In 2017 I was mentally struggling for a while. Mostly this had to do with the state of the world. I’ve been a human rights activist for 18 years now, which means I’ve seen a lot of change. Sometimes for the better, often for the worse.

I lost it temporarily at the end of 2015 when I went to volunteer in Calais, France – a camp where thousands of refugees were trying to survive. They didn’t get enough food, water or medicine, they were attack by the police and neonazi forces. These kinds of experiences make me question humanity.

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Earlier I wrote that my first book was quite a struggle, during the middle of the writing and especially near the end. The circumstances were difficult, but something else that I’m sure mattered is that the book was so eclectic. I wanted to give an overview of a number of different topics, which slowed down the research. When writing about introductory aspects of feminism, and porn culture, and sexual and physical violence, and trans liberation, and the future of feminism and some of the history, and and and… it becomes difficult to maintain focus and to keep the number of pages acceptable. I never felt  had said all I wanted to say and I hope to be able to revisit many of these topics in perhaps a second revised edition or new articles and books.

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Last year I finished my first book, called Feminisme – een nieuw begin (Feminism – a new beginning). Since then people have asked questions about the writing. How did it feel to write it? How does it feel to have finished? My writer friend, working on her own first book, was watching me closely to see what would happen, how this would change me.

So how does it feel? Let’s talk about the writing process first.

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I’m not putting up any recognizable pictures or details of refugees because I don’t want to endanger them: they may risk persecution or have their request for asylum denied.

Due to the war in Syria many people have fled their war-torn country. Some have died – the pictures of this the world over ignited a new wave of protest against the “Fortress Europe” policies. Some of the survivors are in Calais, France now. Many of them try to reach England through the canal tunnel.

Belgium has started organising to help out the refugees in Calais. We’ve been collecting goods – clothes, tents, food, soap and so on. Many people must have been waiting for something to do, getting fed up with the news and the inhuman reactions of politicians, there have been so much donations… Yesterday, September 4th, we went to Calais. All in all about 80 to 100 cars/vans/trucks came from Belgium to help out in Calais. People from many different countries are there to help in an amazing show of solidarity.

army truckAfter hours of travelling and sorting stuff, we ended up with about 18 people in the army truck of L, one of the two women who are the main organisers of the solidarity.

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