'Terror, Counter-Terror. Women Speak Out' and 'Feminists under fire. Exchanges across War Zones'

IssueMarch - May 2004

Did 9/11 force us to redefine our understanding of “war zones”, and acknowledge that the continuum of war and violence has no temporal or spatial boundaries?

As the editors of Terror, Counter-Terror argue, feminists have long been involved in identifying and challenging the continuum of violence experienced by women, and are in a unique position to address the issues of militarism and terrorism, gender and nationalism, globalisation and discrimination that were thrown into sharp focus one sunny day in September.

Complied in the shadow of 9/11 and imminent attacks on Afghanistan, Terror, Counter-Terror is an urgent and immediate response to the “war on terror” by writers, journalists, women living with war, and women's organisations whose statements of support and protest spread across the world in the wake of 9/11. With contributions from Susan Sontag, Dubravka Ugresic and Barbara Kingsolver, the more urgent texts are underpinned by “sliver of the range” of feminist writings on the gendering of war and violence, including from Afghanistan, Palestine, Pakistan, Gujarat and Kashmir.

Feminists under Fire is more reflective - the outcome of a long term comparative project by the Women in Conflict Zones network (WICZnet), describing the spaces occupied by women in the wars in former Yugoslavia and Sri Lanka. Placing these wars in their historical and nationalist contexts, Feminists under Fire explores the militarisation of women and miltarised violence, relating the politics of women's resistance in conflict zones, to cultures of nationalism, fundamentalism and militarism, and documenting women's different responses and challenges to the space delineated for women in war zones.

In Terror Counter-Terror, women, from the west articulate a new consciousness of living in conflict, living with the “war on terror”. Similarly, in the process of developing the WICZnet project, NATO attacks on Serbia forced women from Western Europe and North America, who had previously seen themselves outside the conflict zone, to reconsider their relationship to that war.

In both volumes, women write on war and terrorism as lived, survived and opposed, through continued challenges to the violences of fundamentalisms, wars, nationalisms and global capitalism. We see women as actors - and acted upon, advocates and victims, empowered and disempowered, refugees and displaced, highlighting and countering the continuum of violence, and in posing alternative notions of security, articulating alternatives to living with war and terror.

Topics: War and peace, Women
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