Defiance to brutes in defence of love for all
Global Kiss In To Russia With Love wins Most Valued Project Award.
The Alert Fund for Youth is proud to declare the Global Kiss-In “To Russia with love” as the elected winner of its Most Valued Project award. The award, given to inspiring examples of youth-run action against the evils of the current age, contains a 1000 euros to ease moving their projects forward. The winning Berlin-based project was nominated for creating a global flashmob of peaceful groups of individuals kissing another in “delightful and powerful defiance to brutes in defence of love for all”. The action of solidarity to the supressed LGTBI community in Russia was implemented in 58 cities worldwide, a scale of provocation never seen before or since, in the same week Russia started implementing laws battling human rights of non-straight Russians. Florian & Norbert accepted this award in Berlin from the hands of Tjerk from Alert, on behalf of all volunteers, activists and participants of the global support action for the LGTBI community rocking Russian Embassies in September 2013 in every timezone in the world. The judges elected the project for “jumpstarting the wildfire uniting gay & straight to rise up together for our Russian brothers and sisters, fearless & fierce, and show in this innovative way that no state could govern over matters over the heart. As more and more individuals, showed up in their own city in support, a message of love was sent from all over the world to those in Russia fighting for LGTBI rights against state-run hatred. To renew the promise for a world where every individual is allowed to love another individual, regardless of any old man biggotry”.
The provocative initiative started in Berlin, where two German activists Florian Filtzinger and Norbert Greuter decided to act, when few knew how to react to extreme measures being taken to limit human rights for Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgenders en Intersexuals in Russia. They acted singlehandedly. With no budget or power, just a phone, and a long list of friends. For three months they called up every friend they had, from all over the world, asking all if, on that day, they would rise up in their timezone. And ask if they wanted to talk to their own friends about why they would. It was their resolve that made true that, when the global wave of kiss-ins hit Berlin, it was the 17th city to join in since the start of the day, in what Wikipedia now call the largest flashmob. The largest as in “The largest ever”. When receiving the award, Florian Filtzinger commented in his resolve:
“We’ve all known situations when we’ve seen something terrible happening – either far away or right on our own door step – and felt powerless to do anything. And maybe especially because I’m a German, I could not just nod my head and remain silent and sad. It was the Russian people, who played a tremendous role in freeing my country and Europe from its darkest hour. It was the fathers and grandfathers of today’s Russia who fought and died for our freedom, which is again being suppressed by a law that sends people back into medieval darkness. We had to speak up and say, “Attention! The world is watching you!” in order to give hope to our brothers and sisters and show them that they don’t stand alone. We wanted to show that we can make a powerful stand in the tradition of non-violent protest, so we chose the most peaceful symbol to make the world aware of what is happening: the kiss.”
On that one day in September, thousands gathered from New-Zealand to Greece, from the Phillipines to Toronto, with selfmade banners and signs, friendship and pride too. And timezone after timezone, kiss-ins were performed in snow, rain and sun, with that one theme: that we can and should defend each’s quest for love, gay or straight alike, even when supressed or stifled by old men, like Vladimir. For all the jails Vladimir can fill with his old man fears, cannot contain the source of love, or the fight for it, even in hard times. And it won’t, for this fight to allow all, to love anyone, is not a gay fight anymore, the action showed that the world stands in solidarity with the continuation of the wish of every Russian to be and feel free from czarist ambitions to enforce narrow world-views and absurd limitations to your choice of who should be your lifepartner. A fight, where love will win in the end, for it cannot be contained forever by the childish opinion of others claiming illusory definitive power over it. On that day, a message was send from all over the globe, which was most valued. A message of love in solidarity to those oppressed by brutes. A message perhaps never broadcasted by the state-run media-outlets, dictated by law to fuel fearmongering, backing up sexual miseducation, reinterpreting bashings at Pride demonstrations, intimidation of activists, incarceration and gross autrocities laid for the eyes of the world. But a message most valued by all who were allowed to see, and worthy of the award. And it started all as Norbert Greuter recalls
“Because we could not do nothing anymore and watch the beginning nightmare. We wanted to help our Russian gay friends and show our support. As it was impossible to reach something on the domestic Russian front, we chose the foreign-policy way in sense and in front of the Russian embassies around the world.If you wanna send a message to an foreign country,you better bring that message to their embassies. And someone simply had to begin/react. Unfortunately the further developments had pointed that we had the right feeling about that”.
A response from Russia came quickly;
“We, Russian LGTB people and their allies, and would like to thank all the people around the world for who support us and express their concern about the events of our country in hope of making a difference and pulling Russia out of a tightening medieval darkness. To show global support and solidarity is very important to us, we organized in response an acknowledgement action “From Russia with love”. (…) Our posters did not carry any political message, we wrote words of gratitude without even indicating why and to who; those we send smiles and thanks to, will understand it anyway”
And with this award, and its attached 1000 euros for the next project of the organizers of the Global Kiss-in To Russia With Love, the Alert Fund honors those who showed up and stand in solidarity with LGTBI in Russia and anywhere else where humans are jailed, supressed or terrorized to fit a unnatural mold. To proof with a kiss, the resolve of our wish, that all who do, are allowed to love who you love. To make sure that Love wins over tyranny once more. For on that day, we stood together, gay and straight alike. United. Fearless. Fierce. And defiant to brutes in defence of love for all.
The world stands in solidarity with all Russians. More now than ever before, we’ll welcome the call of Russian youth with funding needs for projects in the defense of love. This fight ain’t over, old man.