Women's One World
Without World Law, Women Still Have No Protection Against Violence
By Marcia L. Mason, Coordinator, Women's Commission
Terrorism is patriarchal violence-what feminists term the "terminal testosterone poisoning" theory of history.
Terror pervades our daily lives. Its battlefronts have expanded to the supermarket, the airport, the local movie theater and discotheque, the subway, the federal building.
Every day, we're told, more and more ordinary people die from terrorist attacks. Every day, more and more ordinary people live in fear-fear of narco-terrorism, religious-fundamentalist terrorism, eco-terrorism, and anti-government, militia-organized terrorism.
Terrorism has been called "the politics of last resort." However, the politics of last resort has become commonplace worldwide. So commonplace, in fact, that a bustling industry has arisen. Books are written about terrorist cells, networks, and munitions transactions. State-of-the-art security devices are invented, tested, patented, manufactured, sold. New jobs are created: airport screening personnel, special task forces in police departments, animal trainers to teach dogs to sniff explosives. This is the normalization of terrorism.
According to the U.S. State Department, "Terrorism is premeditated, politically motivated violence, perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine state agents" ("Patterns of Global Terrorism," U.S. Department of State Annual Survey, Washington, D.C., 1986). Some of us might find this a fairly workable description of rape, battery, child abuse, homophobia, sexual harassment, economic exploitation, educational discrimination, religious manipulation, and state repression.
Officially sanctioned terrorism by the "phallocratic" state has been with us through all periods of history. Today, however, the increase in terrorism, along with the 50 or so wars now being fought, can be seen as expressing the death throes of patriarchy.
If all politics is a struggle for power, then the ultimate kind of power is violence.
It follows that the ultimate kind of violence is war. The chief reason for the continuance of warfare is the simple fact that no substitute for this final arbiter in international affairs has yet appeared on the political scene.
That substitute has now appeared. It is women as a global political force.
The evidence is there. It is reflected in the women who at this moment-in the small towns of the midwestern U.S., in the villages of Africa, on the islands of the Pacific, in the cities of Europe, the plantations of Asia, the refugee camps of the Middle East-are rejecting "the ultimate kind of power" and are rising in numbers and visibility as never before to demand sanity, justice and an end to violence.
Previously, she existed in patriarchal eyes to be used and discarded.
Now she appears as being unto herself, not present only as a source of support for him. And now she is dangerous-the temptress, the Medusa, the Wild Woman of Russian folklore, the Jezebel, the Magdalen, the witch.
Now she exists (in his eyes) as a threat to be fled from or conquered.
In his myths, she is the mother he rejects, the temptress he conquers, the wife he subjugates.
In the real world, her feet have been bound and stunted to the size of three inches. She has been burned on the funeral pyre of her husband (sati). She has been murdered while in infancy. She was set on fire as a witch at nine million stakes during the Burning Time in Europe. She still suffers and dies from child marriage and polygyny and abandonment, from genital mutilation and unnecessary hysterectomies, from forced concealment in purdah and forced exposure in pornography.
Bound, hobbled, silenced, battered, raped raw, exhibited, bought and sold, pedestaled or guttered, derided, trivialized, dismissed, erased- no matter what, there is something in her that refuses to give up self.
Patriarchy has lost its grip on power. Its only recourse is to intensify violence. The terminal testosterone-poisoning is manifesting itself in the dying beast.
We see it evidenced in the rape, torture, brutality and genocide of women and children in warring nation-states.
But a much more devastating and long-lasting war-the war against women and children-has not ended. It has not even de-escalated. In fact, the lot of women and children globally is worsening.
Witness the millions routinely terrorized, mutilated, starved or murdered simply because they are female.
In every country of the world, violence against women occurs daily, and the numbers of its victims are probably higher than in any other global conflict. Crimes of such magnitude against any other group would be recognized as a worldwide emergency.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted over five decades ago, applies to everyone "without distinction of any kind such as race, color, sex, language...or other status." It also states "no one shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment."
