Sunday the 24 of September, somewhere around 8 o’clock in the morning. Holding pamphlets in one hand and a statement on our t-shirt, we headed off in the direction of Brussels-Central station and the Hilton Hotel. Just like the previous year the American organization Men Having Babies choose this venue to promote their services. And yet again they had everything and even more on offer for those who long for children but lack eggs, uteruses, sperm and creativity on birth certificates.
Last year they already tried to intimidate us when a critical blog was intercepted by one of their business partners. This time around we decided not to attend the surrogacy fair, but to protest peacefully by handing out pamphlets to those visitors who voluntary accepted it.
My husband and children joined the protest. For years they are sitting in the front row seats as first hand witnesses of the fight and the injustice that is inflicted by the mass productions of humans that goes at the expenses of those conceived. They share the opinion that children should not be sold nor separated form their biological family just because an adult to claim a newborn.
Another donor conceived joined us and we friendly handed out a few pamphlets. Some visitors took it, others refused and that was ok for us. We saw some people behind the open window of the hotel looking and laughing at us. Some took pictures. It was the first sign that they were not happy with our presence. Not much later a couple of people came out of the hotel, asked for a flyer and immediately went back in.
Suddenly 3 MHB-workers appeared. Every visitor that had accepted our flyer whilst walking to the hotel was singled out by them. With a fake plastic smile and an overenthusiastic ’So happy/great to see you’ and a ‘Let me take that from you’ the flyer was pulled out of their hands even before they even were aware it. The potential customer was than guided to join the rest of the herd in the lobby. Personally it reminded me the way Scientology people react when outsiders try to question the upholded smoke and mirrors.
But that was not all. Not much later two police cars pulled up. Apparently they had phoned them up and told them we aggressively had bothered the visitors pushing the pamphlets in their hands. The police came to question us.
We explained them that we were protesting peacefully (the security camera’s can proof this). The police men suggested that we weren’t allow to protest because we didn’t have the permission to protest. Apparently the permission to protest was only granted for Saturday even though the Surrogacy fair ran for the whole weekend. I replied that I had had contact with the ministry of Justice. They had forwarded me the link so I could submit an official protesting-request. But the online tool didn’t work, I got an error-notification on the website. Not letting the exercise of a constitutional right depend on a not-working government tool, I emailed the mayor of Brussels with the request. He didn’t respond nor did he let us know that we weren’t allowed to protest. The police men put down our passport numbers and we are now awaiting possible repercussions.
Isn’t it absurd that people who are protesting and trying to represent the voice of the innocent are at risk of prosecution and penalty, whilst 10 meters from that exact spot an event is taking place that not only promotes child trafficking, it actually facilitates it? And how distressing it is that politicians rather prefer sticking their heads in the sand and allow this kind of event than put a halt to it because integrity of children and women are affected from the moment they are seen and treated as commodities, contributors and vessels.
The aggressive response of Men Having Babies left a big imprint on both of my children (9 and 11). I have tried to explain them that this organization doesn’t care about the welfare, interests, consequences or impact of their actions. And that they are just here to generate as much as profit as they can make. Every potential customer they are not able to wheel in, is 30 to 100,000 euro less earnings to divide. Ethics and respect are long gone when money has to be made.