My Petit Trianon

Monday, August 07, 2006

Politically incorrect deaths

A couple a weeks ago I read in a newspaper about a Palestinian mother who told the reporter that she would be glad if all her sons died as martyrs in their struggle against Israel and the US. The story served as a grim reminder of the fact that not all women are peacebuilders just by the virtue of being women.

Many women's NGOs working in the security sector reform like to portray women as natural peacebuilders in post-conflict contexts. This is understandable because women continue to be excluded from peace negotiation tables. What is regrettable is that in order to push for women's rights, activists keep on reproducing the outdated notions of good women/bad men and women as victims/men as perpetrators.

Few weeks ago I attended an international symposium on sexual violence against women in conflicts. In the end of the symposium we drafted a declaration. During the discussion something disturbing happened. One female delegate pointed out that in conflicts also civilian men experience and die from gender-based violence, which should be included in the declaration. The chairwoman dismissed the intervention claiming that it would be a 'politically incorrect' thing to do.

Now, I became a feminist when I noticed how women are invisible and excluded from public arena. I became a feminist when I saw how one half of the world is marginalised, oppressed and abused by the other half.
For me feminism has never been about being 'politically correct'. When men as gendered human beings suffer from sexual abuse and die because of it, my feminism dictates that the international community has to address it.

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