Imagine There’s No Countries . . .

Considering the Possibility and Practice of Global Citizenship

Yolanda Pierce on Being a Global Citizen

Posted by bklunk on April 19, 2009

I learned about this blog last Friday when I got a chance to see Melinda Harris-Lacewell, one of its authors.  This post is from Yolanda Pierce who reflects on what it means for her to be a global citizen reflecting on the situation of women in Afganistan.

I want to highlight these acts of resistance among Afghanistan women, because even for women who may not identify themselves as “feminists,” the question of women’s full
humanity and freedom is of vital concern. Personally, I struggle with wanting to understand and recognize the legitimacy of a different cultural experience, even as I need to acknowledge what are real human rights violations. That tension is important to me, but I cannot allow it to render me silent when there is injustice. I want to respect and honor Islamic tradition, the Afghan culture, and Shiite community, even while I speak firmly against those forces which seek to reduce women and girls to chattel. As a woman, as a mother, as a global citizen, cannot be silent in a space where fundamental freedoms are being denied. As a descendant of slaves, I know all too well the costs of
being reduced to property and the subsequent effects for generations to come.

But I also want us, as Americans, to recognize that while
our legal system may protect women and girls from these specific
abuses, the lives of many American women and girls have much in common with the stories of our Afghanistan sisters. While the murder rate is at an all-time low in many communities, crimes of rape and sexual violence are at an all-time high. The prosecution of rape/sexual assault crimes in this country still puts the victim, and not just the accuser, on trial. Marital rape, date rape, and acquaintance rape are almost impossible to prosecute. The history of forced sterilization, particularly among women of color, rivals our perceptions of reproductive medicine in the so-called “developing” world. In ways, big and small, many women in the United States live in fear for their very lives due to sexual or domestic violence.

So I am less interested in a conversation that labels Afghanistan or India or China “backward” nations because of their policies towards women and girls; I am more interested in our common struggles, our common stories, and our common fight. What do we have in common with our Afghani sisters and what can we learn from them? What resources/tools do we have available
for the fight against domestic and sexual violence and how can we share them with women all over the globe? And how do we actualize men in our respective communities so that these issues matter deeply to them?

There is rich food for thought here.  I will be returning to this blog for more.


One Response to “Yolanda Pierce on Being a Global Citizen”

  1. rfrankl said

    I just caught on NPR this horrible story about woman abuse which shows us that not only developing nations but developed nations and amazingly the rich in developed nations face the scourge of physical, mental, and sexual abuse on women. This lady with a degree from an Ivy League school and a high powered finance job in New York was courted succesfull by this seemingly charming, wity, and good hearted young man. Within a few months, the abuse started, and lasted for several years before she got out. Nothing was keeping her from doing so except the Raspitan like domination that some men carry over women. It is not just then a question of reforming legal instititions and norms but rather bucking up the spirit of these young ladies, making them more confident, and bring up these young ladies not in an environment where the only thing that provides comfort and protection is the sterile and unchivalric protection of a beauracrcy, but instead in a community where bad men are ostracised, and the woman who has been wronged is cared for by all.

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