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Saturday, November 13, 2004

Women (not) in the news

I read the BBC news about the "fearsome power of marines in in Falluja" and hear how "[The marines] wait until they see a guy with a gun but when they see that, they open up with everything they've got" and how "The bullets that they fire are high velocity. The buildings are of poor construction here - the bullets travel through the walls." I just wonder what could possibly be the constructive result of all this.

I watch the TV news and see images Arafat's coffin swimming through the crowds of people mourning his death and share the observation of Miguel Vale de Almeida in his blog post "Helicóptero, caixão, homens aos tiros" that these thousands and thousands of people are all men and that there seemed to be a lot of gunfire involved.

I turn to the online Al Jazeerah news publication to find consolation in Muslim women in the news. And I search out some books about women in Islam,

I worry about the tragic symbolism of unfolding events in Holland, sparked by the brutal murder of Theo van Gogh for his controversial film that portrayed violence agains women in Islamic societies. Holland is a a country that has represented and continues to represent liberal democracy and tolerance. But talking to a friend who lives on the other side of the park where van Gogh was murdered, he talks of feelings like "losing our innocence" and "attacked in our identity".

Two months ago I wrote in my blog about Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a popular politician in the Netherlands of Somali origin. She renounced her religion and even switched from the Dutch Social Democratic Party to the centre-right precisely because she thought that problems related to women, Islam and Muslim society in general were going unspoken in the liberal left in Dutch politics.

Men, women, extremism, liberalism, winning, losing, attacking, suffering...I'm searching for what it is that we have to learn from all this?


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