(A text distributed on the streets of Athens these days. See this post for some background information on Konstantina’s case)
The attack against Konstantina Kuneva wasn’t a murderous one. Her likely death as a result of this attack was a secondary issue for the pigs who conducted it. The sulfuric acid was used for her stigmatisation, her degradation, her disgrace. For her return to order, to the domestic and private, to the role of woman.
Sulfuric acid attacks aim for the face and this is anything but a coincidence. The face of the woman in patriarchy is laid through the antagonism around stereotypes of beauty. A woman has a public face to the extent that she is beautiful. When a woman tries to gain a face not for what she “is” but for what she does, she has to be put back in her place – the place of the private, the place of gender normality as defined by male sovereignty. Especially when her position as a cleaner incorporates, more than any, the “meaning” of her social gender as the non-productive, the family-gender, the passive, the reproductive. As the servant staff of those who “really work”.
In the face of Kuneva the symbolisms of the woman, the migrant, the cleaner sprang up a movement opposite to their mirroring. The face attacked by the acid was one that attempted to gain materiality and meaning that went beyond accepted boundaries.
Kuneva perceived herself as a worker and such she stormed in the male castle of syndicalism. She therefore attacked subservience, the borders of her gender, of the domestic – challenging some of the roles upon which lays the contemporary barbarism. She turned herself into an enemy that must be eliminated, not as a physical presence but as a personality.
If the bosses wanted to kill her they would shoot her. If they wanted to terrorise her they would beat her up. They would treat her as an enemy that deserves to be punished equally – that is, as a man. Yet her burnt face is a symbol of things as they should be: the symbol of male order. The sulfuric acid will either lock her home or will turn her into a reminder of the consequences faced by any woman who questions this very order. This is the logic of the swines. And their hand was armed by the male view on things and the world. The world, that is, as it is now and as it should continue to be.
In the struggle against this world Konstantina is not alone.