10 sept. 2011 – Days Later

When I started this diary I ‘promised’ not to write every day and I think I did live up to my promise…it has quite a while since I sat down to share some thoughts with you. But it feels like a good moment to do so now…

The last weeks I have been occupying myself with bringing up the website for Survivors Voice Italia. For a number of reasons this is an important milestone for us:
* We felt it was time to formalise our relationship with Tommaso Dell’Era, who we have been working with since last year October.
* To bring the ‘Empowerment’ piece to our friends in Italy, thanks to Paola (my wife) for translating all that material that has already proven to be so helpful for people in English speaking countries.
* Our upcoming event in Rome on the 29th of October, an occasion we hope will trigger (again) a great number of Italians to come out with their stories. Not for the statistics or the sensation of it, but so they can start their road back to wholeness. And hopefully they will allow us to help them in some way…
The response has been overwhelming; lots of people have found the website and are returning regularly: this work is so rewarding!

Survivors Voice Projects and Products
See also: http://survivorsvoice-europe.org/?page_id=919
At the same time I have been working on finalising the documentation of our project plans to be presented for the first time at the National Secular Society Conference yesterday at Conway Hall in London. More about that later.
These projects are very important to us, because they are the realisation of our mission: to build awareness or to offer help. But also we are well aware that we can not continue to ‘rob’ our own bankaccounts to allow us to do our work allover Europe.
We realised for some time that we need to ‘professionalise’ our organisation. At the same time we feel real strong about that we don’t want to be begging. But if we can convince people of the activities we think are crucial for our cause, then maybe they will also be willing to pay for them. In case of the products or courses we also look for the return for someone who buys them: “Do good to someone else by doing something good for yourself”.
The NSS conference was the first time to present them to the public and we are so greatfull for the interest that people have shown at that occasion. Nice bridge to that conference…

National Secular Society Conference
We received an invitation to be present and speak at their conference in Conway Hall last saturday.
It has been so inspiring to find a group of people who are passionate about their views and ready to speak up about them.
Read Sue’s report on the conference on http://survivorsvoice-europe.org/?page_id=909
The NSS addresses a number of issues in health care and education that I must admit I was not conciously aware of (we survivors are sometimes so occupied with our cause that we ignore a whole world around us) and that was an eye-opening experience.
Unimaginable that some religious rituals (like the sucking away of blood with the mouth after a circumcision – and the herpes infection as a result of that(!?!) or better still: genital mutilation for religious reasons) survived the progress of our world since barbaric times as an expression of honour to God?!?
Thousands of years and incredible medical progress are wiped of the table because of kabbalistic (cannibalistic?) writings are still considered the one and only law to obey.
I don’t care about the theatrical rituals, the funny costumes and the red designer shoes.
I don’t care about the beards, the veils, the food regulations or the self-imposed restrictions.
I don’t care, because they are none of my business…everybody must do what makes them happy.
Until these medieval habits damage people and when it actually means damaging children or the vulnerable. Then I get angry and for my own mental well-being I must speak up and let people know. And that is what the people at the NSS and associated organisations do: spek up and very passionately, not just in blind anger, but with argumentation and rational persuasion. And that ties me to them, makes me feel at home with them.

To compensate for the anger I am honored that through that same conference we have met with men and women whom we maybe can help. Whom we can show that we care, about every single person: one person feeling less alone with his or her tormenting experiences from their childhood makes all our work worthwhile. They gives us so much energy and we are immensely grateful for that.

March & rally for the Secular Europe Campaign
Tomorrow we are joining the ranks in the march and rally for the Secular Europe Campaign. We are already looking forward to meeting again some of the people from last week. Tonight we meet with friends from Rome, who are travelling to London for that same campaign and tomorrow we will march together. With our new banner (below). If you see us, come and say hello, we love to meet you and get to know you.

Survivors Voice Europe banner

Today’s words that came to my mind listening to the news on the radio of a catholic chaplain witnessing the beating to death of an innocent Iraqi man by British soldiers (christian? – medieval? – biblical protection of the weak ??!!??) and the re-instating of the eating of fish on friday in honour of the pope’s visit to England last year (bullocks – who gives a *&^% ??!!??)
(after a week in England I am starting to really appreciate the proper English language)

I wish you all a very nice weekend and hope that you will read my musings soon again.
Ton Leerschool

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *