Friday, March 22, 2013

Terrorism and Horror in Iraq and Afghanistan: reports from Yanar Mohammed and Arundhati Roy

This is an older video still of Yanar Mohammed appearing on Democracy Now! She now lives and works in Iraq. The image is from here.

image of Arundhati Roy is from here
This post's links detail why 'First World'-only justice movements, for people in the First World, are anti-woman if they don't center the experiences of women around the world enduring injustices and horrors not generally experienced by privileged women, and men, in the First World.

For me, a white male from the misnamed First World, seeing images is going to be as bad as it gets. I won't endure the experience of holding a baby with horrifying birth defects, nor will I be a woman who lives in a country where these birth defects, rape, military invasion, and white, patriarchal, imperialist terrorism are, together, committed by the military from the U.S. I can suffer from seeing images and hearing stories, but that's quite different from being the terrorised, horrified person in them.

The U.S. war on Iraq began ten years ago this week. Democracy Now! has been reporting on this war's crimes against humanity, and what U.S. media will not tell us about it. We must, collectively, require accountability and justice from the U.S. for these war crimes.

Here, Yanar Mohammed speaks about the atrocities facing women:

An excerpt of the transcript:
NERMEEN SHAIKH: And what do you see has happened in Iraq in these last 10 years?
YANAR MOHAMMED: It’s just getting worse. We are again in a police state. We have armies, police and all kinds of intelligence institutions around us. We have SWAT. We have anti-riot. It’s all kinds of security institutions around us.

And on top of that, I see the women in my country getting much weaker. I see an epidemic rise in certain kinds of birth defects. And when we try to organize women—we sent women from my organization to a town in Haweeja. We were surprised to see hundreds of children that had birth disabilities. We see things in Iraq that we’ve never seen in our lives.

I also see young women, orphans of war, female orphans of war, that are being trafficked. And the state absolutely has no obligation towards them. The young women who are being trafficked come to our organization and to our shelters. They don’t even have the right to citizenship in Iraq. We are speaking here about tens of thousands of orphans of war who are absolutely not being taken care of. Neither the Iraqi government nor the U.S. experts in Iraq do anything about it.

Here, Arundhati Roy speaks out about the complete psychosis of U.S. leaders in thinking things are better for women in Afghanistan now than ten-plus years ago:

Below is an excerpt from the transcript:
We are dealing with a psychopathic situation. And all of us, including myself, we can’t do anything but keep being reasonable, keep saying what needs to be said. But that doesn’t seem to help the situation, because, of course, as we know, after Iraq, there’s been Libya, there’s Syria, and the rhetoric of, you know, democracy versus radical Islam. When you look at the countries that were attacked, none of them were Wahhabi Islamic fundamentalist countries. Those ones are supported, financed by the U.S., so there is a real collusion between radical Islam and capitalism. What is going on is really a different kind of battle.
And, you know, most people are led up a path which keeps them busy. And in a way, all of us are being kept busy, while the real business at the heart of it—I mean, apart from the people who suffered during the war. Let’s not forget the sanctions. Let’s not forget Madeleine Albright saying that a million children dying in Iraq because of the sanctions was a hard price but worth it. I mean, she was the victim, it seems, of the sanctions; you know, her softness was called upon, and she had to brazen herself to do it. And today, you have the Democrats bombing Pakistan, destroying that country, too. So, just in this last decade, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria—all these countries have been—have been shattered.
You know, we heard a lot about why—you know, the war in Afghanistan was fought for feminist reasons, and the Marines were really on this feminist mission. But today, all the women in all these countries have been driven back into medieval situations. Women who were liberated, women who were doctors and lawyers and poets and writers and—you know, pushed back into this Shia set against Sunnis. The U.S. is supporting al-Qaeda militias all over this region and pretending that it’s fighting Islam. So we are in a situation of—it is psychopathic.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Happy International Women's Day!!!!

poster from the 100th IWD in 2011 is from here
IWD is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

In celebration of all the work, all the hard labor, all the unrecognised contributions women across the globe make to humanity, especially to their own humanity, I post this in honor of women around the world!