along the roads of the country and the blood spilling up until their white offices. I look at Canada and I accuse whoever’s in control of ideologically cultivating blindness and forcing on the people avoidance strategies in order not to apologize and pay back for the crimes of the past and those committed to this day. I think of Viviane Michel, president of the former First Nation’s Women Federation in Quebec, her smile, her beating heart and her courage. I remember sadly the day when the media talked about the discovery of 215 children’s bodies under the ruin of an ancient boarding school in Canada. Now there is no more excuse for condemning the Canadian and French and English established governments for the rapes and murders of indigenous children by the catholic church. Families hurt, the scars on the whole body, brain, spirit and soul. The pain. The blood. The lies. To you all who taught me empathy and how to not listen to the institutions, thank you.
I remember that in Haiti, after two huge earthquakes, the people is hungry, down in the streets to claim their voices against the lack of food, the blocus and about the economy and its huge breaks dividing the population between the rich, hidden inside buildings left alone by the state and the people, waiting for work in the sun. Haiti will reconstruct itself for another decade after the Irma and Matthew hurricanes whislt the men in power will keep fighting in enclosed bubbles. Haiti will be the same and different while France, England, Canada and the US – more globally the G8 – will send their tourists drink margaritas on the sand of their all-inclusive hotel.
Powerful Europe and North America are pretending to be nations united after having precipitated chaos in the Caribbeans through forcing their hands onto strategic zones ever since WWII. Political cabinets in Haiti are rivalizing in corruption, minister’s offices are displaced in hotels whilst the people on the streets are sleeping but – music, love, paint and people from Port-Au-Prince to La Havane, and Kingston, Puerto Rico and La Barbade – the translucid waters are coloured with blood flowing from the white blade of the shark-knife of the capital, bonded like water and oil for far too long.
In Brazil, Bolsonaro’s fascism and his armed troops are still unraveling the massacre of Earth and of a people’s unity. Violence is tearing apart Venezuela led by Maduro and still has to bear the ruins of the coup in 2017. Drug cartels have plunged Colombia and Uruguay into the arms of dictators, Russia is mingling with North-Korea, and we are lost, powerless. In Honk-Kong, in 2021 as in 2019 and before, citizens are loud and are the proof that civil disobedience is both efficient and dangerous. In many zones dominated by IT multinational companies, fashion, oil and artificial intelligence, activists for peace and the environment are getting shot, fighting with an amazing strength the position of an aggressive government.
While we wait… our silence kills.
Throughout all the middle east, religion and ideological wars are ongoing and humans are fleeing extreme violence. (don’t forget that rape is still a weapon of mass murder – rape is a weapon of war).
In Yemen, in between the bombs from one side or the other, children awaiting death are seeking for food and healthcare whilst the Saudis heads and Iran are fighting illusionary victories. Between Israel and Palestine, an apartheid and a genocide, Netanyahu and the Palestinian forces of liberation are playing like it’s game a match where the winners has the best allies. People are dying both sides, from Gaza to Jerusalem, a war that maybe wouldn’t exist without the scheme of colonialism. Trump is still happy, reddish – a monster in a burning fire, Biden taking it’s flee and mattresses full of money on the way.
In Algeria at the end of the year 2019, the peoples were protesting massively in the streets of Alger. Those rebellious attitudes from the people will continue until their realities of life are not recognize, with the Tebboune government and the ones who’ll follow. In 2021, in the time of Covid, we’ve seen thousands of people marching against authoritarianism in Colombia and South Africa. This premisse, us in the streets; could be the one of our freedom for the future, against corrupted head of states. LGBTQia+ communities of the world are resisting, surviving. Our resistance helps us shine with love, joy and resilience whilst our poorest brothers and sisters die alone. Everywhere, solidarity must overpower individualism. I write these worlds consciously because in our world, freedom can bring you to jail. Our freedom has the weight that holds men in prison for life, women locked up in their homes closed by invisible bars. Our frontiers are saturated with violence and human beings are drowning in the Mediterranean sea, loving us from its sunkissed depths. Our century has done that already, now a cemetary, the Mediterranean sea and the west have transformed the waters; the soil now covered by human sediment, right below the level of the sea, children, beings whose only crime was to hope more for themselves.
England, France, Spain, Russia, USA, Canada, China, Australia, Belgium … How to say ? How to say the names of the robbers, these nations that crushed peoples for centuries in the name of whiteness and how it could control the capital?
In Irak, the land has dried so many of the occidental egos, people’s arising are right now the most violent ever. After decades of occupation, the country, left with nothing by the americans finds itself in the middle of transpolitical conflicts. At the end of 2019, the french press agency AFP communicated the horrific number of 7000 people arrested during the last march in Teheran, Iran. Arrested for what ? For reaching for their rights, for their dignity, they acted for their life, they tried to get out of submission. And the women, all the women marching against feminicides from Las Ramblas de Barcelona to Santiago, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Lima, Sao Paulo? You, women of Paris or Montreal, do you hear your sisters from far away?
