Stone by Stone

TRANSLATION of the Article »Stein für Stein« (Missy Magazine 4/23) about the work of Mor Dayanışma.

The feminist network of Mor Dayanışma was already central before the earthquakes in Turkey, and since then, it has become vital for survival.

The Gezi protests that swept the whole country ten years ago also gave wings to feminist structures. It was during this time that we formed our first branch in Antakya/Hatay. None of us would have imagined at the time what a role Antakya would play for feminist struggles, and conversely, what a role our organization would play for the local people and women communities.

All of this changed in just one night in February: The devastating earthquakes left only fragments of our lives, futures and communities shattered. And who do you think has been working tirelessly since then to put the fragments back together? First and foremost, the women who live there. 

We came from all over the country to support our sisters. Initially, we organized the essentials for survival – food, water, shelter, community and much more. Now, for many, it’s also about (re)gaining economic independence. This is part of our political practice: We meet across Turkey for protests, conferences, strikes and actions, but also support directly in many different neighborhoods. Our collectives are immensely important in moving away from the individual struggles we all fight every day. 

Rebuilding our society, especially in the earthquake regions, is very political for us. It should not remain as it is, nor should it become what the authoritarian state imagines it to be. We don’t want FLINTA (women, lesbians, bisexuals, trans, and intersex individuals) to disappear into the invisibility of container cities or state-built zombie buildings. After all, we’ve been engaged in neighborhood and community work since our founding for a good reason.

Much has been said about the Turkish government’s responsibility for the catastrophe. Furthermore, we emphasize the patriarchal, anti-women and anti-LGBTIQ, as well as racist violence that accompanies this form of crisis management. These dimensions are so visible in our work: For example, there are still hardly any safe spaces and shelters for women or queer people affected by violence. We are trying to change that. International networking is crucial for this, for new perspectives, and also for financial support. Achieving our goal requires perseverance: Brick by brick, we will rebuild a life together in which children, women, and queer people are safe.

İrem was part of the founding of the feminist organization Mor Dayanışma (Purple Solidarity) in 2013. Immediately after the devastating earthquakes in February of this year, she and other activists in Istanbul loaded trucks with survival supplies and drove to the region. There, they sets up solidarity tents and self-help structures. İrem advocates for feminist perspectives in rebuilding the cities destroyed by the earthquakes.

Recorded by: Johanna Bröse
Illustration: Lulu Lin

The article was published (in german) under the Title »Stein für Stein« in the feminist Missy Magazine, Issue 04/2023 (July 2023). 

Illustration: Lulu Lin | Missy Magazine