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feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

January-09-02

Truth Be Told - Part V

>Maria Angelina Lopes Sarmento, coordinator of Kadalak Sulimutuk Institute (Small Stream Causes a Big River), Dili, East Timor
"We train people to respond without violence when resolving conflicts or matters of land ownership. We don’t tell them what to do. They have to find their own solution. Freedom from violence can only happen when each of us refrains from violence. In the case of America, you need some very big changes. The government needs to understand that what they have done to other people or countries will be paid for by the blood of its own people. I speak from experience in East Timor. We won’t have peace until inequalities have been addressed."



Leyla Yunus, M.D., co-chairwoman of the Council of the Transcaucasus Women’s Dialogue Project, Baku, Azerbaijan
"We have lived in conflict with Armenia for 12 years, and have suffered horribly. But we have tried to avoid positioning this as a conflict between Christians and Muslims. We have mixed families. We looked for peaceful solutions. We are disappointed that in a nation like the U.S., which has more rule of law than our own, relations between Muslims and Christians have deteriorated as a result of this war on terrorism. I am worried for Azerbaijan. I think we may end up with an Islamic dictatorship. After the attacks, the government limited free speech. Maybe religious extremism will come out of our struggle against dictatorship, poverty, and economic crisis."



Dasa Duhacek, coordinator of the Centre for Women’s Studies, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
"Many Serbians are somehow satisfied at the U.S. getting attacked. But when you ask them to realize what this means-thousands of people killed- they are surprised at their own violent reactions. There was public resentment here against the U.S. after they bombed Belgrade. Obviously, this comes with nationalist Serbian feelings that rely on compartments: all Albanians equal terrorists. It’s a politics called 'us versus them.' Yet that politics will always end up in expanding circles of violence."



Cassandra Balchin, program coordinator for Women Living Under Muslim Laws, Paris, France
There are two immediate worries: 1) shady political and religious groups are getting too much airtime, giving them more legitimacy and publicity than they deserve; 2) the invisible geopolitical problems. There are fears that the U.S. will try to establish military bases on Sri Lanka, which could have a direct impact on that country’s civil war. The announcement that there will be U.S. bases in Pakistan means that country will once again have a military regime backed by the U.S. It took 11 years to dislodge the last military regime. Meanwhile, they passed all sorts of antiwomen legislation there that we have yet to get rid of. The people of Afghanistan have to deal with all this plus the bombs. And the Northern Alliance has a terrible human rights record. This doesn’t concern the U.S. Afghan women are not going to get a government that supports women’s rights. And despite all this, there are women who struggle and carry on.



Navanethem Pillay, judge, president of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, based in Arusha, Tanzania
Terrorism is a crime. I speak from my experience in South Africa, where we have been victims of terrorism. I also speak from my experience in trying the crimes against humanity arising from the massacres of more than 500,000 people over a 100-day period in Rwanda in 1994.
"We hear President Bush talk of going after not only the actual perpetrators but those who shelter them. The world, particularly Africa, has always wondered why serious criminals who have killed many people should be living comfortably on the French Riviera, with millions of dollars stashed away in Swiss banks.

To some degree, international tribunals globalize accountability. The U

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