In 1963, a book by the German-American philosopher and thinker Hannah Arendt “Eichmann in Jerusalem. A Report on the Banality of Evil” was first published. A reporter of the influential American journal The New Yorker, Arendt attended the trial of Adolf Eichmann, who was charged by the Third Reich for “the Final Solution” [of the Jewish question]. It is hardly possible to imagine what the ethnic Jew Hannah Arendt felt, listening to the evidence of Eichmann about the throughput capacity of the gas chambers and the workload of the crematorium furnaces in the concentration camps. It is even more difficult to understand why the author put the thesis of the banality of evil onto the title of her book. Its idea is that the evil is perpetrated by common people, who accept the organization of the society they live in as an established order. This organization is not imposed on them against their will, it is not imported but becomes a norm, as it is repeated and accepted by the entire society, even by those who simply observe silently what is happening and do not act.

In 2017, more than half a century after the Eichmann trial, the article by Ronan Farrow, the son of actress Mia Farrow and filmmaker Woody Allen, once accused of sexual assault of his adopted underage daughter, was published in The New Yorker, titled “From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories”. The article supported the social movement #MeToo, which had started a year before with a post in the MySpace social network and buried the career of the Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein, who was accused of harassment and assault by dozens of women. Actress Alyssa Milano, who was one of the first to produce public accusations in relation to Weinstein, wrote on her page in Facebook: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me too" as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem”. So it happened. Behind the stories published under hashtag#MeToo (and #яНеБоюсьСказать (IAmNotAfraid to Say)) there are personal tragedies of thousands of women, which throw light on the true scope of the problem and demonstrate what kind of an order has been established as a norm in our society.

The scope of the problem in the west became evident in the first months after the campaign started, and, thanks to the Ukrainian journalist Anastasia Melnichenko, who in 2016 launched first campaign #яНеБоюсьСказати in the Ukrainian Facebook and then #яНеБоюсьСказать in the Russian Facebook, we can understand the situation in our countries, where the patriarchal traditions have been rooted for centuries and where people usually silently observe instead of saying anything.

In the new topic’s framework, Converter decided to review how the discussion under the hashtag #MeToo went in the former Soviet countries. We wondered whether it influenced women’s rights, whether it strengthened the positions of feminism and gender parity, and whether it changed at least anything. Seven women authors shared their stories and observations over the wave of the #MeToo movement in their countries. Among them, there is Anastasia Melnichenko, who initiated the campaigns #яНеБоюсьСказати in the Ukrainian Facebook and #яНеБоюсьСказать in the Russian Facebook, Olga Kuracheva, a member of the Pussy Riot punk group and an active feminist, and Hasmik Adrinasyan, an activist from Armenia, who is a vocal supporter of the rights of women and children.

Their stories form a single subject and have a goal to make us think about the order that has become established in our societies and whether we are ready to accept the evil which, unfortunately, has become banal.

Konverter Editorial Board




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