Short ‘n’ Stubby: Ms. Manx goes to Afghanistan


Lately, so many stories on Afghanistan have been landing in my tab bar that it’s getting hard to keep track of them (not to mention scroll past them all!) So, Ms. Manx has obligingly meowed at me, urging me to make ’em as short as her tail so I can share them with y’all:

The Nation takes on the infamous TIME cover, the one showing the noseless Afghan woman who’s become a posterchild for warmongers. Key sentence: “It’s all part and parcel of a campaign, by some well-meaning people and some not so well-meaning, to justify America’s failing counterinsurgency policy in that devastated nation by raising the banner of women’s rights…” BINGO.

The Calgary Herald also (surprisingly) attacks this propaganda campaign, and exposes the CIA’s role in it. The source of the info? Wikileaks, and the brave leaker, Bradley Manning–whom Eric Margolis devoted his last Toronto Sun column to, correctly calling him a hero. Margolis, too, notices something: “WikiGate provoked a flood of bombastic pro-war propaganda from America’s mainstream (read: Government guided) media, its rent-a-journalists, and Canada’s wannabe Republican neocons.” Surprise! Guess where that awful TIME cover fits into all this. I’ll give you a hint: Project Mockingbird never died.

Rethink Afghanistan digs deeper into the CIA aspect of things, showing how the Taliban (those evil woman-mutilators!) rose from the loins of the CIA-sponsored mujahideen. If anyone is to blame for the Afghan women’s suffering and suicidality, guess what–it’s the good old freedom-and-democracy-bringin’ US of A.

Another Nation article criticizes the whole TIME premise, pointing out that there has been a “creeping Talibanization” of Afghanistan under Hamid Karzai, and that Bibi Aisha lost her nose (and earlobes) literally under the nose of the US, Canadian, British and European troops who have been in Afghanistan nonstop, supposedly fighting for her freedom not to be disfigured by a Taliban-crazed husband. The last paragraph is absolutely key, so read it all and realize that war is not a feminist act.

But you know what IS a feminist act? Making art that explicitly links female exploitation with acts of war. Since so much war is perpetuated on the bodies of women (and beautiful women are shamelessly exploited in pro-war propaganda as well), a female artist, Rosemarie Romero, thought it worthwhile to explore the subject by making montages of models in seductive poses, with parts of their bodies replaced by scenes of war. The response of viewers to these pictures seems to indicate that her efforts are paying off: “Romero, who’s 24-years-old and an MFA student at the University of Florida, says that when people first see the photomontages at a distance, they’re titillated and drawn to the women’s faces or spread legs or exposed breasts. When they get closer and realize what they’re looking at, the party’s over. They’re disturbed, repulsed.” A good and logical response, I’d say.

And while we’re on the subject of things disturbing and repulsive, be warned of the next front in the War on Terra: the use of human rights as (bogus) grounds for the ultimate in human rights abuses. Actually, it’s already happening, and if you’ve been following what I blogged on Venezuela and Bolivia in particular, you’ll see that there’s been quite an expanse of Astroturf already unrolled there as pretext for the staging of fascist coups. But hey, why should the women of Afghanistan have all the “fun”?

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