These sections of the declaration obviously pertain to the astonishing amount of violence directed against women. Yet, because the world community still does not view women's rights as human rights, nothing is done.
Clearly, global violence against women is a major obstacle to achievement of any sort of peace. And what will it take to stop this horrific and savage treatment of women? I see two imperative steps:
First, world law must be created as a means of guarding against violations of women's rights and all other human rights. A world constitution must be formulated as the underpinning for world law. And a World Court of Human Rights is needed to enforce world law.
Women must have access to a structural body such as a world human rights court that they can safely appeal to as individuals when their rights are violated by nation-states.
Presently, the only such body is the World Government of World Citizens. On any given day, in every country, tens of thousands of refugees are held in detention-in violation of their human rights-for no other reason than not having the "right" papers. It is only through the efforts of the legal staff of the World Service Authority of the WGWC that they have been and continue to be set free.
A recent case in point involving both the U.S. and Canada is the case of Shirley Farida Kermali (Jassan), a woman in her mid-40s. In a letter dated April 28, 2001, she appealed to David Gallup, President, World Service Authority for help. This is her story.
On November 19, 2000, Shirley drove from Queens, NY, entering Canada via the peace Bridge border, as an Evangelist doing missionary work. That same day on her return to NY, she was stopped at the U.S. Immigration gate, searched and then detained for not having a passport or visa. Handcuffed and chained, she was returned to Canada and put in a jail called a "Holding Center" to wait for a hearing before a judge.
While in detention, she underwent an interrogation process in which she was ordered to remain seated for an uninterrupted 24-hour period. She was not only without food and water but also without the use of any restoom facilities at the state time.
During the eight months Shirley was held in jail, with no charges against her, she suffered the indignities and humilities of being treated like a criminal having no rights and under constant surveilance. It was five months before she finally went before the judge. The judge wouldn't release her because her national identity was in question.
Who could she appeal to? The only place available-the World Service Authority of the World Government of World Citizens.
WSA sent several letters to the various national officials involved including Prime Minister Jean Chrétien demanding her immediate release to which there was no response.
On July 10, 2001 World Coordinator Garry Davis then wrote to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II informing her of the "flagrant violations of the human rights of Ms. Shirley Farida Kermali, a registered citizen of this Government, by your majesty's servants in Canada…we, therefore, are obliged to hold you responsible for both Ms. Kermali's arbitrary detention and freedom...Therefore, should World citizen Kermali not be released within 48 hours after receipt of this letter, this Government will not be responsible for the consequences."
Shirley was freed within the 48 hours!
But the U.S. still has not allowed her to cross the border. The case continues.
It is obvious that these violations of women's rights will be halted only when there is recourse to law that is acknowledged and enforced globally.
The second imperative step is to outlaw all forms of war.
In a senseless competition for power, hundreds of thousands of defenseless individuals suffer while the military kills with impunity. The military defines "national security" and that, in turn, has been used to define whatever social order is supposedly necessary to ensure national security. The resulting social order then puts all "other"-especially women and children-at risk. The connection has been clearly shown between an upsurge in militarization and an intensification of sexism, racism, and homophobia.
Few institutions can command such huge financial, labor and material resources as the military. With their ever-expanding budget, armed forces distort a country's whole fiscal structure, including its trade relations.
War must be viewed as illegal and delegitimized socially and psychologically. The world can no longer afford war, the ultimate macho test of manhood!
The man-made national boundaries that isolate and provide excuses for violence must be dismantled. We are all one family on this Spaceship Earth, and it is time that the peoples of this planet began thinking and acting that way.
As in any family, there are individual differences, but these differences enhance and enrich the kaleidoscope of life. It is imperative that we develop global consciousness, link with each other beyond national boundaries, and affirm each other's cultural diversity.
We women must save our planet if we are to save ourselves and our children.
To hasten the Beast's demise, women and world citizens everywhere must raise their voices to reclaim their sovereignty-their sovereign human rights.