You can tear down the posters, not us: volunteers
A mural created by volunteers and participants of the Aurat March 2020 at Lahore’s Hussain Chowk was torn down Saturday evening leaving marchers even more motivated than they were before.
“We had arranged a poster competition where female illustrators and designers were told to design posters for the march and send them in,” volunteer Amna Chaudhry told SAMAA Digital on Sunday.
The team received an overwhelming response after which they decided to install a mural in the city. “All the artists were called to put up their posters on the wall to showcase the essence of the march and promote it,” Chaudhry said.
But four to five hours after they had completed the activity the mural was torn down. “The posters were not just torn, somebody had actually ripped through them,” the volunteer said.
Chaudhry also confirmed that they had taken permission from the authorities before the activity was even planned. “We had chosen Hussain Chowk as it is the centre of the city and a good place for promotion purposes,” she said.
Organisers of the Aurat March shared the before and after pictures of mural on the march’s official social media accounts after which support started pouring in for them.
Today we were buoyed by the love and behanchara on display today, only for it to be torn down hours later.— عورت مارچ لاہور – Aurat March Lahore (@AuratMarch) February 22, 2020
For those who say why we march–this is why!!
First picture: Earlier today as we built our mural.
Subsequent pictures: Later today, after our mural was torn down. pic.twitter.com/XfGqAEFaCI
Several activists condemned the incident. Salman Sufi, founder of the Salman Sufi Foundation, called it a show of the “insecurities deeply embedded within certain elements of society”.
Tearing up posters of a peaceful organization only shows insecurities deeply embedded within certain elements of society. Each poster that gets torn gives encouragement to hundreds of women to stand up for their long due rights. #AuratAzadiMarch2020 @AuratMarchKHI— Salman Sufi (@SalmanSufi7) February 22, 2020
You can tear down the posters. But you cant tear down our morals.— Alia Haider (@DrAliahaider) February 22, 2020
We are high spirited and we will flood with more posters.Does these hurt your fragile ego?Awww Tearing down our posters at hussain chowk lahore is hate and means you are scared of rising women #AuratAzadiMarch2020 pic.twitter.com/NoFriVaRbQ
Let’s paste more!! 💪🏾 I’ll put my poster online free to download like last year. Feel free to print and paste in your neighborhood. Talk to ppl about what it means– a Pakistan for women also. https://t.co/wezpU8hdUm— Shehzil Malik (@shehzilm) February 22, 2020
Human rights lawyer Nighat Dad took to Twitter and said that if the posters put up by women receive this much hatred, what about the hatred received by women who stand up for their rights.
Volunteer Chaudhry, however, said that the incident did not and will not bring the spirits of the volunteers and organisers down. “You can tear down the posters but you can’t tear us apart,” she said.
“We will resist all things like these and keep putting up posters,” she said.
Chaudhry added that they will soon lodge a complaint. “We have uploaded the posters on social media and have asked supporters to print them out and put them up in their neighbourhoods as a form of resistance.”
The Aurat March will take place across Pakistan on March 8. Fundraisers for the march have started in several cities.
“For those who ask why we march – this is why!” Chaudhry added.