I've been thinking of how to start writing this, and i can't but sigh and think "pfft"- pfft indeed, this present moment is a moment of ideological traps. One cannot open their mouth to speak without being interpreted into something else. Let me tell you how.
A week ago the campaign against "Boko Haram" Bringbackourgirls took a heighten of visibility around international social media. On the other hand a couple of articles were published where the possibility of the USA having a military intervention in africa was discussed. The discussion rotated around how such campaigns (especially coming out of the west) invite the american intervention in Africa. Even though i respect these articles and discourses that provide a very valid critique of how international affairs get handled and how problems (especially issues of women rights and "freedom") have been one of the major excuses for the the american military intervention whether in Iraq of Afghanistan or any other country in the global south - the question is: shall we then stay silent about it? Given that events such as the kidnapping of the school girls, or violence against women, or any other type of oppression happens often in the global south and AROUND THE WORLD, THE WEST INCLUDED - while the west is watching and waiting for any human rights breach to use as an excuse in order to impose its colonial agenda - what to do while the situation becomes as tricky as a minefield.
On the other hand after 9/11 in specific, there was a heighten of islamophobia in the west, where islam became the religion that is marginalized, attacked, thus need to be protected by intellectual production of knowledge under the umbrella of freedom. So another minefield emerged here, especially after the invasion of Iraq. It became harder and harder for women from the arab world to speak on a local and international level about sexism within the arab world. Everytime someone is critical about islam as an institution that is oppressive towards women, or about the arab world and its governments and system of governing, rights, sexism etc, its always confronted with discursive silencing and hushing, because we do not want the US to use these problems that WE DEAL WITH EVERYDAY in order to invade us.
See i told you, it is a moment of profound ideological traps and minefields. What do i know, this blog might even explode in my face!
What is the most troubling about this moment is that we are only left with colonialism to talk about in order for our voice to be legitimate, in order not to be accused of being "western". Well, as much as i am a conspiracy theorist, we have to admit that this sounds like really a propaganda of silencing. It is not arbitrary, its intensifying to the extent that we cannot even discuss our everyday without discussing our radical anti american politics. And here i am not talking about women rights traditional voices that essentialize the women category, whom are waiting to be saved, No. I am talking about radical anti colonial/anti zionist/anti capitalist/anti neoliberal voices that are trying to push through this moment of discursive binaries in order to be heard. The discourse of you are either western (read as you want to be colonized and you hate the arab world because it's not "modern") or you are an arab (read as you are pro religious institution thus you are anti USA, and you will not talk about local problems because the US will use it as an excuse to colonize you).
Well, let me rephrase this in order to be clear, local oppression in our present in the global south exist, that DOES NOT MEAN that we want to be colonized by the USfuckingA, that means that in our movements we are trying to actually mobilize against these oppressions in order for us to tackle these social problems that WE HAVE TO LIVE WITH EVERY DAY. That does mean that we are not aware of the US foreign policies, or the United nation's neoliberal agenda that feeds into reproducing the world as we know it, or that we are blind to the social and economical situations that produce sexism, racism, homophobia, classism, capitalism, neoliberalism even feminism or all the ISMS in the world. It only means that we are discussing what is happening and we have the full legitimacy to because this is not a theoretical intellectual discussion only, this our daily life we are talking about, and that is nothing to be silent about.
I am going to say this bluntly and clearly, religious institution everywhere are oppressive, and governments mostly exist in this historical moment to police and control, so where is the problem exactly in raising our voices against that? Our geographical location has become a generator of silencing just because of this eurocentric reading of the world, that position and reproduce the west as the center of all discourses, And that is exactly what's happening in this moment.
Therefore this is not a trial to silence anyone, this an invitation for those who are stuck in this eurocentric reading of the world to give space to an alternative discourse that is against local oppression as much as it is against colonialism. The world on the contrary of the mainstream perception does not function in single hegemonic binaries, it is exist in a multiplicity that generates this pragmatism. That's why discussing it in binaries leaves us with reductionism and concealment that mostly lead to the reproduction of oppression.
We need a space (that we try to reclaim everyday) in order for this alternative discourse to be discussed. To simplify it, if you have something to say while everytime you try saying it, two people corner you and start screaming at each other, of course you will not have a space to express your opinion. Thus please stop screaming your opinion, we know it already, its been here since a long time and its actually taking over all this space including ours. And allow some space for a conversation with you, to reply, to speak, to express and discuss rather then be stuck in the middle watching these binaries jump back and forth in a malicious cycle, while accusations of either being savages or western are being thrown at us.
Saying that the binary discourse is silencing does not mean to state that we are in the position of victims, it means only what it means: silencing as in someone taking over the whole conversation and not letting anyone else speak. Clear?
ah, i try to be brief, but i can write about this forever, this is how frustrating the situation is....