From there to here, we are singing, we the women, we the queers, we the feminist, the revolutionaries, we are singing, screaming; accusing directly the rapists ans the states guilty of supporting systemic violence within the different systems keeping us in order. Did you know that in Argentina, women live with twice the risk to be raped or murdered than in France? Women and people in the LGBTQia+ in south America are angry, angry in tears of fire and iron… I also think of my sisters in Africa, in the countries and the diaspora up to the Caribean. I think of their strenght, their love and their determination to go past the limits posed upon them, breaking open the glass ceiling imposed on them, making their crowns visible to us all. They are queens and they hold under their skin the secrets of the souls and the lands. I think of all the women loving women in the world, bathed in sorority and courage.
I also think, less happily of all the women who are in conflicts, impeaching one another to grow in the most beautiful possibilities of our selves. The women who are strict, religious or infused by poison hardly cooked with centuries of self-hate. I think of those who are veiled and insulted in the streets of France. I see the shapes of my sisters who are never left alone, watched at all times. Too many of us are cooped up in categories or boxes to limit our potential. I remember the older women from another world, too often forgotten, or self-forgotten. I softly think of those who cannot forget, sat in the streets; the light in their eyes still present and their legs too heavy to walk down their path.
I think of the women living in silver towers with too heavy precious stones on their neck, I think of the men and my words stumble because I am sad of the disease that has taken over them, making them fall down and killing in their dreams.
We have a thousand reasons to be angry but still we’re calm –
It is the end of winter in Mexico and the future I see in these pages is blurry. From behind my computer, France, my dear, I am watching you and I remember your streets full of joy, strenght anger, yes, but also disarray. On social media, artists, activists and journalist are outside, alongside the people, battling away in groups to say « no » - « no, we won’t accept the retirememnt bill or the systemic violence commited by the state. No we won’t accept a police state. We will stand against all the institutions built on an essentialist vision of France. ».
With the social movements come an atmosphere, the after-rave vibe in the morning, we breathe the revolution with the smell of tobacco and bad red wine. On the peripheral boulevards, it smells like dead dogs, urine and sperm, tears keep rolling down the cheeks and women’s screams in the night. Surrounded by hate and violence; still, women express themselves and are pushing, as they can, the limits of their existences.
Women, non-binaries, trans people, queers, – us – who are we ? How can we pretend to brandish equality if in our ranks we exclude all the ones who are not cisgender or passing as fem? How can we say sisters if a trans womon in no woman to you? How can you feel honest and proud to be women if your definition of womanness is closed up on itself and following the rules written by the patriarchy and cinema ?
Remember that the hallways of the courts in France are filling up day after day with the hundreds of families who lost a women, a mother, a sister, a friend – a human being – because of feminicides that could have been prevented. Those families join those of the young black men killed by police and by the state that is responsible of unjustified murders right on the streets of the fraternity country. Racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia are the main roots of murders, worldwide. Why can’t Macron or Legault recognize the systemic aspect of these violences is no mystery to me : they can’t take the fall for those before them.
So we have to talk to other men and turn the alarm in a thunderstorm. Old friends who are men, brothers, father, uncle, friends of today who are men are you listening ? I genuinely think that if I had not found art, I would be wearing the yellow jacket and lauching colored smoke in the clouds. When I began this text, I read a chronicle by my dear Titiou Lecoq on slate.fr writing these importants words « Can I go marching with my kids ? Risking to put them in the face of grenades, water canons […] they target the adult figure so the children are protected. We’re here. ». Police induced-violence, may it be systemic profiling, invisibilization of women’s voices, ignored rapes, negrophobia, arabophobia or our bodies examined… all those acts perpetuate discriminations that have catastrophic consequences on the physical, mental and emotional heath of the peoples who are targeted : poor women and men, people of colour, sex workers and trans people. Homophobia is still raging and the Aids epidemic that is coming back is hidden from the straight world. The state is handling our life technically instead of humanly and socially.
Just thinking ahead - How many feminicides in December 2021 ? How many women killed from their being being silenced?
Police brutality is also the abuses of power, the testimonials refused, the unjustified arrest mandates, physical assault in the streets, in the marches, in the neighbourhoods where the vast majorities are people of colour -the extreme use of weapons, exclusive and sexist language and the closed doors of the institutions of the state. Police brutality are the non-protection and the marginalization of sex workers, whatever their gender. Police violence is the police of the police doing badly their job, being corrupted.
Our controled bodies ; our marketed dreams, our censored sexualities – who are we if we’re not angry ?
« Surveil and punish the whore » wrote Thierry Schaffauser, sex worker and elected member of the Strass (Syndicate of sex workers) in a text published in 2017. Punished for what? Thierry’s words open our eyes on the actual situation of sex workers in France – he talks about what they think of the patriarchal and hypocritical position of the french society on the subject of prostitution. Who are the abolitionist feminists who are praising an essentialist vision of women and take up all the space in our mediaspheres disoriented by a global change of paradigm?
Who gives the mic to Marguerite Stern and her fellow white radfem whilst she writes transphobic tweets? Who shares this hate? Who perpetuates the unsaid? Who says shamelessly « not my problem »?
