Thursday, July 13, 2006

Why feminisim and being anti-war intersect so fiercely...

Women all over the world-- as a group-- have the most skin in the game when it comes to wars, even if they aren't formally fighting on the front-lines... Children they have already born and raised are expected to become cannon fodder-- willingly; children they are still raising may become cannon fodder merely by accident; and yet, women are are expected to be innocent enough to be eternal optimists, expected, as such, to reproduce even more cannon fodder, in order to keep the machines of war (and its attendant industries, for that matter) humming along. *

In addition to losing their children, or their own fathers or brothers, they may also lose their children's fathers, leaving them to explain it in some way, that will allow them to preserve whatever might be left of their children's own innocence.

In some wars, women's and girls' own bodies have been used as repositories for acts of ethnic cleansing, making rape, finally, an act of war or terror, and punishable as a war crime. In other wars, women and girls are raped and tortured-- if not to gain some sort of "actionable intelligence"-- then merely for sport or as an outlet for soldiers' rage.

Knowing these things, perhaps you, too, feel as utterly outraged as I do that rightwing ranters, who still feel entitled to support this misbegotten war in Iraq, feel equally entitled to mock the women of CodePink and their supporters during their Fast opposing the war, just because it does not fit all of their (the right-wingers') parameters of what constitutes a proper Fast! They mock them because they can. Because they are mocking women (mostly), who are unprotected by humvees, flack jackets, and automatic rifles, and "armed" only with their uteruses (and their minds and hearts?) to distinguish them from the war mongerers. (Yes, I know there are some right-wing women who support the war-- and I ascribe that enigma to a dominant Athena archetype in their personalities.)

What I really want to know is whether the under-documented, but well-anecdoted, cases of innocent civilians, especially those including women and girls being raped, tortured and murdered will allow this same war to fall within their own parameters of a well-thought-out and -executed war? Just wondering...

However, given the lack of coverage of the real Iraq in the MSM, perhaps one should give the War's supporters the benefit of the doubt, in case such ranters are not aware of the "situation on the ground" as it is now for most Iraqi women. If so, and if you know any, you might invite them to read some of the following...

In spite of rape being vastly under-reported in Iraq, reports of horrific abuse are beginning to accumulate, and are listed and summarized in this report on "Sexual Terrorism and Iraqi Women," by Ruth Rosen (author of The World Split Open) on

Mostly likely the war-supporting ranters were/are aware of the story of the young Iraqi girl/woman who was raped, murdered, her body burned, and her family slain, but still consider such an outrage to be a rare occurrence. Perhaps it was, since her family was slain, too. However Rosen's writings, as well as other sources cited just prior to her article indicate that the problem is much more wide-spread, but vastly underreported. Underreported, because these rapes occur in a culture where the shame of rape attaches itself, not to the perpetrator, but to the woman, often resulting in honor killings, not just of the perpetrator, but often of the woman (or girl!) herself.

Tom Englehardt also links to the most recent post by Riverbend, a young Iraqi woman blogging from Baghdad. Who can even begin to comprehend what that must be like? Riverbend's eloquent prose explains it to us, including these two paragraphs:
Imagine your 14-year-old sister or your 14-year-old daughter. Imagine her being gang-raped by a group of psychopaths and then the girl was killed and her body burned to cover up the rape. Finally, her parents and her five-year-old sister were also killed. Hail the American heroes... Raise your heads high supporters of the 'liberation' - your troops have made you proud today. I don't believe the troops should be tried in American courts. I believe they should be handed over to the people in the area and only then will justice be properly served. And our ass of a PM, Nouri Al-Maliki, is requesting an 'independent investigation', ensconced safely in his American guarded compound because it wasn't his daughter or sister who was raped, probably tortured and killed. His family is abroad safe from the hands of furious Iraqis and psychotic American troops.

