Who Pays the Price?
When women and children suffer for men's wars.
Like so many millions of people around the world, I’m watching the devastating war in Palestine, in the aftermath of the devastating attack on Israeli civilians, with heartbreak and horror. And I’ve been getting so many messages asking, “Where are the feminists?” Some of these messages come from people pointing out atrocities committed by Hamas against innocent women, men, children, and babies in Israel; others come from people demanding more attention be paid to the Palestinian women who can’t birth safely, who are killed while pregnant, whose children are dying in their arms. Western feminists are accused of “consenting to Hamas’ rape culture” and also of telling Palestinian women, “your suffering does not matter.”
The very existence of women’s suffering is also being called into question. With Twitter now under the control of an alt-right megalomaniac, disinformation and misinformation are rife, and it’s appallingly easy to write off as falsity or propaganda information that conflicts with your views, and take on only the information (and sometimes falsities and propaganda) that comports with them. I’m a journalist, and I’ve had a hard time sorting out what has been substantiated, what has been disproven, and what still exists in the in-between as investigations continue and forensics teams make their way through the aftermath of horrific terrorist attacks, and as a brutal and bloody war continues apace and horrors mount by the minute.
So where are the feminists? This particular feminist is on the side of women.
I’m on the side of the women and girls who were raped and murdered by Hamas terrorists, and who endured torture that is now, disturbingly, being denied or diminished or hand-waved away. I’m on the side of the women who are going into labor in Gaza and can’t get basic care, who may pay for pregnancy with their lives, whose children may die before they fully enter the world, whose lives are written off as collateral damage. I’m on the side of the women who are terrified of what is happening to their kidnapped children, or whose families were burned alive, or whose babies were killed by grown men in unfathomable acts of inhumanity, or who believed they were safe from centuries-old hatreds and are now being told with terrifying clarity that they are not. I’m on the side of the women whose children’s lives have been stolen, of the women who were told to flee but had nowhere to go, of the women who fled but were bombed anyway, of the women who don’t have clean water or medicine or electricity or a safe place to hide, of the women who like so many women are desperate down to the marrow to protect their children, of the women who cannot do that one singular thing, of the women scrawling names on their children’s limbs so someone might be able to identify them, of the women who are pulling their children’s bodies out of piles of rubble, of the women who lost their lives to a war they didn’t start and wanted nothing to do with.