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September 11: hatred and violence wrapped in the coils of war 13 Sep 2011

undoing hatred is a pilgrimage of hurt*

I wrote this thinking about war and violence. Ten years ago, as planes flew into buildings in New York and Washington, a massive movement of hatred erupted. That hatred continues. It is wrapped in the coils of war that have blasted Afghanistan and Iraq. It is the pain in bodies that have been tortured. It is also in the book burnings, the cartoon burnings, the shootings, and the flight of refugees across continents and seas.

September 11 brought back to the surface centuries of history of tension between the West and the Other. Bush spoke of reigniting the crusades. Why can’t generations of men let go of history? Why is it reignited every generation?

We need to undo hatred. It won’t be easy, it never is. But peoples around the world have made that effort. Women, in the main, let go of the violence perpetrated against them. Women, generation after generation, manage to go on with their lives in the midst of violence. But powerful men just want to take revenge and punish.

Pilgrimages take time. The pilgrim may need to walk for weeks or months with blistering feet.

In the year that followed September 11, Bronwyn Winter and I put together an anthology of feminist responses to that day. Eighty-six writers from every continent reflected on the causes and the results. They wrote of war and peace, of violence and non-violence. They wrote with visionary freshness and with imagination.

Among those who contributed are Robin Morgan, Kathleen Barry, Vandana Shiva, Arundhati Roy, Urvashi Butalia, Evelyn Accad, Barbara Kingsolver, Sonali Kolhatkar, RAWA, Diane Bell, Ronit Lentin, Barbara Ehrenreich and many others. Find out what a feminist response to September would have looked like.

(from Valence by Susan Hawthorne, forthcoming 2011)

Associated Author: Susan Hawthorne

This old trope again. The cannon fodder are to blame for the wars created by the ruling classes? You, the protected, the safe, walk all over the bones of boys and men who died for your freedom?

There once was a woman named Elizabeth who sent the young men of her country off to what you obviously consider a Sunday arvo picnic. When they returned bearing her a great and unexpected victory she denied them access to port. She didn't have the money to pay them as she had expected them all to die. Thousands did die from starvation, injury and disease as the fleet that had won her a miraculous victory sailed like ghost ships around the British islands.

The ladies weren't shy or restrained, either, when it came to shaming boys into attending male-only clubs such as The Somme and the Kokoda Trail. The subsequent actions of that hero of womens' franchise Ms Emily Pankhurst ensured that I, as an eight year old, had to confront the prospect of eventual conscription in a paranoid
Posted by gwallan | 30 Nov 2011
word limit! cont...

world one minute from "doomsday". My sisters were protected from that potential fate. So were you. Ah, but it's my fault. I deserve it.

I've recently had the dubious pleasure of seeing masses of women jumping for glee when one of their sisters mutilated her husband's genitals and ground them in a blender. He committed the apparently capital offense of asking for a divorce. Such compassionate souls those women. You go girl.

I note also that Ms Hawthorne is an adherent of the S(edited) Manifesto. Now there are surely words to put alongside those of Gandhi, Mandela, Jesus. I'm amazed your hypocrisy hasn't reached critical mass and caused your brain to go nova.

Ms Hawthorne I shall henceforth follow your career with interest. There are boards of management who may be interested in knowing your entire CV rather than your edited version.
Posted by gwallan | 30 Nov 2011

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