Tuesday 1 June 2010

Gendering the Gaza Aid flotilla

Yes, there were women aboard the six ships carrying 700 activists who were attacked in such bloody fashion by Israeli commandos on Monday. Why not? Peace seeking is not an exclusively male business.

But how often their presence is subject to gendered attitudes.

Picking my way through Elena Becatoros' report for Canadian Press I found German lawmaker Inge Hoeger (see pic) said 'the women aboard the Marmara were locked into a big room below deck during the raid — but it was not clear if Israeli soldiers or activists had locked them away.'

What a horrific disabling that is, to be locked away and prevented from full participation.

Even worse, how undermining it is to not even know if your own side locked you in. If they did,it was for protective reasons, no doubt. But really such a move designates all women as vulnerable liabilities, instead of recognising that the world contains some people who are frail in some areas, some strong and competent. Gender is not the point.

And Turkish activist Nilufer Cetin - whose husband is the ship's engineer — told reporters in Istanbul that she was 'returned home after Israeli officials warned her that jail would be too harsh for her baby. ..

'She also defended her decision to bring a baby into such a volatile situation."We were aware of the possible danger" in joining the trip. But there are thousands of babies in Gaza. If we had reached Gaza, we would have played with them and taken them food."'

See the entire article at http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5ivomCE8mMQNajzn5lNi5N4QikqeQ

No comments: