• 22Sep
                               (Lana Slezic produced a body of work on women in Afghanistan for the World Press) 

    Malalai Kakar

    She was murdered by the Taliban.

    “She was the pinnacle of strength in Kandahar at a time that was extremely difficult for Afghan women. She was the first female police officer in Kandahar and stood for the rights of women.
    “All the women of Kandahar knew who she was and knew they could come to her with their problems. Problems like domestic violence, rape forced marriage.”


    But PUP Senator, Jacqui Lambie uses this image for the purposes of creating fear, bigotry, racism and violence.

    She depicts this brave woman who gave her life in her struggle for freedom for Afghan women as a violent threat to Australians.

    Next to this photo she calls for the banning of the burqa.

    Not because the burqa is a symbol of oppression for women but for security reasons.

    She is saying we should be afraid of this woman; we should be afraid of those who are not like us.
    I wonder what Jacqui would say to this image.

    nun habit

    And if we are talking about the oppression of women let’s not forget the Catholic Church and its opposition to abortion and divorce.


    The image of this man is a reminder of the Catholic Church’s protection of child sexual abusers. What is hiding underneath his cloak?

    What does Jacqui and our Australian government say about the extreme right Christians in America who have bombed abortion clinics.

    Or what the Judaist religion says about women.

    In Judaism there is a daily prayer which says “I thank god that I was not born a woman.”
    I once had a Jewish colleague refuse to shake my hand in case I was menstruating and therefore deemed dirty.

    Let’s face it all of our major religions are patriarchal.

    And this is what this is all about. It is about patriarchal power and control.

    It is about competing patriarchies and their quest for control of resources and power.

    It is about patriarchal militarism and their intent to destroy.

    It is the women and children who are the victims of such wars. Women have been considered the spoils of war in so many conflicts.

    Women as collateral damage in men’s wars.

    So back home to the “degrade and destroy” Australia.

    Jacqui Lambi is not alone in creating fear and hatred in our community.

    The Australian government has led the world in its determination to go to war – to send troops to Iraq; to kill and maim, to degrade and destroy.

    And part of that process has been instilling in the Australian people hatred of the “other”.

    Their goal is to terrify and to create widespread fear.

    Mamamia has reported  – “So frightened are some in Australia’s Muslim community that a Facebook group dedicated to support for victims of hate crimes against Muslims was set up this week. Group members use the page to report instances of abuse and swap tips on how to stay safe. Posts like these feature on the page:

    “Early last week in the early evening A sister (was walking home) when a few guys came upon her and tried to burn off her hijab… She was a international student and is now wanting to go back home due to feeling traumatised and insecure.”

    “Two days ago, a group of men tried to rip the hijab off a sisters head at Garden City.”

    “Yesterday at 5pm, a sister from Logan was threatened by a guy that he would burn her house down.”

    And it is the women in their burqas, hijabs and their headdresses who will the focus of the bigotry and racism that is being invoked in Australians.

    Yes the burqa is a symbol of women’s oppression.

    Yes I will celebrate the day when no woman is required to cover herself and become invisible.

    I will also rejoice when women are not the victims of war, of rape, of violence and abuse in their homes
    There are many forms of oppression against women. We will not overcome this oppression by violent oppression of those we consider “others”.

    To quote a friend:
    “In her pursuit of populist media trumpeting, Lambie has desecrated and insulted the memory of this honourable and courageous woman.
      If women choose to wear a burqa, bikini, religious habit, goth gear, high fashion, low fashion or nothing at all, that is their decision.

    Our courts are not over flowing with woman wearing burqas but they are full of men in everyday clothes who have committed some fairly heinous crimes against women and children.

    Can we please turn our attention to the ‘real’ terrorists hiding in this country.

    The Malalai’s of this world speak for me not the bigots and racists. The world needs more Malalais and less Jacqui Lambies.”

    sept 11

    Women are murdered, raped, mutilated, humiliated, imprisoned, impoverished, appropriated, manipulated, marginalised and any one of a number of acts of violence, all over the world.” (Browyn Winter in the excellent book edited by Susan Hawthorne and Bronwyn Winter, published by Spinifex Press)

       unmaking warAnother book worth reading by Kathleen Barry

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