(Warning: this is a rant. Nothing new in this post.)
The key distinction is the idea of issu-ING deliverance, for it has surely not been issued completely yet. When we look back on all that women have gone through – and I speak from the position of being a woman of color in the United States – we see that history has carried women on its ebb and flow, consistently carrying them through failures and gains.
And we must acknowledge the gains, and honor the women and men that fought so hard for them. Women now can vote and are active members of society. It is generally well accepted that the female gender is and will always remain an important and entire one half of the population.
Yet, I feel fury at times because that as women, we still accept the fact that senile old men in richly decorated offices get to dictate what we do with our bodies. We still accept the fact that in some states, women have to pay higher insurance rates than men. We accept the fact that a woman’s decision to rear a child is not entirely in her hands. We accept the fact that Planned Parenthood is being cut left and right by our elected officials. We accept unequal pay based on gender. We accept the fact that our legislatures institutionalize policies that condemn us to being less than fully adult human beings.
We cannot accept this anymore, because the truth is, we have not been delivered. Deliverance has not been issued, and we are the only ones that can issue it.
We must be fearless.
Tonight, I came across this article by Lila Abu Lughod and Maya Mikdashi on Jadaliyya. It is entitled, “Tradition and the Anti-Politics Machine: DAM Seduced by the ‘Honor Crime.'” The article expresses disappointment with DAM’s latest video condemning honor killings. I would advise the reader to read the Jadaliyya article and watch the video prior to reading my response.
I was excited to read an article from two of my favorite Arab scholars. Yet, slowly – I couldn’t help but disagree with almost every claim made in the article, and reject nearly all premises that their arguments were founded upon. Below is a point by point summary of my thoughts. Excuse the poor grammar and writing style, I really was writing in a hurry.
…not freedom from the state or from the violence of settler colonialism that shape her community, but freedom from her family’s decisions about her marriage.
Yes. Freedom from her family’s decisions – true, real freedom starts in the household. If we cannot achieve that first, what makes us think that we can attain freedom from anything else? We live in ecosystems, and the ecosystem closest to us is that of the household. It affects us in the most direct manner. Yes, she protests and fights this type of ignorance first – it is only then that she can partake in broader struggles healthily and fully.
…Young Palestinian women do all of these, every day, in particular places, under specific historical conditions.
In producing this video, I don’t think DAM’s goal is to highlight (the very admirable, strong) women of Palestine. Rather, they were shedding light on a very important issue that some women suffer. Further – the video is about violence against women, not settler colonialism. You can only address so much in 4 minutes.
…What solution is this?
The scene represented a “heaven” of sorts where women who suffered domestic violence, or who died because of an honor killing, go. Not a solution. I think the purpose of this scene is to bring some sort of comfort to the woman who was killed. As in – “Many women suffered your fate.” This is what these women would have liked to be, see, or do in their living days. But instead, they all ended up dying because their father/brother/uncle/cousin killed them.
DAM ignores the committed Palestinian feminist activists who have been working for decades on the various forms of violence Palestinian women suffer.
Dude, really? How? How can the (+) positive addition of one video condemning violence to a wealth of activist expressions against violence insinuate an ignorance of all other efforts? This statement is so unfair.
They have been analyzing what comes together to produce familial violence: economic strangulation; the frustration of occupation and unemployment; the militarization of society; the physical barriers that disrupt movement and police life; the lack of legitimacy of laws and authorities.
Sure. But have all those things ALWAYS existed? Honor killings have been happening for quite some time all over the world. I think of all the factors listed above, the following holds the most merit: lack of legitimate laws and authorities. This factor holds true across several generations and political atmospheres.