Creating a Feminist Curiosity

“Using a feminist curiosity is asking question about the condition of women- and about relationship of women to each other about relationship of women to men. It is also not taking for granted- thus it is insisting upon exploring….”

Have you ever thought why and what makes you curious? Well usually most of the people are curious about the things that one can’t get or that they desire to get. Yet why curiosity doesn’t strike us for the things that we already have. I am sure we never learn fully about anything or anyone that we have in our life, there is always something new we could discover within them. But we always tend to stop at that one point thinking that we know everything about them. That’s when the false notion comes in and we start to take things for granted. Our attitude of taking things, people and matters for granted has become so strong and permanent that we often tangle it with social and cultural values. Until we realize our mistakes for taking things for granted, it is too late. The relationship and harmony that we once created is destroyed, just because we thought we knew everything, just because we took everything for granted.

With this creative thought Cynthia Enloe has beautifully started her first two chapters of Globalization and Militarism. One of the points that really struck me and made me think was how she said that “One is not curious about the things one takes for granted” (Pg 1). This whole idea is definitely true, but it amazed me how we are not curios to learn and gain more knowledge about something that we expect it to be there till the end of our lives. We become careless not protecting it yet at the same time we believe it to stay with us forever unchanged. Or looking the other way why do we still accept things even if it doesn’t satisfy us? Why are we not challenging those rigid structures with new ideas instead of just taking it for granted.

Reading the first two chapters was very insightful. Cynthia Enloe has thrown a great spot light on Globalization and Militarization. The most conflicting and contradicting part to me was how she shows that there are so many people who are employees of big companies that makes weapons for militarization. Thousands of people are being able to support and take care of their family through this very form of globalization and militarization. Yet at the same time due to this very reason thousands of innocent lives are being destroyed every minute. Another interesting thing for me was like how she points out that media tends to ignore people who are working to fight problems that are rooted within the society and culture (like people working for gender impact analysis). And I think she has made an excellent point bringing out this topic, because it makes her topic clear that media and society lacks the idea of feminist curiosity. They have taken the gender impact for granted; they don’t see anything new or unusual about it to be discovered or even changed.

The other thing that really caught my attention where I did a deep analysis was to see how the government had the power to change a woman’s identity according to how they wanted it to be. It was really interesting to see how the Korean government with the help militarism could change and make the whole conservative society accept women working outside the home boundary. They encouraged women to work in shoe factory, at the same time created a pass for them to be a “respectable” young women and an attractive candidate for marriage. As we could see that everyone who followed this lacked feminist curiosity. No one asked or even questioned the government for why all of these changes were being bought up all of a sudden. I think it shows a very important point that how globalization can take over your own people too. Like how Nike controlled Korean women through Korean Men.

These two chapters were eye opening for me, as it made me aware that I too had taken so many things for granted without realizing. She particularly talks about women as cheap labor which I was aware of this whole time. But after reading her text it showed me that I too was accustomed to this whole idea. It made me realize how and why I had never questioned for why women were paid less even if they worked the same hours and job as men did. It showed me that how we lack feminist curiosity which could be the most important tool to discover and find solution to so many problems and inequality that exist in our society. It guides us to have feminist curiosity but at the same time it teaches us not only keep the curiosity within us but us to share it with the world so that it would become an issue. Issue that many people could share and exchange thoughts to make it better.

 “But nothing can become an issue if the exercise of curiosity remains private or if what you uncover is deemed unworthy of public response”.

The other very fact that I completely agree with is how we just learn about big companies that are producing large weapons, as that media fails to cover the small companies. I think because of this a lot of us are unaware of the dangers caused by these very small companies. I would agree to a point that people do lack feminist curiosity in this matter too, but as far as I know the small companies themselves are very private and hidden away from the mainstream world. It is difficult to locate them but as from this text we learn that it’s always good to have at least a general idea about such small companies.