Them, shes, hims are in the streets, in their homes, online. And the people who are doing sex work in the world we’re living in, do need protection and rights all the time, not just when it fits with the institution’s agenda or the sexual desires of the powerful. These people who are selling sex, the communities, the Strass, have been committed for ages in a truthful fight. The whores of this world are speaking out and showing us that when women speak, they are answered not to worry because after all, the role of police is to be respected and fight against crime. Which crime? The customers soon, afraid to see the light, will they sign, once more – like Frédéric Beigbeder, Éric Zemmour, or Nicolas Bedos in 2013, a manifesto asking nicely « don’t touch my whore » to fight against the penalization of sex work. In waiting, trans folks and women are dying surrounded in hate and ignorance.
Where is our ranger ? How many centuries will this mess last ? How many years will we have to bear this, dominated by sad and vengeful men willing to see alive the rest of an old era licking their own ass ? I sincerely wonder.
If your name is Polanski, Finkielkraut, Kechiche, Ruggia, Weinstein, Strauss-Kahn, Kavanaugh, Maalouf or Rozon, you’re still not fully recognized as a sexual predator today. Our language to speak about the violence is corrupted and biased, transformable always to profit the powerful. My rage on this subject has no limit but I find here the strenght to write their name as my own. They ‘re just criminals in a knot of secrets.
Artists, president, minister, politicians, doctors, teachers, man – common denominator : power. A power that eats you in its quest and turns to ridicule the efforts of all the angry peoples. Women, who’ve been changed by men, will keep waking up unfre in the morning whilst they be free, as always, as the majority of rapists, stalkers, violent men and other pedophiles, psychopaths sat in their chairs, coldhearted upon their golden egg hen.
My anger is not disguised in rubis or shining with gold. It is full of th wheat from my ancestor’s fields, it smells like wrought iron, meat and dryed blood. My anger is again the anger of the working class, of the peasant women, the anger of the women who fought for life and for a kind of hope that is unbreakable.
This anger is also my father’s, my grand-fathers and their brothers before them who marched for labour rights and still do. It is for all the humiliated syndicalists, the feminists who are loud, those who write and thoses who create but are not heard enough. Mothers who are burning out, lost fathers and people without job trying to go to sleep in peace night after nights. Poverty is killing – unemployment is killing – motherhood and womanhood are surviving. How can we take an interest in the world if we can’t fathom the next morning…?
That anger that’s pushing me is rooted in my observation of our humanity being hurt on this planet that we’re abusing.
In all of this, in all this violence that is too hard to see and very much difficult to tell, it’s our humanity that bonds us together, in our hearts, in our doubts, in our suffering and even in our vulnerable mortality – beautiful of poetry and love… I think I am writing these words because our rangers are justified and our bodies too hurt, silent – because too many souls are shut in darkness, because some speak too loud, hiding and annihilating consciously bodies and beings which have been marginalized for centuries.
Hence my writing about the global version of the facts ; an attempt to wake up some consciousnesses and the massive dissemination of the voices that we need. I am daring to elevate hope and the embers of an anger that is creative ; that is, armed with the fires of the art, that will vanquish cynism and the close-mindedness from which we will endlessly try to get out.
As I was writing this text, the verdict came : Harvey Weinsten has been condemned for sexual crime and was relaxed from being called a sexual predator. That verdict and the one of our democracy clearly tells us about the contempt with which we’re met in the world of the powerfuls. A comptempt for women, for the non-whites, for the other, a contempt for a life that can be joyful and tremendously fullfilling. We all know that money rules a world of which ; in that essential idea we – the resistance, the hidden , the mass – are excluded. Let us break their walls, their absolute, their illusions, their devilish smiles and let us scream our eternal desires for equality and dignity. Let’s remind them that we see, that we hear and that we, awake, feminists, queers, we will listen, we will act and we will speak. Let us make of this decade one with force and the determination of our elders who knew different wars. Let us be inspired by their strenght because we will fight against determinist, capitalist and fascist systems.
Now that 2020 is gone ; the first year of modern fascism, we are now in, out of the Covid matrix, asked to show that we are pure at the entrance of restaurant and stores. I am writing for an uncertain future with sharp words that I dedicate to Annie Ernaux and her writing « with a knife », so charming and so necessary. I am writing about a global anger, about the farmers in India, about the women and the youth in India that is quite literally fighting againt totalitarianism in the shape of their authoritarian and spiritual leader and prime minister Narendra Mody – an islamophobic government that is supported by the chief Ram Nath Kovind. I am now pointing out now the fascisms that are growing in every country differently, about the chinese kind, destroying through genocidal methods humans because they are Ouïgours or speaking up about the regime. In Marocco, surveillance tools were used to arrest independent journalists Omar Radi and Soulaiman Raissouni who were both sent to prison in Casablanca, left to a destiny of fight and exile. As them, I will defend freedom of speech and freedom through writing because, as you may have understood by now, writing is hazardous.
Bordeaux, August, 28th