It fills me with rage to hear about it and read about it. The pity I once had for foreign troops in Iraq is gone. It's been eradicated by the atrocities in Abu Ghraib, the deaths in Haditha and the latest news of rapes and killings. I look at them in their armored vehicles and to be honest- I can't bring myself to care whether they are 19 or 39. I can't bring myself to care if they make it back home alive. I can't bring myself to care anymore about the wife or parents or children they left behind. I can't bring myself to care because it's difficult to see beyond the horrors. I look at them and wonder just how many innocents they killed and how many more they'll kill before they go home. How many more young Iraqi girls will they rape?
I know what my own rage feels like when I read of these atrocities... to think that this is being done in our names! (We need to invent new punctuation just for this outrage about war) How much more rage is it possible for a human to feel? Perhaps it's now ironic that I am opposed to the death penalty, for I would, under similar circumstances, undoubtedly feel as she does: hand them over to the locals.

The problem is that those who really should be handed over to the locals are safely ensconced in Washington, where they have plenty of air conditioning to buffer them from the heat, and even the necessary equipment to rescue themselves and their surroundings when there is something as unusual as a flood, and plenty of electricity-- day and night-- as well as potable water, fuel for their cars, and relative security to go about their business each day, rather than hunkering down in their homes, unable to leave for fear of being kidnapped, raped, murdered. Yet, they are the ones who have brought down this fate upon tens of thousands (or more?) of Iraqi people, especially women. So much for the much-lauded "liberation" of Iraqi women, who were already leading more secular lives than the rest of their Islam-dominated sisters.

It is a small comfort, but it is something, that at least one member of Congress feels similarly. Rep. Jim McDermott, writing at the Huffington Post, makes an excellent case for Bush's keeping Rumsfeld instead of accepting his resignation... but transferring him to Baghdad. For the duration.

Great idea, but I think there a number of others who should be required to go with Rumsfield, which brings up a technical point: Does Congress have the power to send Bush to Iraq, as well, as a condition of approving any additional funding? Again, just wondering... After all, he is the Commander-in-Chief, or as he prefers to call himself: the Decider. Shouldn't the Decider also be present?

* Pretty ironic, isn't it, when you consider the numbers of self-righteous, right-wing men who would deny a woman the right to choose whether she wants to continue a pregnancy? To put it in their own terms: How can they know whether her "means & ends" equations are any less valid than their own?


Blogger Dr. Omed said...

In Homeric legend, the Trojan War ensues because Paris (Son of Priam the King of Troy)choses Aphrodite over Athena or Hera. Ares and Aphrodite are well matched.

Athena in the Odyssey fondly refers to Odysseus as "sophron," a word related to "sophia," wisdom, but meaning something closer to wily than wise. Athena herself is often refered to as "teknon," which means clever, or handy. Odysseus wins out because he is clever, handy, and wily as well as persevering and brave. He succeeds by subterfuge, trickery, bluff, as much as by strength and force of arms. He is always thinking, calculating, even when in the press of action. In all these things he emulates his patroness, Athena. This is why he lives and Paris and Achilles die at Troy.

Athena is not a goddess of war tho' She wears a helmet, carries a spear, and has the face of Gorgon on her aegis. She is the goddess of taking the main chance, of the well calculated risk, the clever idea, the simple but elegant ploy. In this She suited the 5th century B.C.E. Athenians.

The right wing bitches who support the serve an altogether bloodier less discriminating deity.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Dr. Omed said...

Erratum: support the WAR serve an altogether...

7:07 PM  
Blogger Lyssa Strada said...

True... but I was thinking of Athena's male-identification... her preference for her father, and the parallel with right-wing war-supporting women who live to support the patriarchy. A little Athena is good for a woman, but too much can crowd out the other archetypes.

And thank you for the background info, Dr. O!

11:27 PM  
Blogger Dr. Omed said...

Point taken.

he aleithia estin ho philos. (The truth is a friend.)

3:44 AM  
Blogger Stephanie said...

There is a line in the movie Paradise Road which I found somehow appropriate to the current administration.

After one of their Japanese captors tells them that something they have done is considered bad manners, a young woman berates him by saying, [paraphrased] "You starve us, make us clean latrines, beat us [and numerous other atrocities] and you have the nerve to lecture us on manners?"

12:35 PM  

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