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(en) US, WILDFIRE - june 2004, S-e-x-i-s-t, Racist S-e-x-u-a-l Politics Censors and Suppresses the Rape and Torture of Iraqi Women in Abu Ghraib Prison by Tiffany King, and more

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 24 Nov 2004 10:04:15 +0100 (CET)


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As an African American woman I am ever conscious of my status as
a member of a race of women deemed "unrape-able" due to sexism, racism and capitalism. Since
our appearance on these shores, sexist/racist notions of us in the
white supremacist imagination have d e f i n e d black women as temptresses,
jezebels and prostitutes impossible of being raped. This is not
just a historical reality for African American women but a current day
one. One only has to take a look at the misogynistic images of African
American women transmitted around the globe via mass media. For African
American women, mass media and popular culture are the new
conduits of what author Patricia Hill Collins, in her book Black Sexual
Politics, is calling the new racism
that works to maintain old and cre-
ate new racist and sexist gender ide-
ologies about African Americans.
Some might argue some of the con-
duits maintaining and creating the
gender ideologies of "third world"
women of color, particularly South-
east Asian and other brown women,
are the racist/sexist language and
policies of white supremacy's inter-
national humanitarianism and its
agent, the international development
NG O. The "good intentioned" lan-
guage of neocolonial policies are
d e f i n i n g exploited "third world"
women of color as prostitutes and
"sex workers". We can see the dev-
astating effects of this racist and
sexist gender ideology not only in
the sexual exploitation/slavery of
w o m e n of color in the global
economy but most recently in the
media's coverage of the treatment
of Iraqi women in Abu Ghraib prison.
In no article in mainstream me-
dia or alternative media sources
have I seen the rape and torture of
the Iraqi women actually named as
rape. Often the rapes are not re-
ported at all. In all of the sources
that I have referenced which in-
clude: CBS Worldwide Inc's initial
release of the photos and captions,
The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek,
The Nation and the reporting of
Major General Taguba's report on
A b u Ghraib by the Independent
Media Center; I have not witnessed
the media refer to the torture and
sexual assault of the women prison-
ers as rape. The typical language
that is being used to describe the
abuse against the women is retold
as accounts of "soldiers having sex
with female detainees" (McGeary,
Johanna. "The Scandals Growing
S t a i n ", Time Magazine, May 17,
2004). US media sources insist on
merely stating that US soldiers are
pictured having sex with women.
Given the retelling of the ac-
counts of abuse inflicted on the
women prisoners it would seem as
if no rapes took place at all, only
inappropriate (but not forced) sex
between soldiers and female pris-
oners. It is insane or merely the at-
tempts of a white supremacist im-
perialist regime trying to hide war
crimes to suggest sexual contact
taking place during war between
occupiers and the occupied of any
g e n d e r, but particularly women,
could be anything but rape. Most
know that a rape culture pervades
in times of war, and what more proof
do we need than photos of women
being raped at gun point by US sol-
diers. The world community has the
proof from the very sadist who took
the pictures. There is no way the US
can deny the rape of Iraqi women
by US soldiers (primarily white men).
Interestingly enough the word
rape is reserved to describe the
sexual violence that was perpetrated
against the male prisoners. Accord-
ing to racist patriarchal global me-
dia sources it seems as if the sexual
violation of the male body is rape,
while the sexual violation of the fe-
male body, particularly female bod-
ies of color is just sex. Graphic de-
tails of the sodomy of male soldiers,
with stick-ends treated with toxic
chemicals are endlessly reported on.
More gruesome details come out
daily. While it is critical for the move-
ment to eradicate sexual violence
to acknowledge that men are also
victims of rape, particularly Black
and Latino men subjected to a rape
culture within the Prison Industrial
Complex, it should never b e done
at the expense of women.
It seems as if another co-conspira-
tor in the sexist omission of the vio-
lence perpetrated against women
prisoners is homophobia. Patri-
archy's abhorrence of male on male
sex has biased the media coverage
which focuses on what horrible sex
acts were performed on the bodies
of men by other men.
What patriarchy and misogyny
have taught us is the bodies of men
more valuable than those of women.
What white supremacy has taught
the world, particularly through the
case of the African female slave is
rape cannot occur to women of
color. All women of color, particu-
larly women who resemble the glo-
bal media image (Southeast Asian)
of the "sex worker", are depicted as
ready and willing for all types of sex
and penetration; even the most por-
nographic ones perpetrated against
the Iraqi women in the photos. To
not even name the atrocities that
these women experienced as a crime
is just as misogynistic as the acts
themselves. As the pictures of the
rapes of these women travel around
the globe and the media continues
to exhibit them yet not label them
a s rape works to render these
women sexual objects that are sec-
ondary and subordinated porno-
graphic props that give additional
shock value to the primary story of
the torture of the male detainees.
The racist and sexist gender ide-
ologies used by the world media, the
"unrape-able" woman of color, will
simultaneously lead to the further
debasement of women of color and
o b s c u r e the true nature of the
crimes committed by the sadistic,
misogynistic primarily white male
soldiers. By denying these white
male soldiers are rapists will most
definitely reduce the sentences and
punishments of these rapists. More
importantly, the maintenance of cen-
turies old racist sexual politics that
are being rein scribed by the sup-
pression of the rapes of the Iraqi
women prisoners by white men works
to maintain the sexual politics that
give white supremacy its power. To
maintain the systems of white su-
premacy, the white man (the repre-
sentative of the white race) can
never be depicted as a rapist or
sexual deviant. The role of sexual
deviant is reserved solely for people
of color. Women of color function
as the whore and men of color as
the rapist. The protection of the white
male as liberator is critical for the
U S at this moment in history. An
uncensored and true telling of the
War in Iraq and the abuses at the
Abu Ghraib prison would certainly
risk exposure of the truth unraveling
the racist sexual politics upholding
white supremacy.
The white supremacist media is
effectively using racist sexual ide-
ologies to obscure the issue of pa-
triarchal militaristic institutionaliza-
tion of rape against women. As
white supremacy suppresses this
reality of war, it also continues to
hide its true motivation for the war
on Iraq: the unabashed rape of the
bodies, spirits, natural resources and
land of the Iraqi people and people
of color around the world. If we want
t o wage a more deliberate and
forceful resistance to the war on ter-
rorism and white supremacist glo-
b a l imperialism; understanding
sexual politics is just as important
as understanding racial politics.
Tiffany King is an educator, activist
and writer working in the Public
School System and communities of
Wilmington, Delaware.
=========================

