He cannot be President. He cannot be my friends’ President.

In the United States this past Wednesday the relationship between politics and business based on sex, racism, xenophobia, ignorance, etc, became the rule of the master. I have been writing for Women In and Beyond the Global for some time to denounce, inform and reflect on many issues that are threats to human and women’s dignity in many places.

I wrote about Dominique Strauss Kahn aka DSK, the former director of the IMF and pretender to presidential election in France, who used his power to attack and humiliate women for sex. His scandalous behavior was disparaged worldwide, especially after his arrest in New York City for abusing a woman of color in the hotel where he was a client and where she was a maid. Even his own political party in France declared that they should erect a statue to Nafissatou Diallo for her strength and determination. I concluded : “From New York, Washington, Paris to Lille, the DSK saga magnifies the story of violence against women that epitomizes the power of patriarchal capitalism over women’s bodies.”

What did we witness last Wednesday? Donald Trump has done all this and was able to get the votes that he needed to become the President of the United States.

Then, about the massive displacement of people escaping war zones created by the US and its allies’ politics, which triggered a remilitarization of the borders, I wrote: “The indifference to the ordeal of millions in the Global South is a racial issue that is used to promote and allow an absurd, but for a few profitable, bio-economic order that needs racism to impose so-called free trade markets and their dehumanization through militaristic means.” Indifference to dehumanization is now going to be United States public policy.

While NAFTA guarantees the “free” circulation of capital, people, especially people from the southern border of the United States, have been impoverished by this treaty and dismissed if not eliminated. The border with Mexico has two sides, as I reported in 2014: “On the US – Mexico border, US border patrols are under investigation for having recently killed more people than ever before. An independent review, leaked to the Los Angeles Times, considered 67 shootings by US Border patrols at the Mexican border between January 2010 and October 2012. These resulted in 19 civilian deaths.” I added the story of Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a 16 year-old boy who was on his way home when he was killed by US officers, from the other side of the fence. The officers on the US side shot him 10 times. He was killed with two bullets in his head and then butchered with eight more bullets in his back.”

The billionaire candidate Trump has had the most demeaning words to an entire population, normalizing hatred.

In one of the numerous articles that Women In and Beyond the Global published about sexual and reproductive rights, I wrote: “How the `life’ of the unborn has toppled the life of a woman is no mystery: a great dose of political cynicism serves vested interest and neoliberal economics to create a geography of increasing discrimination and vulnerability.”

Now, in terms of sexual reproductive rights the next move is not going to be to repeal the Hyde Amendment that was once hoped, but rather to overturn Roe v Wade! That is only going to be one aspect of it. The other part goes with the incarceration of women, “the deviant women.” The torture will continue!

Many have compared this election with Brexit. We should remember Jo Cox, the MP woman who was assassinated by the hand of hatred just few days before the election day, but she is not the only one to have died from patriarchal violence. In Egypt on January 24th, in Cairo, Egypt, Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, a 32 years old secular socialist activist, was assassinated by the police along with 20 other demonstrators. I remarked: “In this harsh neoliberal order, accents of totalitarianism emerge to “Shut up all voices” and crackdown on dissent with no shame. Women are often the target of these acts of violence and political intimidation.”

The countless attacks on women particularly women of color since the election are violent political intimidation.

Finally, the reality of the not so natural disasters that are looming over us somehow prompted some important reaction of solidarity last year at the Cop 21 in Paris. I wrote then in the introduction to the interview with Sascha Gabizon, one of the co-facilitators of the Women Gender Constituency, a large coalition of feminists and women’s movements: “Climate disasters target women. As Sascha recalled, in the 1991 floods in Bangladesh 90% of the casualties were women. As climate disasters occur regularly, as in the Philippines, they impact in majority women, mainly because of gendered distribution of labor and roles. As a result, we see all kinds of radicalization against women with the widespread expansion of brutal practices against women, in their home, in their everyday life, in prisons and jails, as well as the erosion of women’s rights especially sexual and reproductive rights in an increasing number of countries.”

This is more than a sad time it is a time of unleashed global violence with enormous consequences. This neoliberal world that has treated economic and outrageous policy makers as priests has accepted a ruthless billionaire as a prophet! He cannot be a president and not my friends’ president.

 

(Photo Credit: Vocative / Ryan Beckler)

Radio WIBG: Sascha Gabizon and COP 21: “We need to include the language of gender equality”

Sascha Gabizon

COP 21 has opened in a difficult “climate.” After the attacks in Paris, a state of emergency has been declared. With that came the cancelation of all climate demonstrations organized by civil society. Nonetheless, a human-chain was organized gathering 10000 people; creative ways of demonstrating took place, thousands of shoes paved Republic Square to symbolize the march for the climate.

However, the abuses of the state of emergency are now being made visible and denounced, as 24 eco pacifist militants, some not even located in Paris, have been placed under a sort of house arrest during COP 21, marking the widening denial of democratic rights.

Climate change means the global elimination of people not only in Syria or Afghanistan but also generally in the global South. The COP negotiations work within the neoliberal market, shaping the climate paradigm as exchange value of the temperature degrees instead of taking into consideration the harshening condition of human lives, again ranked by gender, race and class.

In this context the task of Sascha Gabizon, one of the co-facilitators of the Women Gender Constituency, a large coalition of feminists and women’s movements, is going to be arduous.

Climate disasters target women. As Sascha recalled, in the 1991 floods in Bangladesh 90% of the casualties were women. As climate disasters occur regularly, as in the Philippines, they impact in majority women, mainly because of gendered distribution of labor and roles.

As a result, we see all kinds of radicalization against women with the widespread expansion of brutal practices against women, in their home, in their everyday life, in prisons and jails, as well as the erosion of women’s rights especially sexual and reproductive rights in an increasing number of countries.

Sascha insists: “We need to include, in the first article of the COP 21 agreement, the language of gender equality, of equality in terms of human rights as defined in the United Nations charter including the rights of indigenous populations. Moreover, she remarks that in the current negotiations, this language is shockingly deemed unnecessary even by countries such as Norway.”

By the same token, she underlines the impossibility of women’s groups even the largest to use the financial system for the climate as currently defined for any of their projects simply because it requires a 10 million Euros investment, an amount of money impossible to collect for these organizations. Additionally, locking up countries in the current public debt system has dire impacts on any initiatives, local or state especially in emerging countries.

Finally, the reality of the increase of temperature means the elimination of lands and therefore populations. While we are justly appalled by the deaths from blind attacks in the streets of Beirut, Tunis or Paris, our eyes turn away from the surviving struggles of the populations of the South who have not produced this climate disaster.

Listen to Sascha Gabizon

and a longer interview, in French, is available here.

 

(Photo Credit: UN Women / Fabricio Barreto)