There has been a global call for justice and an end to discrimination and violence against women in the private and public domains of the post-pandemic world by the transnational feminist movements. The traditional wars in two hundred locations on this planet have devastated the lives of civilians. The feminist perspective on peace-making, peace-building and peacekeeping aver that the quest for peace is an eternal pursuit for human fulfilment. Peace or absence of antagonistic, violent, or destabilising conflict is essential for ‘existence’ to become ‘life,’ for ‘survival’ to become ‘human.’
Peace, of course, can have two faces, two forms- Public and private. Peace in the community goes together with peace in family life. Hence, the need to deal with domestic violence and women’s grievances. There may be apparent stability and absence of conflict in successful intense repression-beating, abuses, and psychological torture wherein all dissent is brutally, immediately, and surgically suppressed. This is a condition in which only one group (men, in-laws, bully neighbours) dominates, and women’s views and dignity are not allowed to exist. The other situation is one in which democracy and human rights reach their pinnacle in each core of the community and domestic lives.
It is the condition in which there are always avenues of settlement of differences and disputes without a breakdown of the framework of mutual respect, recognition of the rights of the other, and belief in good faith of the ‘adversary.’ It is the condition in which negotiations and persuasion are the methods of overcoming even major digressions in points of view. It is a condition in which people have the right to be different and where difference is not denied. It is also a situation in which difference is not a cause of hierarchy, where the other is not the enemy or the lower or, the higher being.
Transnational Solidarity in Response to War
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has resulted in the destruction of life support, escalated barbaric sexual violence against women and girls and rendered millions of citizens homeless and refugees. On 24-2-2022, peace activists and feminists made this appeal for peace:
“With consternation and disbelief, we are witnessing the escalation of the war and violence in Ukraine caused by the Russian invasion and the suspension of negotiations between the leaders of Russia and Ukraine. As women citizens of the world, we demand the Government of the Russian Federation to immediately cease hostilities, knowing that war is a crime against peace and humanity. At the same time, we urge all sides in the conflict to continue the negotiations through diplomatic channels and to rely on all available non-violent means, to find appropriate solutions and ensure long-term peace and security in Ukraine, including the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
As peace activists and feminists, we strongly oppose any act of war by any state or international actor. We oppose the culture of violence based on permanent military armament, constructing and producing enemies, macho-militaristic competition, and creating new military shields in the heart of Europe. We also oppose the public incitement to war by powerful states based on their geopolitical and financial interests and the warmongering atmosphere that promotes fear and anxiety among the people of Ukraine, the citizens of neighbouring countries, and citizens of Russia.
As witnesses of the havoc of war and war iconography during the 1990s in our own country, we are aware of the harmful repercussions of the war and its long-lasting devastating effects on society, civilians, and the human community. We know how divided communities in the post-war period suffered from trauma and feelings of injustice, which made healing hard to achieve.
For us, human security and the life of every human being is an ethical imperative for every political action, surpassing issues such as state-territorial interests, political independence, and military defence security. Therefore, we demand the Government of the Republic of Croatia actively support peace efforts to prevent further escalation of the conflict. We express our solidarity with all Ukraine citizens and our support for peace initiatives and anti-war movements in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus.”
Peaceful Responses to War Against Women
Recent attacks on women’s autonomy and right to education in Afghanistan have made human rights organisations intensify their efforts to protect women and girls.
Iranian women and girls are leading a movement to respect human rights. Women face discrimination in law and practice. Compulsory veiling laws have led to daily harassment, torture, imprisonment and her brutal death in the case of Mahsa Amini. Hundreds of women, men and children expressing solidarity for Mhasa have lost their lives, and thousands of human rights defenders have been imprisoned for campaigning for bodily autonomy. The global feminist movement is protesting and demanding that the violence against protesters stop immediately.
International Feminist Anti-War Resistance
The Russian feminists have given a call to citizens around the world to join peaceful demonstrations and launch offline and online campaigns against the war in Ukraine and Putin’s dictatorship and created hashtags #FeministAntiWarResistance and #FeministsAgainstWar for the global reach out for social solidarity against persecution by the misogynist, hyper-masculine, jingoistic authoritarian state.
The feminist worldview rests on the premise that humans can become human and humane only in peace. Creativity, spirituality, and individual and collective achievements attain grandeur and glory only when there is peace. Qualities of compassion, forgiveness, love, sharing, and universal solidarity become cherished and sought-after virtuous attributes only when a community, society or nation is at peace – within and without.
War, on the other hand, internal or external, civil or military, declared or undeclared valorises aggression- the capacity to kill or be killed – the destruction of human life and accomplishments; it mocks compassion and conscience; it belittles refusal to erect artificial walls that divide human beings in the name of one identity or the other; it enhances intersectional vulnerabilities based on caste, class, race, ethnicity, religion and gender; it glorifies the destructive principle and devalues the principles of creation and life.
The warmongers are invariably persons with few qualms of conscience, ever ready to eliminate and exterminate human life, emotions, thoughts, ideas, and achievements. Hence, transnational feminist efforts aim to build peace on this planet to ensure social justice, economic justice, gender justice, environmental justice, and distributive justice.
This article was originally published in People’s Reporter as Feminist Efforts Towards Building Global Perspective in December 2022.