“While it is usually the large companies producing the large weapons system that make the news, small weapons kill more people day in and day out around the world”

Overall for me this was a great text and I learned much from it. It provokes people to have feminist curiosity for so many matters that you always felt like you knew everything. Or even the matters that you always accepted the way it was. And I think that was the best part because it completely changes the way you always use to see things, it generates interest within you to find something new about things that you had taken granted for all these years. I felt that feminist curiosity could be the tool that would build better and a peaceful world.

Work Cited

Enloe, C. (2007). Globalization & Militarism . United States of America: Rowman & Littlefield.

Advertisements

Peace Process, not exactly Peaceful!


Nepal is a small country between India and China. For the past 10 years and it still continues to suffer from a great Civil war that took place between the government forces (Nepal Army) and the Maoist fighters. The Civil War started in 1996-2006, by overthrowing of Nepalese Monarchy. (http://the-voyagers.tripod.com/maoists.htm). The Maoist party wanted each individual to have equal freedom and rights as a result this lead to the greatest Civil War till now in Nepal, which is also popularly known as ‘People’s War’.

The civil war has ended but the aftermath doesn’t look so bright. Citizens still suffer the same consequences and it keeps me wondering what actually has this achieved by destroying almost all the properties and not to the mention the uncountable number of deaths. The Maoist fought and won the war, but why weren’t they successful in bringing changes to the system even after gaining so much of political power? So with this question in my mind I found an article that really connected with my thoughts which got me to a lot of analyzing part.

The Growing fragility of Nepal’s peace process by Joanna Jolly (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8417031.stm) is a very interesting article; it gives you broad information about the peace process in Nepal. The article talks about Maoist leaders in such a way that I felt that it indirectly tells that the Maoist rule would eventually be unsuccessful. What I agree most about this article was that writer highlights the main problem, it proves that both the parties were responsible for the war. The message is clear to the readers that peace process is something that needs both the parties to agree on. I feel most of the articles tend to ignore this part, as they just focus more on writing well about one party and blame the other one.

“Although neither side says it wants a return to conflict, neither is also taking part in the negotiations needed to shore up the peace process”.

The article highlights many perspectives of the war in depth. For me the article showed how both the government and the Maoist parties are more interested in properties (the whole land issues) rather than real democracy for people. It is a true fact as all the citizens are in dilemma even the article is raising questions regarding both the parties and their real intention. But the part which made me sad was that the article gave me the image of hopelessness. As I read more I felt that what the writer was saying was true but me as reader didn’t see any hope towards a brighter future of Nepal.

As I studied the article I felt that it makes the negative image of the Maoist party to be stronger. She puts a lot of emphasis and quotation on the Maoist groups when it comes down to trust them and their acts, which I would agree with to what I have seen till today. And raising such question highlight’s this article because, this is the same question that is haunting thousands of Nepalese till today.

“The main reason is that the Maoists are not sincere. They are not honest in implementing the process,”- Ram Saran Mahat, a member of the Nepali Congress.

The article really puts a spot light on the military forces which I like because it was the main source that the war lasted so long. The military part of the article shows that the Civil war has not only separated the political parties/leaders but overall it created huge gap between the citizens. Like how she talks about the Nepal army not accepting the Ex-Maoist fighters to be a part of army. As both of the troops are equally trained yet there is a huge gap between the fighters. It has created a difficult situation for them to reconcile everything and work together. The article reflects that Nepal is divided amongst its own people.

“Meanwhile the army looks increasingly unwilling to accept any Maoist fighters, expect at the lowest entry level, into its ranks.”

          Talking about India was another eye catching part of the article. For most cases many tend to believe that all the major political movements are backed up by India. And the article mentioning about India has just hit the right target for discussion. Though it points out that India supported the Nepalese government, it is a very controversial topic itself and I wouldn’t agree with  all of it. As many believe India was the breeder for the Maoist groups, where as some believe they helped the government. The matters now go beyond the national boundaries as always connected to India. And I agree to most of the connection being done because India really does have huge impact on Nepal, as they say if India sneeze’s Nepal catches cold. But for most part I like how India has been included in this discussion. It gives another perspective to look into.

