The Department of Gender Studies mourns the victims of the terror attack in Vienna on 2 November 2020. We share, in English translation, the obituary for Gudrun, one of the victims, issued by the FrauenLesbenMädchenZentrum Vienna, with which she had been associated.
What do male violence and militarization have to do with the prevailing conditions?
An Obituary for Gudrun
from FZ, the FrauenLesbenMädchenMigrantinnen-Zentrum (Center for WomenLesbiansGirlsMigrantWomen), Vienna
On November 2, 2020, a young man committed an attack in Vienna in which four people were indiscriminately killed and several more injured. One of the deadly victims was Gudrun, who helped shape the FZ bar for many years.
As the FZ-FrauenLesbenMädchenMigrantinnen Zentrum (Center for WomenLesbiansGirlsMigrantWomen), we commemorate our long-time comrade and compañera Gudrun, who was killed on November 2nd by the attack of a young man. The action of the perpetrator may have been based on hatred of an exclusionary, racist system. But the hatred of indiscriminately killing people is murderous, just as the system he may have tried to fight against.
We knew Gudrun as an energetic woman for whom it was important that there was a place where WomenLesbians can come together, support each other, and organize. We are indebted to her countless hours of voluntary work at the FZ, because it mattered to her that this feminist place was available for women! We will particularly remember her commitment to the renovation of the entire FZ bar in 2003. For many years she was instrumental in co-organizing the parties [in the FZ] after the demonstration on March 8, International Women’s Day.
Often, she sat down with the women at the table and always had an open ear, also for the difficult realities of life. For many, she was a friend and an important reference person in finding a lesbian identity. She gave a lot to many and knew how to do it without a lot of fuss. As her sister has already said in the published obituary [in the Vienna daily Der Standard], hate and violence were not a solution for Gudrun, but part of the problem of our society. A major and central concern of hers was to stand up against violence against women.
As activist, she was committed to an anti-racist and anti-patriarchal society and would not have wanted political decision-makers, as can currently be observed, to evade their responsibility for conditions that distribute privileges and power in a highly unequal manner. She would also not have wanted that – as a result of the attack – the [Austrian] citizenship law might be tightened and discrimination, marginalization, and social exclusion thereby intensified.
We would have talked with her about the connection between male violence and racist violence. For example, about the femicide that took place in Penzing shortly before the attack, about the death of a prisoner in detention pending deportation two weeks ago, and about the planned deportations on November 12, when numerous people are to be deported to Nigeria by charter flight.
How exclusive and racist are our society and our educational system? What do male violence and militarization have to do with the prevailing circumstances? What right does Sebastian Kurz have to speak about a fight between civilization and barbarism, when it is precisely this supposedly “civilized” policy that is partly responsible for what he calls “barbaric” conditions?
These are questions that Gudrun would have asked herself and that characterized her political stance. Our struggles for a different society, for a different world require precisely this perspective and solidarity in action when it comes to exclusion and chivy.
We say goodbye to our sister, friend, and comrade in arms Gudrun! We will miss you!
We express our deepest condolences to her relatives, her partner, and her close friends and also to all relatives and friends of those who lost their lives in the attack! Simultaneously, we remember those who were killed in the attack in Kabul, which took place on the same day and which led to 19 dead and many injured. We mourn with you!
We will continue to be active in combatting violence against women, femicides, and misogynist conditions and in promoting an autonomous, lively presence of women and of lesbian visibility! We declare war on racism, patriarchy, and capitalism!
With all our strength and love for life we continue to fight for a good life for everyone worldwide!
The obituary was read out at a demonstration in Vienna which took place on 9 November 2020, one week after the attack. It is being published as an article in the women's and lesbians’ magazine Krampfader (November 2020).