DAYS OF NOTE NO
MONTH
TH I S MONTH
June 1
Tulsa's Black Wall
Street is bombed and
burned down by
whites. 3,000
African Americans
died. (1921)
June 3
Texas mandates
bilingual education
for students. (1973)
June 4
Angela Davis is found
not guilty. (1972)
June 5
Six Day War begins.
(1967)
June 8
Palestinian guerrilla
force Sa'iqa forms.
(1967)
June 10
First armed clash
between Mexican
troops and Anglo
settlers in Texas.
(1832)
June 11
Evacuation Day in
Libya, commemorat-
ing the date U.S.
bases were turned
over. (1970)
June 12
Activist Medgar Evers
murdered. (1963)
June 16
Police kill protesters
in Soweto Township,
South Africa,
sparking the Soweto
Uprising (1960).
June 19
Slaves in Texas
receive news that
they are free from
slavery. (1865)
June 20
Senegal wins
independence.
(1960)
June 21
Civil rights workers
disappear in
Mississippi; their
bodies are
discovered in August,
and the case pushes
passage of the 1964
Civil Rights Act.
(1964)
June 24
Venezuela wins
independence.
(1821)
June 28
U.S. Defense Attach

===========================
TAK E ACTION NOW - Organizer Murdered by Chicago Police
A meeting between police offi-
cials and supporters of a local ac-
t i v i s t who died of undetermined
causes while in police custody was
canceled May 28 after the two sides
could not agree on whether to meet
in public or private.
More than a dozen supporters
of May Molina, 55, who died May
26, confronted officials from the
Office of Professional Standards,
the group looking into her death,
angrily demanding that the meeting
be held in public.
They also called for the case to
be turned over to the U.S. attorney's
office or an independent commis-
sion.
Molina founded a group called
F a m i l i e s of the Wrongfully Con-
victed. Molina, who was in a wheel-
chair, had diabetes, asthma and a
thyroid condition.
The confrontation between the
protesters and police capped nearly
a week of sparring between the
groups. On May 27, a meeting with
the Office of Professional Standards
w a s canceled after protesters
shouted down police officials.
"This is too big for you. Write a
letter to the U.S. attorney's office, "
said Aaron Patterson, a lead pro-
tester who was one of the Death
Row inmates pardoned by former
Gov. George Ryan.
Lori Lightfoot, chief administra-
tor of the Office of Professional
Standards, refused to meet with pro-
testers. She told them to go to the
U.S. attorney and the FBI to request
an investigation.
"We will not turn this into a cir-
cus. I have offered to meet with you, "
Lightfoot said. "You don't want the
terms of the deal. "
-- credit: Carlos Sadovi, Chi-
cago Tribune
What you can do:
May Molina's family is strug-
gling to raise the thousands neces-
sary to pay for May's funeral and
burial. Please be as generous as
you can and write a check as soon
as possible payable to her niece,
Marizol Allende, and send them to:
Marizol Allende
c/o April Ortiz
P. O. Box 412004
Chicago, IL 60641-2004
===========================
About the zine
This is an (ideally)
monthly publication in
support of and
solidarity with the
anarchist/
autonomous people of
color movement. Your
writings, feedback,
art and participation
are welcome and
appreciated. Send
email to
apoc@illegalvoices.org.
APOC Website:
www.illegalvoices.org




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