Women's Oppression and Stopping these Wars

Protesting
By Lina Thorne

Today, 100 years after the first International Women's Day, women are STILL oppressed and subjugated, here in the US and around the world.

If you have to ask how women are oppressed here, look at the work of the U.S. Congress and many state legislatures to dismantle access to abortion, birth control, and even pap smears.

The United States is occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, justifying them in part because they will bring "democracy" and better lives for the people, women especially. But US-backed policies in Afghanistan which have attempted to slightly undo decades of fundamentalist oppression are now being discarded.

The Washington Post quotes a US official talking about this: "The grim reality is that, despite all of the talk about promoting women's rights, things are going to have to give."

So this means, after unleashing the most powerful military against the poorest country in the world for over 9 years of raids, bombings, and devastation, the rhetoric about "women's liberation" is finally conceded to be just that: rhetoric. Rhetoric which mainly served to demobilize good people here who, horrified by the medieval abuse of women under the Taliban, supported the US invasion, or at least have silently watched the years gone by and wishfully suppressed any further investigation into the true nature of this occupation.

In Iraq, in addition to suffering the destruction and death that all Iraqis have faced, women now have less rights than they did under Saddam Hussein (who was, if nothing else, secular).

Mission accomplished?

If you care about women, the sooner you lose the wishful thinking and join us in protesting these wars the better. The United States does not and will not enforce women's liberation or democracy within the countries it invades.

The women struggling to be free in these and other countries need our political support (as "members of civil society; not as states" as an Iranian activist once told me). In Egypt today, the march for women's rights was disrupted by a mob of men chanting: "Men are men and women are women and that will never change and go home, that's where you belong." A better world is possible but it will only happen with women and men fighting to end all oppression.

We need a morality that transcends borders. We need a movement that fights for justice for human beings of all genders and nationalities. We need an ethos that values the lives of all the people of the world and and brooks no compromise over our fundamental rights. Let's stand with women and STOP THESE WARS!

 

This originally appeared on Open Salon on March 8, 2011, International Women's Day.