Women´s Issues After Beijing
Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference
Positions - Networks - Results
A Basic Introduction
Beijing, September 13th, 1995
my outrageously expensive high-heeled Italian sandals that you were
so envious of have fallen to pieces - they fell apart in the rain and mud
of Huairou. It is really a joke. I should have brought my wellingtons!
The weather is a disaster in this corner of China. I am coughing not only
because of too many cigarettes, I am dead tired, in fact more dead than
alive and at the same time completely crazy. When I see my bed for a couple
of hours once in a while, even in my dreams I am still on my way from caucus
to causus in the Beijing Recreation Centre (you remember: the theme-related
meetings to coordinate lobbying activities), undiluted chaos! Lobbying
on the spot is a tough business. And by the way, excuse my bad writing,
I am scribbling this in the bus on the way back to the Beijing Conference
Centre, my fingers are numb and the journey will probably again take about
two hours today, even here they know what a rush-hour is, though it looks
slightly different from back home. As I said, the whole situation is a
complete mess and still I am happy, in fact quite euphoric. Just imagine,
Susan, I was able to add a whole half-sentence to the Platform for Action!
After tedious and painstaking work, umpteen consultations and by treading
delicately in cooperating. It is absolutely great to add something really
vital to the Platform at the very last minute! Of course, this was not
an heroic act of mine, single-handed. Cooperation between the NGO-delegates,
at least those from development activities, works pretty well; here at
least everyone still listens to what the others have to say and gets down
to it: if you support my cause, I back up yours. In spite of stress, too
little sleep, too much work. It should always be like this, a damned good
experience. This at least I will take home.
We had to work pretty hard as it is to keep the twenty/twenty regulation
from Copenhagen. No one from the governmental delegations was awfully keen
on it and certainly not willing to get into a fight over it. You must apply
pressure, otherwise it is always going to be a minimal consensus. I really
can´t bear it anymore: "not covered by the minimal consensus...
not consensually agreed...".
It pays to be at the top of the three-tier community of NGOs. You are sitting
pretty if accredited to the governmental delegation: direct access to all
the latest information and advice stands. You are always up-to-date about
events and always find a woman to talk to. That Europe is speaking here
with one voice is quite helpful for lobbying. For those who are simply
accredited it is not too bad either. Even if there are certain access restrictions
one can get around them. Before Beijing, I had been a bit sceptical about
being part of the governmental delegation, but here on the spot you realize
how valuable it is when cooperation between the NGOs works all right.
But the non-accredited NGO-women in Huairou are really out of it all, they
depend on us to tell them what is going on. After Beijing we must seriously
consider new forms of cooperation, bundling of capacities will be an important
subject. This is a point where we waste a lot because of friction and at
times even wear ourselves down. It can only get better.
Dear Susan, I am freezing to death, but just a few words about the Platform.
I am quite drunk, in fact intoxicated with it. This thing is going to be
an authentic feminine document with a claim to world-wide recognition.
Never before in the history of the United Nations has there been a manifesto
which brings together all our concerns, sufferings, hopes, aspirations
and demands in such a comprehensive manner. This is only a first step.
If we really put our hearts into it, then it is the beginning of the end
of male claims of exclusive rights in shaping the political conditions
in this world. If we really start down this road. In my present state of
intoxication about so much feminine poetry, which - the Goddess knows -
has come from so much sweat and back-breaking work, I regard the risks
involved as minimal. This has got to change after Beijing. I know that.
Because one thing is clear, the thing will turn into a terrible overfilled
monster. Incomprehensible to normal humans, simply unreadable, piled together
in a package through negotiations, confused and without discernible style
and diction. A semantic adventure playground, a linguistic jumble. I see
the danger: it is only one step from the jumble to the dump. We will have
to completely distil the thing to make it politically productive! We must
always have at hand what its real message is. If we succeed in this, we
can turn the world back home completely round! Three conferences on women
of only therapeutic value are enough of a warning!
So get ready for action, my dear!
Lots of love
PS: Perhaps you will hear from me again from Beijing!
Ebert Stiftung | technical support | Net Edition mv&ola
| Oktober 1997