Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Gender of War

In The Christian Science Monitor, Rachel Brown makes a very strange case. She essentially says two things: That women are disproportionally suffering from the crisis, and that if women will be more involved in negotiations, it would improve peace results.

The first argument is half-plausible; The second not at all. Women are weaker than men, and thus maybe "increased levels of militarization and violence have affected women disproportionately, particularly in poor and marginalized communities", although it would've been nice to see some evidence for that claim. But men are the ones fighting, and thus the ones who are dying and falling captive more; So a case could be made that they are suffering more.

Indeed, Brown's strange view that "civilians on the ground suffer during armed conflict – and ... bears the largest burden of violence" is undefended. In western thought, non combatant deserve special protection in war; It's not OK to kill them as it is to kill soldiers and fighters. But I seriously doubt they suffer more than fighters. After all, fighters face all the "normal" risks and dangers faced by civilians (destruction of their home, loss of economic opportunities, death or injury of themselves or relatives and friends, etc), plus direct threat to their own life and health during or as a consequence of military operations or training accidents. It is true however, that many Palestinian and some Israeli combatants recieve wages from their respective governments though, and thus face somewhat more limited economic hardship.

And none of this offers any evidence thaan women's involvement would solve the conflict, or make it any better. There has been many women involved in the resolution of this conflict: 3 out of 5 American Secretaries of states since the Oslo process has begun had been women. On the Israeli side Tzipi Livny had been foreign secretary for years under Sharon and Olmert's governments, and one prominent palestinian leader had been Hannan Ashrawi. There has been many more women involved in the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations than in the Egyptian-Israeli or the Jordanian-Israeli ones.

I don't know what the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but I doubt girl power is the answer.


Blogger TexasRose said...

Beyond gender
War eclipses lives, brings extreme suffering and glory to none, including all genders. To argue about the relative degree of suffering misses the mark: war remains an ignorant and crude consciousness worthy of elimination, immediately. O, that we would float on a blue planet freed of corruption, war, deceit--marginalized by petty issues rooted in hate, greed and corruption. Fly all- as vultures become swans or doves of peace and plenty for every nation--vibrant in its own integrity. Visions can and do happen, hinging on the transparent threads of thought. All happens on an idea, thought. Good and sunshine thoughts your way!

6:07 PM  

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