Save us from ‘securo-feminism’ | Women’s Rights

Welcome to the courageous new world of securo-feminism*. Within the lengthy custom of methods of patriarchal violence representing themselves as the answer to patriarchal violence, the continued growth of draconian “struggle on terror” measures is being marketed as an advance for girls’s rights.

As an illustration, international locations like the UK have prolonged anti-terrorism provisions to not solely strip citizenship from “terrorists”, but additionally from (a few of) these convicted of sexual abuse: a “double punishment” reserved solely for twin nationals and suspected twin nationals, predominantly Muslims and different racialised targets from former colonies within the World South.

Concurrently, the British authorities itself is threatening the rights and security of abuse survivors and others fleeing violence, with its proposed new invoice to “safe the borders” by penalising asylum seekers for arriving by unauthorised routes (by no means thoughts that such penalties flagrantly violate worldwide refugee regulation).

In the USA, President Joe Biden’s “feminist” credentials embody the introduction of latest justice mechanisms to deal with sexual assault inside the navy: packaged in the identical piece of laws escalating American “defence” spending to unprecedented heights, surpassing even the earlier file set by his predecessor Donald Trump.

As for the ladies, males, and kids on the opposite facet of the US navy’s operations – they proceed to be denied any authorized avenue of restitution from the American state for the rapes, tortures, and massacres they’ve endured. As a substitute, they’ve been supplied paltry “condolence funds” in lieu of justice, if something in any respect (and provided that they’re “pleasant to the USA”).

Now, many are advocating for states to contemplate violence towards girls as a type of “terrorism” – ignoring how counterterrorism itself has functioned globally to sanctify state violence towards girls in addition to males.

Among the many girls positioned within the crosshairs of the “struggle on terror” are Palestinian girls’s rights defender Khitam Saafin, sentenced final month by an Israeli navy court docket to fifteen months in jail after her organisation, the Union of Palestinian Ladies’s Committees, was listed alongside a number of different Palestinian human rights teams as “terrorist” entities by Israel; Sudanese girls’s rights defenders together with Amira Osman, arrested and detained in January on “terrorism” accusations by the navy coup authorities; Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul, tried in a particular “terrorism court docket” for her work in service of girls’s rights (she was launched final February after being tortured and imprisoned for nearly three years); Aafia Siddiqui, kidnapped, disappeared right into a US “black web site”, and sentenced to 86 years for “making an attempt to shoot” an American soldier (though she was the one who was truly shot); Indigenous Mapuche land and rights defenders like Patricia Roxana Troncoso Robles, criminalised as “terrorists” by the Chilean state; and Indian activists similar to Hidme Markam and Ishrat Jahan, imprisoned underneath sweeping anti-terrorism legal guidelines for protesting towards the Hindutva authorities’s assault on Adivasi (Indigenous) and Muslim communities.

Such circumstances aren’t merely an “abuse” or “misuse” of counterterrorism, however an expression of its unique perform: to suppress resistance to the colonial, capitalist establishment, whether or not on the Twentieth-century British killing fields of India and Kenya, or within the current-day open-air focus camp of Gaza.

Likewise, the collusion of some strains of feminism with the “struggle on terror” will not be an “aberration” or “co-optation”. Somewhat, it’s the continuation of an extended historical past of Western feminist collaborations with white supremacist and imperial rule – from penetrating colonised girls’s harems, to selling ethical panics about Black and brown males for violence towards girls, to offering ideological cowl for increasing policing and prisons.

In accordance with this model of feminism, the intensifying criminalisation of girls underneath counterterrorism is to be hailed as an indication of “progress”. As a claimed corrective to the stereotype of the “oppressed Muslim girl”, lecturers and policymakers have been urging for Muslim girls’s “company” to be recognised by treating them as “terrorists” on a par with Muslim males.

As “feminist calls for for equality inside the jail system … have paradoxically resulted in calls for for extra repressive circumstances to be able to render girls’s amenities ‘equal’ to males’s” – as abolitionist scholar-activist Angela Davis noticed – so too does girls’s “equality” in securo-feminism imply equal subjection to state mass surveillance, excessive punishment, and management.

Exemplifying the perversities of “equal-opportunity” criminalisation, Syrian migrant girl Rehab Dughmosh was charged with 14 terrorism offences and sentenced to seven years imprisonment by a Canadian court docket, for waving a golf membership and a knife round in a retailer – regardless of having brought about just one minor harm, and having been recognized as experiencing paranoid schizophrenic delusions on the time.

Dughmosh’s “assault” has been cited by girls safety students to critique male-centric companies for overlooking Muslim girls as threats; though Dughmosh was in truth punished way more harshly than many white males accountable for extra damaging racist assaults.

Equally, the UK has stripped citizenship from younger Muslims like Shamima Begum – who travelled to affix ISIL (ISIS) on the age of 15 – whereas teenaged British Nazi bomb plotters and cell leaders have been supplied rehabilitative measures and spared.