“Many analysts believe its strong stance is backed by India, which maintains close ties to the national army, providing training and equipment.”

Over all she has done a great job, but I felt this article was lacking more on talking about the normal citizens besides the leaders, military forces and neighboring country. Half of the population doesn’t fall under any of these three categories. Including more viewpoints of the citizens rather than political leaders regarding the different parties would have been more fruitful. The other part which I thought could have been better is if she talked more about humanity. She talks about it in the last paragraph but would have been great if she would have inserted the questions about humanity in each new topic as everything about this war was related to humanity. She could have cut down more on military and the parties and focused a little more on humanity area.

“Not one person has been prosecuted for crimes against humanity committed during the 10-year conflict, during which more than 13,000 people were killed.”

Globalization and World War II

            There hasn’t been any more deadly war than World War II. But has anyone thought about why and how this World War II started, besides the leaders what was the main push factor for it?? Why was Hitler so eager to take over the entire world? How did he have so much power to start a war?? And what kind of power did United States and United Kingdom possess that they were able to defeat Hitler and put an end to this World War II?? When we learn about war we tend to think and see the whole situation in general terms. We see in term of who was the villain with bad intentions that started the war, and who were the heroes that actually stopped the war. But there is more to that. Talking in terms of World War II, I see globalization as a main factor to support this whole war for such a long time. Globalization increases urbanization, industrialization, communication, creation of new technologies, mainly it increases power. And power increases the money, money which is used to achieve and accomplish all kinds of goals. We can see with globalization alot of developmental works are being produced at each step, but it is equally important to remember that globalization is very powerful matter itself. It has the capability of destruction too, and World War II is deadliest destructive example of globalization. Uncountable numbers of lives, properties, places, countries have been destroyed during World War II.

 

 First World War had created instability in Europe, which lead to another international conflict- World War II. Unstable Germany was rising to power economically and politically, where Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist (Nazi Party) rearmed the nation. Hitler and Nazi Party signed strategic treaties with Italy and Japan to achieve his ambition of world domination. Hitler had long planned to invade Poland, and Poland had been guaranteed military support from Great Britain and France if it was attacked by Germany. When Hitler invaded Poland in September 1939, France and Great Britain had declared war on Germany, and then onwards the World War II had officially begun. (http://www.history.com/topics/world-war-ii)

As I have made my point that globalization supported and extended this war for so long, here are some main events and wars fought during War World II where we can actually see the role and contributions of globalization for such massive destruction.

  • Battle of Britain (1940): British and German air forces fought the war over the skies of United Kingdom, locked in the largest bombing campaign. This was a turning point to World War II because the battle ended when Germany’s Luftwaffe failed to gain superiority over the Royal Air Force. It proved that British air power alone was enough to win the major battle. As we can see fighter planes, planes were eventually developed because of globalization. It was the globalization and the development that took the wars on the grounds to be fought in the air.
    (http://www.history.com/topics/battle-of-britain)

  • Pearl Harbour (1941): As a shock, on December 7, 1941 hundreds of Japanese fighter planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbour. Alot of American naval vessels, battleships and planes were destroyed. More than that 2,000 American soldiers and sailor died and 1000 were wounded in that attack. The day after that attack President Franklin D, Roosevelt declared war on Japan. Soon after three days the Japanese allies Germany and Italy also declared a war on United States. After more than two years into conflict, American had finally joined World War II. As we can see globalization had form connections, support as well as enmity between different countries. It had created such powerful bombs to destroy millions of lives and property within few minutes of its dropping.

