Every Wednesday evening for the past few weeks, a group of women has gathered in front of the New York Public libraryin midtown, Manhattan. They dress all in black as a symbol of mourning for victims of war, and they stand silentlybecause, according to one member, words cannot express the tragedy that wars and hatred bring.
Their group is Women and Black, an international movement which began in Israel in January 1988, one month after thebeginning of the first Palestinian intifada. Once a week at the same hour and in the same location–a major trafficintersection–a small group of Israeli women donned black clothing and raised a black sign in the shape of a handwith white lettering that read “Stop the Occupation”.
The idea spread quickly and spontaneously to other places in Israel, and a few months later, all over the world.Today, we’re going to speak with Women in Black all over the world, including a woman who is being investigated forthe FBI for her membership.
After the September 11 attacks, the FBI questioned members of the Women in Black. Although the FBI says it is notinvestigating the Women in Black in direct connection with the terrorist attacks, it admits it is exploringconnections with possible terrorist groups.
- Kate Raphael, Women in Black (Berkeley). The FBI has questioned her because of her connections to theWomen in Black.
- Ronnie Gilbert, Women in Black member (California) and longtime folksinger.
- Indira Kajosevic, member of Women in Black in New York.
- Gila Svirsky, Women in Black member (Jerusalem), co-founder of the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace.She has also been executive director of Bat Shalom and B’Tselem.