Courts have been ordering kids faraway from the care of “radicalised” Muslim moms and dads, whereas dad and mom’ membership in neo-Nazi and far-right teams has been deemed irrelevant to their child-rearing skills – or within the phrases of 1 British court docket, “neither right here nor there”.

Germany has been prosecuting girls for “struggle crimes” for residing in homes on land illegally occupied by ISIL in Iraq; whereas on the identical time working to defend Israel from accountability for its crimes of occupation earlier than the Worldwide Prison Courtroom.

The US has set precedents barring girls from an asylum for having been kidnapped and compelled to prepare dinner and clear for violent insurgent teams – “materials help for terrorism” – even because the US’s personal (very) materials help for regimes inflicting mass terror on civilians in Yemen, Palestine, and elsewhere persists.

Regardless of the proliferation of far-right and fascist events and actions throughout Western states, the United Nations’ 2020 “world” consultations on “the gendered dimensions of violent extremism” targeted on each area of the world apart from North America and Western Europe – perpetuating the colonial geography of “the West and the Relaxation”, wherein the Relaxation have extremism whereas the West has enlightenment.

Apparently, within the pursuit of securo-“equality”, some individuals are “extra equal” than others.

Whereas Muslim girls are pathologised for his or her participation in or proximity to violence, the “struggle on terror’s” girls drone warriors and torturers are exalted: celebrated not just for their very own prowess, but additionally as markers of the prevalence of the civilisation that produced them.

Senior CIA analysts are feted by Oprah as “superwomen” for writing books on how counterterrorism is like mothering – replete with such wisdoms as “the mothers of America will [defeat Osama] bin Laden and all terrorists like him”, “don’t give in to a bully” (wherein the US is supposedly not the bully however the bullied), and “the hand that rocks the cradle guidelines the world”.

Surveillance drone producers maintain free drone giveaways for Worldwide Ladies’s Day, whereas web sites similar to Ladies And Drones honour “trailblazers” like Miriam Foxx: supervisor of the Chula Vista Police Division’s drone programme, who beforehand “oversaw detainee operations” on the torture camp of Guantanamo Bay.

Hollywood productions lionise all-woman US navy models like Group Lioness, whose exploits will quickly be coming to a display close to you in a collection co-produced by Zoe Saldana and Nicole Kidman.

In accordance with the plot abstract: “Saldana performs Joe, a strong-willed, hard-nosed, station chief of the CIA’s Lioness program, tasked with coaching, managing, and main her feminine undercover operatives working to assassinate the world’s most harmful terrorists.” In fact, the real-life Group Lioness was established to look and surveil not “the world’s most harmful terrorists”, however Iraqi and Afghan girls underneath occupation – pitched as an act of “cultural sensitivity” on the a part of the occupiers.

In the meantime, the Group for Safety and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE’s) 2019 information on understanding gender and violent extremism praises Western armies in Afghanistan for partaking with Afghan girls to search out out about native occasions like weddings – which in any other case “may simply be interpreted as an rebel tactic”, which “in flip may have led to violence”, thus “consequence[ing] in longer-term threat to the pressure from a resentful group.”

The disturbing underlying premises – 1) that the weddings and different group gatherings of the occupied could also be assumed to be “rebel ways” and focused except confirmed in any other case, and but 2) that it’s the “resentful group” that’s the supply of “threat” to the occupying navy, and never the opposite means round – stay unquestioned.

Because the launch of the “struggle on terror”, the world has been fixated on the issue of “Muslim rage.” But, to invoke the nice Black feminist Audre Lorde, it isn’t “our” rage that has constructed the world’s largest mass incarceration system, encircled the globe in navy bases, amassed a nuclear arsenal enough to destroy life on earth a number of instances over, and consigned these fleeing struggle and environmental devastation to die by the hundreds crossing borders and seas.

“Anger is an applicable response to racist attitudes, as is fury when the actions arising from these attitudes don’t change,” Lorde wrote in The Makes use of of Anger. “It isn’t the anger of girls that may destroy us, however our refusals … to hearken to its rhythms, to study inside it, to maneuver past the way of presentation to the substance, to faucet that anger as an necessary supply of empowerment.”

The opposite facet of “Muslim rage” is the ability of radical Muslim love – as manifest within the girls who care and mourn for counterterrorism’s supposedly “ungrievable” casualties, whereas confronting dying, torture, loss, and displacement themselves; who proceed to problem a number of forces of violence and oppression, regardless that impeded and imperilled by the “struggle on terror” waged within the title of girls’s rights; who’re charting out new paths of justice and freedom, past the false horizons of “equality” and “empowerment” delineated by the nationwide safety state.

As a result of in a “civilised” world order driving itself in the direction of navy conflagration, nuclear annihilation, and ecological collapse, it isn’t Muslim girls who urgently must be saved from their very own extremism.

*The time period “securo-feminism” was coined by Professor Lila Abu-Lughod.

The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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