(http://www.history.com/topics/pearl-harbor)

  • Battle of Midway (1942): Six months after the attack on Pearl Harbour, the United States had defeated Japan in the naval battles. A great role was played by the code breaking intelligence group who were able to acquire Japanese war plans. Here intelligence groups and code breaking is another contribution of globalization and its new technologies invention. The battle from the ground had now shifted to seas.

(http://www.history.com/topics/battle-of-midway)

The above mentioned points reflect how globalization supported the destructive methods during the war time. But at the same time during the war, the roles of women were taking a new form.

“If you’ve used an electric mixer in your kitchen, you can learn to run a drill press”- American War Manpower Campaign

  • Women and World War II: The women were facing the shortage in domestic resources. Many worked outside their home boundaries; they worked in volunteer organization connected with war efforts. The marriage rates increased and the rate of babies born to unmarried women increased by 42%.

 

More married women, mothers and minority women had found jobs. They took the jobs that were previously reserved for men. They worked in position that supported military efforts. At every war there were some women spies and resistance fighters.  Many women nurses were used in the war zones. More than thousands of women were pilots and were associated with US air force. Women were affected in some specific and unconventional ways as the “comfort women” of China and Korea, the Holocaust and Jewish women. Prostitution rose dramatically.

(http://womenshistory.about.com/od/warwwii/a/overview.htm)

“Near many military bases, reputed “victory girls” could be found, willing to engage in sex with military men without charge”.

As a conclusion, we can see that World War II is one of the most powerful and destructive war in the history which has changed how the world is today. It worked as a great platform for women to realize and achieve their power. And some ways I feel the early feminist have surely been inspired and learned alot from the women who fought World War II. It still matters because it has created the difference and hatred for other races and culture which even after so many years has not been fully washed away. Many still tend to look, judge or hold grudge against other cultures and religions on the basis of what happened in the World War II.

Globalization as I have mentioned before can be a improving or a destructive matter, it just depends upon how and for what we use globalization. At the same time we have learned so much from and about globalization that it is now time that we make the best use of globalization creating beautiful world and not to destroy it. If we have invented globalization, we should be able to control globalization.

You could refer to these websites for more information:

World War 2 Timeline 1939-1945. (2006). Retrieved March 5, 2012, from WORLDWAR-2:
http://www.worldwar-2.net/

World War II. (2012). Retrieved March 5, 2012, from 20th Century History:
http://history1900s.about.com/od/worldwarii/World_War_II.htm

Diamonds, will it ever be your best friend?

Diamond is a word that originated from the Greek word “Adamas”, which means “the unconquerable”. It is a cubical crystal structure that shines in every direction and the moment you see it, it captures almost everyone’s heart. May be that’s the reason for a diamond to be known as a symbol of love, commitment and joyful new beginning. But have you ever thought who and how those diamonds shine?!? Of course we would not be so naive, just to imagine that beautiful piece of diamond to be popping out of the grounds in perfect shape, cut and shine. There are thousands of children and adults who are facing the severe consequences to make the diamond worth its beauty.

Diamond had not always been so popular and precious stone as it is now, in today’s world. The first history of diamond started 3,000 years back in India. At that time it was just used for decorative and superstitious purpose. Then in the Dark Age it took a different form, it was then used as a medical aid, believing that it contain power to cure illness. It was then the Middle age, who discovered the worth of this very shinning stone (http://www.costellos.com.au/diamonds/index2.html).The greed in human took a new form; the precious stone which was known for its mystical powers were now the causes of, all forms of brutality and conflicts that is still happening around the diamond producing countries. And Africa is one of the largest diamond producing continent, the people especially the mineworkers are suffering a great deal of torture and are baffled between the conflicts for diamonds.

“It’s more like a cure than a blessing for people in rich diamond countries” (http://www.brilliantearth.com/confict-diamond-trade/)

Such terrorizing moments gave birth to a new name for the precious stone, it’s called ‘Conflict Diamonds’ also known as ‘Blood Diamonds’. As the name speaks for itself, Conflict diamonds are diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those the governments or in contravention of the decisions of the Security Council” (http://www.brilliantearth.com/confict-diamond-trade/).

