Zohl de Ishtar (Australia)


1916“Women, cherish yourselves and engage in acts of passionate resistance and resilience for this can create a force so potent that it banishes the darkness and brings peace back into the world.”

An Irish-Australian lesbian, Zohl de Ishtar works with indigenous women in indigenous-led and initiated projects at community and international levels. She has campaigned on abolition of nuclear weapons and militarism, eradication of colonialism, promotion of inalienable sovereign rights of all peoples, protection of cultural integrity, and ending discrimination in any form, including that based on sexuality.

Zohl de Ishtar has long been encouraging white people to unlearn and undo their negative cultural behaviors towards indigenous peoples. Her sense of urgency was stirred afresh while working with the women elders of Wirrimanu (aka Balgo) in Western Australia’s Great Sandy Desert. From 1999 to 2001, she lived with and assisted the women elders of this remote Aboriginal community to establish the Kapululangu Women’s Law and Culture Centre, one of Australia’s most vibrant cultural revitalization projects. As Zohl worked with these women elders who were leading custodians and teachers of cultural knowledge for their peoples she realized how concerned they were for their peoples, and for their future generations. Historically, white Australian society has eliminated and restricted opportunities for indigenous Aboriginal elders to pass on their cultural knowledge to future generations. “Indigenous lives are still being torn apart by intrusive white cultural practices, which operate on the hidden assumption of white supremacy,” says Zohl. “Even the most well-meaning white people have little understanding of their complicity in these flawed cultural traits”. The knowledge that white people must unlearn their prejudices and dismantle their structural racism before they can become true allies of indigenous peoples in the struggle for justice inspires Zohl to continue her commitment to raise awareness of the impacts of cultural colonialism.

Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific Movement (NFIP) Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp Lesbian movement

Oceania | Australia

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