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Gutsy women confront conflict


For women, conflict can be scary. We are physically smaller, have less muscular strength, and are socialized differently than boys as we grow up.
I was the eldest of five World War II children. Four girls and one boy make for an interesting interpersonal dynamic. Our parents wanted us to “get along.” When they were gone and I was “in charge,” erupting conflicts made me very anxious. My siblings rightly resisted when I was “bossy.” Peace became my goal until our folks got home. The trick was to negotiate without dominating. I doubt if I was very good at it.

Conflict raises one’s anxiety level. And I suspect that I am not that different from my “sisters” in the Middle East. Now it is they who confront conflict and even war, either in their own streets or nearby nations. Like me they grew up in patriarchal societies, where guys get to be in charge much of the time. How do they deal with it? What are their thoughts and feelings in the face of conflict?

A couple of stories give us hints of how it might be for them.

Saudi driving – The first headline reads, “Saudi women urged to fight for the right to drive” taken from Aljazeera on 2/11/06. To quote from the article,

Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving on the kingdom’s roads could be overturned by legal challenges in local courts since there is no federal prohibition, a top Saudi government official has said.
Speaking at the opening of the Jedda Economic Forum, Iyad Madani, Saudi minister of culture and information, on Saturday urged would-be Saudi women drivers to try to overturn the ban.
“There is nothing in the written laws of the country that prohibits women from applying for a driver’s licence,” Madani said, responding to a question on women’s voting rights from British Baroness Emma

Nicholson, a member of the House of Lords.

Iraq raids – This is a (2/11/06) post written by a very poplular Iraqi blogger, “Riverbend,” who writes Baghdad Burning. It is titledThe Raid.

” I am quoting a bit to give the flavor of her experience. Link to find out how it ends. Quote,

Last time they had raided my aunts area, they took away four men on their street alone. Two of them were students in their early twenties-one a law student, and the other an engineering student, and the third man was a grandfather in his early sixties. There was no accusation, no problem- they were simply ordered outside, loaded up into a white pickup truck and driven away with a group of other men from the area. Their families haven’t heard from them since and they visit the morgue almost daily in anticipation of finding them dead.

“There will be no problem,” My aunt said sternly, looking at each of us,
thin-lipped. “You will not say anything improper and they will come in, look around and go.” Her eyes lingered on Ammoo S. He was silent. He had lit a cigarette and was inhaling deeply. J. said he’d begun smoking again a couple of months ago after having quit for ten years. “Are your papers ready?” She asked him, referring to his identification papers which would be requested. He didn’t answer, but nodded his head silently.We waited. And waited… I began nodding off and my dreams were interspersed with troops and cars and hooded men. I woke to the sound of T. saying, “They’re almost here…” And lifted my head, groggy with what I thought was at least three hours of sleep. I squinted down at my watch and noted it was not yet 5 am. “Haven’t they gotten to us yet?” I asked.

Iran threat – A gutsy American woman is in entertainer and also a very popular blogger with a unique writing style. One of her recent (2/8/06) posts is – coincidentally – titled, “now iran” by Rosie O’Donnell. Quoting a couple of bits of it:

feb 17 2005
i wrote

“i saw on cnn
in the paper
an ariel shot of some place in iran

wake up moms
we have seen this before
iraq – remembersame photos
same terror talk

1,300 of our kids dead
130,000 innocent iraqi’s
but who is counting

moms – it is up to us
no to iran
no to syria –
no to north korea”

Like I say, Gutsy Women, all!


My “creative post” today at Southwest Blogger is about libraries books in the age of information.


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