Today is International Women´s Day and for me, from today on, this day will have a bittersweet taste for the rest of my life. Because I will always think of the countless women who had to flee their country to save their children and themselves. Leaving behind a husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, father-in-law, and maybe a son. To fight for freedom and democracy. Something I had taken for granted all my life.

I was raised that my voice was important, that I should use her loud and clear. I was also raised with the knowledge that every day is precious.

But what I´ve been experiencing for almost two weeks now, in my everyday life, but mainly in the news, takes my breath away. Makes me speechless on the one hand, stunned and incredibly angry on the other. Tens of thousands of women and children are fleeing, just because a single mad person driven by panic fear cannot endure the freedom of an entire people and the democracy they have fought for in the neighboring country. And there is no end in sight.

When I see all the pictures of the bombed and destroyed houses. Villages that no longer exist, are wiped out in minutes. Then I don´t just see the tragedy, the senselessness of the war, and the suffering associated with it. No. In the past few days, I´ve caught myself seeing the images of the rubble women from 1945 in my mind´s eye. And by that, I don´t mean the made-up propaganda pictures from back then. No. I´m talking about the real rubble women. Who rebuilt their city, their country with their bare hands. With the courage of determination. The power of hunger. The will to do better for yourself and for all those who survived. To make the world better.

Many women around the world today look and think, particularly of all the women who are or were on the run. Who had to flee their country. And I don´t just see her. I also see the women whose sons, brothers, and perhaps also fathers have to fight a war in the neighboring country that they apparently don´t even know is one. Or just don´t want to believe it. Who believe in the words of a liar. Or maybe not?

It is not said for nothing that we women have unusual strength and power. That if men had children and had to endure the labor that goes with them, the world would have far fewer children. We, the female sex, are underestimated in many ways. Completely worthless in some parts of the world. But not here where I live. In the heart of Europe.

In a country that was ruled by a woman, Angela Merkel, for around sixteen years, for whom the word freedom has a very special meaning. Born and raised in the former East of the Federal Republic of Germany. Who attaches a completely different meaning to the urge for freedom and the peaceful struggle for it than the rest of Germany, including myself, does.

And when I think of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban and, precisely because of the suffering she endured, is one of THE women in the world today who is not only listened to carefully but who is even feared by a certain section of men in her country, because she literally became the epitome of freedom and education through this attack.

But there are also positives today. A moment that put a smile on my face. I was given a rose by a stranger in the supermarket because today is International Women´s Day and I´m a woman who just went to get her weekly groceries.

I´m not a perfect woman. I don´t have a perfect figure or even a perfect life. But I´m real. I am strong. And no matter what adversity life throws at me, I will never give up.

To all the women out there. Stay strong & keep fighting! 

Stay safe and sound.


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