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Gender, Resistance, and Violence Essay

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Most people in the capitalist west take it for granted that what they refer to as the Muslim world is recognized most for marginalization and mistreatment of women and girls (Arebi, 99). This belief runs so deep that some westerners are shocked at the sight of Muslim women travelling alone or freely dressed (El-Ghobashy, 110). While the grounds for this belief may have been less shaky centuries ago, women in the Arab world have been taking more active leadership at all levels, rising to become national leaders in such countries as Pakistan, Turkey and the former Yugoslavia (Caprioli & Boyer, 506).

The West, and the relatively young Israel, have attacked the Arab world on numerous occasions and not surprisingly, their soldiers are currently occupying Iraq and Afghanistan. The occupying soldiers have been blamed for imposing curfews, sexual assault, beating and humiliating the locals, shooting and injuring parents and their children, and closing border crossings at will (Dubinsky, Krull, Lord, Mills & Rutherford, 16; Mbembe, 39). It is not surprising that a large percentage of Americans are suspicious of Muslims (Asad, 97).

Predictably, men in the Middle East have dominated the counter-assault on occupying forces, using such tactics as guerilla attacks, landmines, bombs and suicide attacks. However, women have not taken the backseat they would have been expected to take a century ago (Massad, 469). In resistance to occupation forces and the consequent assault on their culture, thousands of Muslim women have welcomed extremist anti-West ideas and proceeded to attack the occupying soldiers (Crossette, 39). Granted that women attract less suspicion, they make choice suicide bombers.

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According to Asad (94), the life of an Arab is far cheaper than an Israeli’s, according to the Israelis. It is not odd that the latter kills Arabs in their hundreds for every one Israeli killed. Arab women have been direct and indirect victims of these attacks. It is to defend their people against Israeli- and Western-inspired attacks that more and more women have joined the combat ranks of extremist organizations. Arab women have also led aggressive resistance political campaigns to champion their causes with varying levels of success (Hasso, 90).

Thousands of Arab women have sought high-level education in the west and have initiated campaigns of resistance against the attacks aimed at the Arabs. Bibliography Arebi, S. Gender Anthropology in the Middle East: The Politics of Muslim Women’s Misrepresentation. The American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1991: pp 91-108. Asad, T. Talal Asad on Suicide Bombing. Caprioli, M. & Boyer, M. Gender Violence, and International Crisis. Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 45, No. 4, August 2001: pp 503-518. Crossette, B.

Militancy: Living in a World Without Women. The New York Times, November 4, 2001. Dubinsky, K. , Krull, C. , Lord, S. , Mills, S. & Rutherford, S. (Eds). New World Coming: The Sixties and the Shaping of Global Consciousness. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2009. El-Ghobashy. Quandaries of Representation. Hasso, F. Resistance, Repression, and Gender Politics in Occupied Palestine and Jordan. Massad, J. Conceiving the Masculine: Gender and Palestinian Nationalism. Middle East Journal, Vol. 49, No. 3 (1995): pp 467-483. Mbembe, A. Necropolitics. Public Culture 15(1), 2003. Pp 11-40.

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