Militarisation

MAR 2014
Women at a recent summit in Mindanao, Southern Philippines, called on the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to include their views in the drafting of the Basic Law for the new Bangsamoro region. This self-governing entity has emerged following a peace agreement after decades of armed conflict.

In collaboration with a group of independent Syrian women representing all spectrums of Syrian society and Syrian Women Forum for Peace, on January 6, 2014, more than 60 Syrian women from a number of Syrian districts and governorates met in Damascus to discuss the role of women in peacemaking and develop priorities of Syrian women under the Geneva Conference 2.

سألته مرّة ان كان يمانع أن أكتب عن تجربته فقال “أي تجربة؟“، قلت له “تجربتك في الحرب الأهلية“، فردّ بسرعة بعينين شبه عابستين: “أنا ما شاركت بالحرب الأهلية“. ضحكت أمي وقالت بلهجة ساخرة: “انت ما شاركت بالحرب الأهلية؟!”. سؤال استنكاري دفع به الى اطلاق شبه ضحكة. أبي لا يعتبر نفسه مشاركاً في الحرب الأهلية، على الرغم من أنه قضى نصف عمره حاملا الكلاشينكوف بين زواريب “الغربية” و“الشرقية” تحت أزيز الرصاص، والنصف الآخر قضاه يدفع ثمن النصف الأول.

Rose Codner

 

Under the ruins which was a city

and the stones which were a home 

with the burnt trunks which were trees

and the dried blood which was a person

look there

for under the ruins and the stones and the dust

lie golden ingots uncollected by the invaders.

 

On Thursday, October 31st, Murad Sobay; a young Yemeni graffiti artist, and some other young activists were painting drones on the walls of Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, to protest the repeated strikes against al-Qaeda in many parts of Yemen. At the same time, several battles between the Salafists and Shiites (Houthis) were taking place in Dammaj, Saada; northern Yemen.

Leen Hashem

I asked my father once if he would mind me writing about his experience. "What experience?" he inquired. "Your experience in the Civil War",[1] I said. He responded immediately "I did not participate in the Civil War". My father does not count himself as a participant in the Civil War, despite the fact that he spent half of his life carrying a rifle in Beirut's "Western" and "Eastern" suburbs, and he spent the other half paying for the first half.

He preferred me not to write about it, but his experience is also mine; present in my present as in my past. I feel my chest tighten when I see pictures of the dead, or mothers of the disappeared, or when former militia men appear on TV as the "new" statesmen. When my mother speaks to me of long nights waiting for my father to come home, my own head aches.

This volume looks back at a wealth of women’s peacebuilding practice documented by Accord since 1998. Case studies from Cambodia, Sierra Leone, northern Uganda, Papua New Guinea–Bougainville, Northern Ireland, Angola, Sudan, Indonesia–Aceh and Somalia (presented in the chronological order in which the original Accord issues were published) shed light on what women peacebuilders have done to overcome conflict and the challenges they encountered. The cases reflect women’s practice in particular contexts yet also provide general insights for peacebuilding practitioners and policymakers – insights into what women peacebuilders can achieve and how they can be effectively supported in their efforts.

[The following text is an extract from Cihan Aksan and Jon Bailes’ recent book Weapon of the Strong: Conversations on US State Terrorism (Pluto, 2012), also featuring Noam Chomsky, Richard Falk, Edward S. Herman, Norman Finkelstein, and others.  Click here for more details.]

To what extent, in your view, do the ways in which mainstream media select and contextualise events determine the boundaries of public thinking?  You have said on one hand, regarding the “framing” of war and terrorism, that, “Efforts to control the visual and narrative dimensions of war delimit public discourse by establishing and disposing the sensuous parameters of reality itself”,[i] but also that “specters are produced that haunt the ratified version of reality”.[ii]

Judith Butler: There are surely many ways that this happens, but we can note at the most obvious level the way in which forms of resistance or violence get cast as “conflicts” that assume two sides that are fighting only against one another.  We are more often than not asked, for instance, to regard Israel and Palestine as in a conflict of this kind, a framing that sets each of them on equal footing, and implicitly analogises the political situation to a fist fight, a soccer match, or a domestic quarrel.  So if, then, the only two intelligible political positions are “pro-Palestinian” or “pro-Israeli,” the presumption is that one’s position is determined by a sentiment that wants one side to win over the other.  In the meantime, what is lost is any sense that the Palestinian resistance to Israeli colonial rule is waged from a situation of occupation or expulsion, that there is a military order that controls the boundaries of what would be a sovereign Palestinian state, that the land on which that state is now thinkable has been radically diminished by an ongoing practice of land confiscation and appropriation.  So we set the actors on the scene through the banal discourse of “conflict” in ways that fully deflect from the history and struggle of colonial resistance, refusing as well by that means to link the resistance to other forms of colonial resistance, their rationale, and their tactics.

Obviously, visual renditions of war not only establish what can be seen, and the audio-track established what can be heard, but the photographs also “train” us in ways of focusing on targets, ways of regarding suffering and loss.  So photographs can be forms of recruitment, ways of bringing the viewer into the military, as it were. In this way, they prepare us for war, even enlist us in war, at the level of the senses, establishing a sensate regime of war.

Since the beginning of July 2013, the Sudanese government started planting mines in the area of Unch- the Nuba tribes- south of Dillanj city, the second largest city in Nuba mountains Southern Kordofan state. The government troops planted mines through the valley that connect the west and the east of Nuba mountains, crossing the villages of Daliba, Wata, Alrajol, Altungol, and the Alaf agricultural project. 

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