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Women, War, and Development in Ethiopia

Secareda Mariam was twelve years old when her mother died, leaving her orphaned and solely responsible for the maintenance of the plastic shelter she and her mother built for themselves out of discarded shopping bags and pieces of cloth. "Who will help me fix my plastic during the rainy season?" she asks, pointing to the rood of her eight foot by four foot makeshift dwelling. Squatting in a…

The Power of the Powerless: Update from Chiapas

On the eve of the first anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and, simultane-ously, the Zapatista uprising in Chiapas, Mexico is confronting the collapse of the neoliberal economy pieced together by President Salinas de Gortari. The measures he took-privatization of industries, "reform" of the agrarian law that was the cornestone of the 1917 Constitution, the…

Update: Empowering Indigenous Women of Burma

In 1994, women of Burma's ethnic minority groups continue to be systematically abused by the regime's military. Teenaged girls of the Rohingya Moslem nationality are being taken from their families and bought to government army bases for long-term "training programs." The Rohingyas fear that this is a disguise for sexual slavery, which has been a constant feature of the army's occupation of the…

The Paradoxes of War and Its Aftermath: Mayan Widows in Rural Guatemala

Between 1978 and 1984 the western highlands of Guatemala became a "killing field." It was there that the Guatemalan army waged a rural counterinsurgency operation against not only a small, armed guerrilla force, but also against a large unarmed, civilian, and mostly Mayan population (Falls, 1994). It was the most extensive attack on the highland indigenous people since the time of the Spanish…

The Great Spirit in a New Era: Gaming on Pequot Tribal Land

Indian gaming has often been discussed by the press in ways that promote misinformation, negative stereotypes, and public opposition. The 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), however, was passed to empower tribes to enter into gaming as a means of economic development and a method of promoting strong tribal governments. To date, gaming has been one of the few opportunities for Native…

REINVENTING TRADITION: THE WOMEN'S LAW

The armed conflict that broke out in Chiapas on the first of January has brought up many questions about the general picture of the Indigenous population. Different historical experiences have defined the way in which Indigenous people displaced from the highlands, as well as immigrants, view their identity and how, through armed struggle, they take a stance politically opposed to the Mexican…

Nuns' Stories: Liberation Theologies and Violence in the Philippines

New social movements that emerged in the Philippines from the 1960s offered a new mazeway for citizens. Such revitalization movements included the progressive (or politically left) Catholic Church, the women's movement and the movement for national liberation. Within their own sets of discourses, respectively liberation theology, feminism, and Marxism, new social movements have reinvented notions…

Mayan Women and the Politics of Health

In this article I examine the relation between the politics of reproduction and Mayan women within the social structure of the Guatemalan nation-state. In particular, the focus is on the abortion debate as engaged in the Church, Guatemalan ladina feminists, and a popular organization of Mayan women. (While the term "ladino" refers to the mixed-blood Guatemalan population, the term "Maya"…

When Feminists Think About Rwanda

It is dangerous indeed to be urged to dampen one's sense of surprise. Commentators frequently describe ethnic conflicts in places such as Bosnia and Rwanda as the outgrowths of "ancient" hostilities. Thus, their eruptions in the 1990s allegedly should not surprise us. It follows, then, that we need not be particularly curious about their origins. In choosing the adjective "ancient," these…

UN Peacekeepers and Cultures of Violence

The psycho-social impact of persistent and widespread violence on people living in warzones has far-reaching consequences for both indigenous and outside attempts to facilitate peace. Today, more than ever, it is women and children who bear the greatest burden of violence, through brutality, rape, torture, and murder, and who suffer the greatest percentage of death due to war. The vulnerability…

Women As Refugees: Perspectives from Burma

The Burmese expression for refugee is dukkha-the, the "one who has to bear dukkha, suffering." In the contemporary global setting, those who are suffering overwhelmingly in the many situations of terror-warfare are civilian populations. Today approximately 90 per cent of war-related casualties are civilians and the number of casualties who are women and children has escalated. Millions and…

InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council

In the mid 1980s the timber multinational, Georgia-Pacific, was in pursuit of logging coastal ancient redwoods in the Sinkyone area of northern California, and the California Department of Forestry (CDF) approved. In response, native people from the area, the International Indian Treaty Council, the Sierra Club and the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) in Eureka, California, sued…

WAR AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Even in a region subject to guerrilla warfare, women may suffer more from the violence of their kin than they do from the violence of their kin than they do from the enemy. The 1970s were years when Gwembe District in the Southern Province of Zambia was under threat of landmines and commando action as the European dominated government of what was then called Rhodesia, and is now Zimbabwe,…

Forced Resettlements in Ecuador and Peru

In late January 1995, the Shuar and Aguaruna Indians along the border between Ecuador and Peru were forcibly relocated into refugees camps while Peruvian and Ecuadorian soldiers battled each other in hilly forests between the Cordillera del Condor and the Cenepa River. In 1942 international arbitrators ended a border war between Ecuador and Peru by awarding Peru nearly all of Ecuador's Amazon…

Mother's Milk in War and Diaspora

Ten years after Samine Sophat arrived in the United States as a war refugee, her daughter planned to get married. Following the Cambodian custom, the groom offered a monetary gift that Mrs. Sophat could have retained as mother's milk money, in recognition of the work of bringing children to adulthood. As a widow and a remarried woman, Mrs. Sophat had struggled against great odds to ensure her…

Introduction to Women and War

The 20th century may well be recognized in history as one of the most conflict-troubled times of the modern world. Compared to preceding centuries, more wars are taking place, and these wars last longer and are more devastating. Approximately one-third of the world's countries are presently engaged in some form of warfare, a figure that has held constant since World War II, and tens of millions…

"I Never Realized We Were So Strong": A Course on Women in Diaspora

So began Calixta Gabriel, a 32-year old Kaqchikel woman from the northwest region of Guatemala. Her three brothers were assassinated in the 1980s, her family lands destroyed, and her parents forced into a military-designed "model village." She herself sought refugee in the United States in the 1980s. Calixta Gabriel had been a social worker, catechist and teacher of literacy and Mayan cultural in…

"They Took our Milk and Blood": Palestinian Women & War

"They took our milk and blood and left us here!" shouted Um Ali at the mention of the peace accord between Palestinians and Israel. She is the mother of six sons, five of whom along with her husband were lined up and shot by rightist Christian militiamen in 1982 at Chatila Camp, a Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Bejrut. They allowed her to keep her youngest son but both were forced…

Ruffling a Few Patriarchal Hairs: Women's Experiences of War in Northern Ireland

Ruffling a Few Patriarchal Hairs: Women's Experiences of War in Northern. Ireland When I agreed to write this article the war in Northern Ireland did not seem any closer to an end than it had been for the past 15 years. The peace talks, or the attempt to produce them, appeared to most commentators as doomed to failure as past governmental attempts had been to impose peace in "the province," as…

Coercion and Torture in Former Yugoslavia

Sexual coercion, torture, and rape have occurred as tactics of terror in many wars. Rape was a weapon of terror as the German Hun marched through Belgium in World War I, and gang rape was part of the orchestrated riots of Kristallnacht at the beginning of the Nazi campaign against the Jews. Sexual violation of women was a weapon of revenge as the Russian Army marched to Berlin in World War II, as…