The role of diamond is very powerful and we can definitely say that, Diamonds are conflicts/wars best friend. There are many ways how diamonds have helped conflicts to generate; the words would have no limit to describe it. So these are some important and few of the ways how diamonds have created conflicts all over the world, but mainly in Africa.

1.       Civil War for Diamonds

  • There was blood bath everywhere, different rebel groups were fighting amongst each other as well as with the government and military forces to take over or to control the diamond rich territory.
  • Most of the African countries suffered a great deal of prolonged civil war (http://www.brilliantearth.com/confict-diamond-trade/) like,

Sierra Leon

–          A fierce and a brutal fighting took place between the Sierra Leon government and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF)

–          RUF supported their whole revolution by selling those Blood Diamonds

–          They became well known for their child soldiers.

   

Angola

–          The civil war in Angola lasted more than two decades.

–          The war was between the Popular Movement for liberation of Angola (MPLA) who used oil of the coast of Angola to arm their soldiers

–          In response to that, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) took over 60-70% of Angola diamond mines. (https://townipproject.wikispaces.com/Blood+Diamonds)

“It has been said that war is the price of peace… Angola and Sierra Leone have already paid too much. Let them live a better life.”- Ambassador Juan Larrain

2.       Diamonds were funding the illegal and unlawful operations of rebel military and terrorist groups.

  • They were selling the conflict diamonds in high prices and raising money to carry out their illegal operations.
  • Some were selling; some were buying where they made a lot of profit which helped the terrorist acts and plans to be successful.
  • One of the most known and horrifying terrorist act which shook America and turned so many people’s live upside down, no other than 9/11 attack by Al Qaeda was also funded by Conflict Diamonds.

3.      Selling or exchanging of diamonds in return to get arms and weapons for the conflict/war.

  • Many of the rebel groups, terrorist and the government sell the conflict diamonds in order to buy arms and weapons.
  • Some may not even sell those diamonds. They make the process short by just exchanging diamonds with weapons.
  • For example, in case of UNITA the weapon dealers would come to them to trade diamonds for weapons. There were no flow of cash just flow of weapons.

4.       Human rights abuses and millions of deaths

  • Not only the rebellious groups but also the government was equally participating and practicing beating, killing, rape and child labour as well as child soldiers in the diamond producing countries.
  • Children being of small size were asked to go to more dangerous mining areas that the adults would not fit in through. Many lost their hands, arms and legs in accidents during mining, while many of theirs were cut off by the mine-owners to torture and bring fear within the works leaving them disabled for the rest of their lives.
  • Millions of people have been killed; the deaths from diamonds fuelled civil war are greater than the US military deaths.

It’s frightening to see how a beautiful stone like diamond has such a dark story of its birth. Would anyone have thought the shinning piece of rock lay out and sold expensively in the jewellery stores were the reason behind all of these terrorizing acts mentioned above. To make our relationships and bonds tight with our loved ones we gift them diamonds, but what have those diamonds gifted the miners back?? Just misery and separation from their loved ones and families, in most the cases the separations are forever (deaths).

 “The fellow who gives diamond ring to a lover should know that probably because of that diamond a girl of 10 has been raped, a boy of two has lost a limb”. – Dr. Dennis Bright

As of today knowing all the past and present condition about diamonds, I could never imagine myself to be indulged with diamonds, even after the fact that it is one of the most popular stones to symbolize emotional commitments (marriage rings) and the amount of love. I am a girl, but I can proudly say, Diamonds can never be my best friend! So before wearing those diamonds ask yourself, are those diamonds worth presenting only your outer beauty? What about your inner beauty, beauty towards humanity?

“Diamonds are forever” it is often said. But lives are not.
We must spare people the ordeal of war, mutilations and death for the sake of conflict diamonds.”-
Martin Chungong Ayafor