‘What Did You Do in the War, Mother?’

…[W]hat does war mean when you strip it of machismo and romanticism? What does it mean for elderly women? The disabled? Street girls? What would it have meant for me if we hadn’t left?

…[T]he dictatorship of Siad Barre had a much vaunted policy of sexual equality and many Somali women supported the regime and took part in its abuses. From the local espionage networks to the Women’s Auxiliary Unit in the army they wielded power over perceived enemies of the state. These individuals have been completely overlooked, as are most female perpetrators of violence, but when we are forced to confront them, as we were by Lynddie England’s smirking face in the images from Abu Ghraib, we feel a particular hatred and maybe even betrayal. Althoug…it was hard to tell if the condemnation was based on the idea that women are above these cruel acts…I wanted to investigate that discomfort and ask if women are in essence different to men when it comes to violence, if that desire is present in us however submerged or if, in fact, it’s just another power that we are denied?

Read the full article: ‘What Did You Do in the War, Mother?’ by Nadifa Mohamed | Author, The Orchard of Lost Souls | Huffington Post

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