3 pictures of a posture indication

Read Nanna Kirstine Hansen’s diary from UN’s International Day for Women’s Health 28. Of May 2007, where about 400 Nicaraguan women chose to celebrate it with a car-demonstration through the streets of Managua. It was an initiative to start the debate in Nicaragua, which had never really found place – The debate about getting rid of medical prescribed abortion.

By Nanna Kirstine Hansen

A stout, black saint

On the white banner it appears with black writing: “As the disciples to Jesus we say: Lord, save us, we who are lost.” It belongs to Catholic Women for the right to decide for ourselves, one of the organisations, there’s in the campaign for medical abortion.

The women stands in front of The Supreme Court, which, in the occasion of UN’s International Day for Women’s Health, is the meeting place for a caravan of cars, that will drive through the streets of Managua with a statuette of a pregnant crucified teenage girl. Her stomach bulges, while she hangs on her cross on the load of a pick-up by the banner, ready for the long ride through the town.

The route is planned to come by the parliament and the president’s residence to end in a rotary with a big statue of Jesus, where there, besides some small speeches, is planned a little musical element. People watches with wonder, some with disgust in their eyes when they drive by in busses or in their cars, abortion is over here very sensitive and emotional subject. An older man stands a while and look at the banner and then up at the statue, and turns around against one of those women, who holds the banner. With a voice characterized with a deep wondering, he asks, “Who is the stout, black saint?”

The people’s president

“We want to give life, but we won’t die trying.”About 100 women’s shout in front of the president’s residence (FSLN’s party head office), where Daniel Ortega furthermore have chosen to have his stronghold. The street is blocked with barriers and about 10 police officers, which stand and watch the scenario of women, who keep gathering around from the caravan of busses and cars. The heat lies like a blanket over Managua, the street traders that see the opportunity to sell a lot, gather around and offers ice and water and mango. The atmosphere is high, and the megaphones just keep going.

On the load of a van, there stand four huge speakers, from where it roars: “Yes to life, yes to medical abortion”. A young girl and her boyfriend stand with a sign, whereupon it says: “Ignorance kills, medical abortion saves”. The atmosphere becomes a bit critical, when the excited women begin demanding their right as citizens in a free, democratic country to move freely everywhere.

Daniel Ortega has always presented himself as being “The People” and his campaign up to the election last year, had the slogan Reconciliation and Peace. Now he sits behind the walls in his house, protected by a police force, which has just called for reinforcements. The women is spread a little, some stands over on the barrier, while others stands further away in that park, that lays out to the street and looks at the newly arrived policemen. Still it sound loud and powerful, when they begin shouting: “You must not be afraid of us”.

Exposed and frail

When the caravan reaches the rotary with the big statue of Christ it is received by women, who earlier that day entry the rotary with banners and signs. In the middle of the rotary there is a little scene. The caravan arrives to the rotary later than planned because of the presidents legally advisers agreed to receive a delegation of 3 women to hear their case. The atmosphere is good, even though we are in one of the most dangerous places in Managua.

The statue is carefully taken off the cross and carefully laid on the ground, which make her seem even more exposed and frail. She’s set on a bigger cross, which is hoisted in front of the scene, and there she hangs with bowed head over the crowd and everybody looks at her. The scene is entry by different women, who talk about the day and the meaning of it, about maternal mortality and medical abortion and about the day’s events. 

When it gets’s time to the musical item the electricity crashes, which always is continual event in Nicaragua, but luckily they have a generator, there has enough electricity to a microphone and a guitar. The singer is from León, one of the most beautiful cities here in Nicaragua, and she’s named Carola. She sings two revolutionary songs, and then she sings one of the national traditional songs.

An elderly lady with huge glasses and a T-shirt with the slogan: “Do not condemn the poor women to death, yes to medical abortion in the penal code”, steps in front of the scene and starts dancing. When Carola sings another song, more women arrive, until there are about 7 and a dancer, while the others stand around and cheer.

The song ends and suddenly everybody goes to the busses that will drive them home. Boom! That was the end of that demonstration, and back stood 5 lost Danes and thought: “Where is everybody?”

Translated by: Matilde Christiansen