Papers And Pens

As a woman I have no country.”

In this age of political correctness, it is not only acceptable for women to be patriotic citizens and capable soldiers, it is almost mandatory. But this was not always so. Within living memory the idea of women in combat was anathema to most people. Some of the thinkers have struggled with the relationship between women and war. Women’s roles in wars of national liberation are even more complicated on the other hand. A deep but unreconciled conflict exists between identities based on gender and identities based on nationality, and between feminism and patriotism.

In 1938, in a passage from which this essay’s title is taken, Virginia Woolf strenuously rejected the idea of female patriotism. Arguing that the social contract between state and citizen did not extend to women, she declared that “as a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.” But, as this essay examines, the relationship between women and war is complex and perhaps contradictory. While the rhetoric and imagery surrounding wars of national liberation may deeply contradict current ideas of women as capable soldiers, women’s active involvement in those wars suggests, contrary to Virginia Woolf, that women do indeed have a country.

Around the globe, democratization and peacebuilding processes have been transforming security forces. From Haiti to Bosnia to South Africa, international agencies have been spending millions of U.S. dollars to try to professionalize and civilianize the police,to create accountable and representative police forces to reflect the emerging “democracies” and to replace often repressive pre‐existing security forces. For women’s rights activists, the dismantling and subsequent democratic rebuilding of old security forces is particularly critical, since those forces have so often committed rape and sexual torture against women.

Lock up your libraries if you like but there is no gate,no bolt that you can set up to my freedom

I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles







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