Friday, April 13, 2007

Feminists debate logic of "humanitarian" warwar

"Dust in the Eyes of the World." By Anna Carastathis. October 19, 2006

Is the military deployment in Aghanistan – which some Afghan feminists are calling an occupation– improving the lives of women? The claim that the war in Afghanistan will liberate Afghan women has been circulating since before the bombs began to drop, on October 7, 2001. By mid-October of that year--the day before World Food Day--the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that 7.5 million Afghans had no access to food and were at risk of starvation. A few months later, on January 29, 2002, during his State of the Union address, George Bush jubilantly declared: "Today, women are free and are part of Afghanistan's new government." In July 2006, it was reported that the war had created 2.2 million refugees and at least 153,200 internally displaced people. It is estimated that between 12,541 and 25,308 Afghan people have died in the war.

Global opposition to the invasion of Iraq was mobilized even before the war began; by contrast, the war in Afghanistan, spun as a humanitarian effort, is the war relatively few Canadians seem to want to--or know how to--audibly oppose. Canadians take pride in themselves for not following the United States into an illegal war in Iraq, but not many questions were raised about Canada taking over the US mandate in Afghanistan (which allowed the US to focus its military and resources in Iraq). Part of the reason for this is that the war in Afghanistan – named 'Operation Enduring Freedom' – was, from the beginning, promoted as war that would restore the women's rights by deposing the Taliban.

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