Speech by Marta Górnicka

Held on 19/March 2019 at the demonstration of Die Vielen in Berlin

This speech was held by Marta Górnicka on 19/March 2019 at the demonstration of Die Vielen in front of the Brandenburger Tor in Berlin. In October 2018, Grundgesetz was performed at the very same place. In September 2019, Górnicka founded the Political Voice Institute Berlin as an Artist in Residence at Gorki and continue her research of the political dimensions of speaking.

I have come here from Poland. In my country, FREEDOM of art, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion is being restricted. And there are attempts to silence the polyphony of voices, to squeeze it into one national synthetic song.

In Poland the right to symbols and to public space is being restricted in increasingly brutal way. A rainbow drawn instead of the halo above the head of the Virgin Mary apparently offends someone’s religious feelings, and the police arrests the artist-activist who wanted to give voice to tolerance and freedom and has drawn that rainbow on the image of the Mother of God. In my country, works by feminist women artists are taken down from the walls of the National Museum, and feminist art is defined as »traumatic«. In my country, people are sleeping at the door of the Supreme Court… and civil rights are being violated. The constitutional right to the freedom of speech and the expression of art is breached, and censorship is introduced. Every day, in the public media and in the public space, the limits of hate speech are brutally crossed, and more and more dehumanized language is used for violence. Gradually, we stop hearing the dangers of such language, we breathe it like air.

In my country, Others are condemned for their Otherness. When they say FREEDOM, representatives of the authorities are not afraid to say that our country needs »cleansing from those who are not worthy of BELONGING WITH US«
In my country, in all of Europe, and outside, great hatred has grown – hatred against all OTHERS. The idea of the diverse Europe is presented as a threat to our identity, to the cultural survival of Polish people. The hatred is great, it is immersed in prayer, and it spills as far as to the spilling of blood. It poisons language and splits the social body like an axe. Into two halves.

However, it is precisely in Poland, where feminist artists – like me – are blacklisted, that women have the courage to take to the streets en masse and raise their voices. Hundreds of thousands of diverse women: old and young women, queer women, mothers, disabled women, black women, Jewish women, Ukrainian women, trans women. In defense of their basic rights and their life. It is in Poland that parents and their disabled children occupy the Parliament for forty days, while we, artists, resist the censorship of art in front of the National Museum. I am from Poland, and this is why I want to speak about freedom and equality. Speak about the power of women’s voice. About their anger! About fury. About their spirit. About their power and the power of the diverse community, which is strong! It does not panic. It protests.

The words: SOLIDARITY, JUSTICE and FREEDOM began the democratic and bloodless changes in my country in the nineteen eighties. The words: LAW and JUSTICE started divisions in my country in 2015. All divisions always begin with language. From East to West, from Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Czech Republic all the way to Germany. FREEDOM, PEACE, JUSTICE, TRUTH, LAW, VÖLKERVERSTÄNDIGUNG, DEMOCRACY, NATION – politics appropriates language. A fight is being fought with words and for words. Politicians, in the name of FREEDOM, are against FREEDOM, in the name of DEFENDING WOMEN they are against WOMEN, in the name of DEMOCRACY they are against DEMORACY, JUSTICE, LAW, EUROPE, and many more.

Every act of refusing solidarity first happens in language.

Every act of genocide starts in language.

I believe that the VOICE has a great power. I believe in the power of the multilingual CHORUS of voices which acts beyond language, in spite of it, and it resists divisions and violence through the sheer co-presence of infinitely diverse bodies.

I believe that this diverse, multilingual Voice can lift us all up! Our solidarity, our empathy and our struggle.

The voice is like a powerful wave that penetrates voices and bodies and accommodates what is diverse and what is common in us.

Beautiful, dirty, raspy… The voice emerges from the body and enters bodies – no matter the language that they speak, the color of their skin, the stories written within them and the documents that were issued for them. No matter who they sleep with, and what kind of God they believe in.

Especially now, we need a new social practice of the voice, a new practice of conversation, a new solidarity of voices in Europe. From human to human. From body to body.

LET’S RAISE OUR VOICE. This must be a daily practice of acting together. On the streets, in institutions, in the public space.

The authorities in Poland are afraid of our Polyphony.

And this is why our power is growing. Our Voice is growing.

Europe for the MANY – which means for ALL. And with ALL OTHERS…