Save Our Girls!

Save Our Girls! Women's protest, Tate Modern London 

On Friday 27th January, 2024 a group of about 84 women gathered outside Tate Modern, London to protest the mass rapes of women in Israel, by Hamas, on October 7th 2023. The breaking of a pre-existing cease-fire by Hamas to attack Israel that day resulted in the most extensive campaign of rape, murder and torture of Jews since the Holocaust.

October 7 2023

It was not only Israeli Jews that were slaughtered. Thai workers were not spared, nor the Bedouin, or anyone else, Jew or Muslim, who just happened to be in the way of the Hamas bloody rampage. 240 Hostages were taken that day, including tiny babies, small children, teenagers, and adult men and women of all ages. The barbaric acts of cutting open pregnant women and incinerating new borns in the oven has been well documented by Hamas's own men with their cameras and shared widely. None of this is supposition.

The Response

Despite the abundance of available evidence, there has been a truly astonishing silence about the pogrom - for such it was - and a headlong and unedifying rush, particularly by art institutions, ensued, effectively covering this gigantic crime in silence. While there has been admirable focus on the appalling carnage in Gaza, much of which has resulted from the Israeli counter attack, the same scrutiny has not been applied to Hamas's crimes. Nor has there been any reckoning of Hamas's complicity in the devastating death toll in Gaza and no condemnation or any sort of their refusal to allow the Gazan people to shelter from the bombing raids in the extensive underground tunnel system.

Jews Protest the Silence

British Jews are rightly angry about this and Jewish women have been fierce in their wholly justified condemnation of the international women's organisations in particular, such at UN Women, who have maintained a studied silence about the mass rapes of Israeli women. The same is true of many women's groups in the UK, some of whom issued statements supporting Palestinians and condemning Israel but did not respond in equal measure to atrocity against Israel until prompted to do so or even condemn Hamas until pushed. Even now, the focus remains substantially uneven.

Art Museum Protest

Save Our Girls was a protest designed specifically for the British artworld to highlight its failure to respond to the rape of Israeli women. Tate Modern was hosting the American feminist group, Guerilla Girls and the Russian punk band, Pussy Riot on the 27th. Guerilla Girls, like so much of the anglosphere artworld and like so many feminist groups, failed to condemn Hamas and has offered few words of comfort or support to Israeli Jewish women. The evening's events were about feminist protest art so what better opportunity could there be to stage exactly that in the museum itself?

26th January 2024

The women of Save Our Girls were able to protest in the building where the events had attracted a full house with a mostly feminist audience. It was an invaluable opportunity to have those difficult conversations and they did exactly that. Protest art is notoriously hit and miss. This was undoubtedly a hit and, by all accounts, many people learnt things they hadn't known or understood before, either about Israel or about what happened on October 7th 2023.

Women's Protest outside Tate Modern
women protest rape Tate-Modern London
Tate-Modern, protest, women, feminist
Women Protest outside Tate Modern London
Women Protest Rape Tate Modern London
Women Protest Rape TAte Modern London