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Silence against Political Rape

Arab Women's Subalterniy During Political Struggles

Ola Abdalkafor

Arab Spring movements in many Arab countries revealed a gap at the heart of Arab society and politics: the large-scale subalternity of Arab women in such movements. In this essay, I hypothesize that, with few exceptions, Arab women have always avoided participation in social and political activism because of their fear of political rape – raping women as punishment during political turmoil. The essay traces the history of political rape through different stages of Arab history. The examples are taken from history, literature and international reports and they mainly cover three countries: Syria, Egypt, and Libya. These examples prove that vulnerable women’s horror at any possibility of their being sexually abused and then rejected by their families and society has always haunted them, preventing them from struggling or protesting. The essay concludes that subalternity is the only stance from which Arab women can encounter political rape. Then, the essay discusses the subalternity of Arab women in the light of the thought of the postcolonial critic Gayatri Spivak. This argument leads to the contention that the silence of Arab women vulnerable to political rape should not be considered passive and that feminist theories and actions cannot be successful in supporting subaltern Arab women without the ethical responsibility theorized by Spivak as the most appropriate approach to the subaltern female. This approach entails respecting subaltern Arab women’s culture and fears and avoiding any attempt to make them copies of the European feminist self. Subaltern Arab women who are afraid of being sexually abused have the right to protect their bodies and stick to their culture while still participating in public life.

Open access

Politics, Consumption, or Nihilism

Protest and Disorder after the Global Crash

Bob Jeffery, Joseph Ibrahim, and David Waddington

The years since the onset of global recession, circa 2008, have led to an unprecedented rise in discontent in societies around the world. Whether this be the Arab Spring of 2011 when popular uprisings against authoritarian regimes cascaded across North Africa and the Middle East, or the rise of left-wing, anti-capitalist and far-right movements in the developed 'north', ranging from the Indignados in Spain, Syriza and the Golden Dawn in Greece, Le Front National in France, student movements in Quebec, or the allegedly less articulate explosion of rage characterizing the English Riots of 2011, it is clear that Fukuyama's thesis regarding the final ascendency of liberal capitalism (and its puppet regimes in the developing world) was grossly misplaced. In Badiou's (2012) terms we are witnessing 'the rebirth of history', where all bets regarding the trajectories of local and global political economies are off.

Open access

Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Francesco Carella

context. Not only do they supply needed labor and skills (think, for example, of Tunisians and Egyptians working in Libya until the so-called Arab Spring; Nicaraguans in Costa Rica and Haitians in the Dominican Republic), but as consumers of goods and

Open access

Introduction

Performance, Power, Exclusion, and Expansion in Anthropological Accounts of Protests

Aet Annist

From Max Gluckmann's (1954) work on rituals of rebellion to more recent work on such protest movements as Occupy ( Graeber 2009 ) or the Arab Spring ( Bayat 2015 ), anthropology has sought to analyze dissent as a process of collision with

Open access

“Where Is the New Constitution?”

Public Protest and Community-Building in Post–Economic Collapse Iceland

Timothy Heffernan

, Pnina , Martin Webb , and Kathryn Spellman-Poots . 2014 . “ Introduction .” In The Political Aesthetics of Global Protest: The Arab Spring and Beyond , ed. Pnina Werbner , Martin Webb , and Kathryn Spellman-Poots , 1 – 29 . Edinburgh

Open access

Sheikhs and the City

Urban Paths of Contention in Sidon, Lebanon

Are John Knudsen

Assir's office across the street facing the mosque, a gift from one of his local backers reportedly costing $150,000 (Karouny 2012). Assir's popular appeal combined support for the Arab Spring revolutions (Syria in particular) with the discrimination of

Open access

Adriana Zaharijević, Kristen Ghodsee, Efi Kanner, Árpád von Klimó, Matthew Stibbe, Tatiana Zhurzhenko, Žarka Svirčev, Agata Ignaciuk, Sophia Kuhnle, Ana Miškovska Kajevska, Chiara Bonfiglioli, Marina Hughson, Sanja Petrović Todosijević, Enriketa Papa-Pandelejmoni, Stanislava Barać, Ayşe Durakbaşa, Selin Çağatay, and Agnieszka Mrozik

attitude toward the headscarf ( tesettür ) (231–235), and her optimism regarding the Arab Spring (435–436). All her work shows that she kept her belief in the revolutionary spirit of women and in the possibility of dialogue between different groups and