I asked my father once if he would mind me writing about his experience. "What experience?" he inquired. "Your experience in the Civil War", 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.
Fleeing home has come with an unexpected benefit - for the first time the girls are going to school.
Ten-year-old Aliya and eight-year-old Asma arrived at Jalozai refugee camp two weeks ago, after escaping a recent surge in hostilities between government forces and militants near the border with Afghanistan.
La guerre au Mali ne se limite pas à mettre fin au terrorisme ; c’est une lutte pour défendre une société tolérante et laïque.
Avant même que ne commence l’intervention française au Mali, 412 000 personnes avaient déjà quitté leurs maisons au nord du pays, fuyant la torture, les exécutions sommaires, le recrutement d’ enfants-soldats et la violence sexuelle envers les femmes aux mains des intégristes. A la fin de l’année dernière, en Algérie et dans le sud du Mali, j’ai interviewé des dizaines de maliens du nord, y compris nombre de ceux qui avaient fui récemment. Leurs témoignages confirment les horreurs que les radicaux islamistes, autoproclamés guerriers de dieu, ont fait subir à leurs communautés.