OTI Newsletter – “A Feminist Looks at Masculine Rage and the Haditha Massacre”

OTI Newsletter – “A Feminist Looks at Masculine Rage and the Haditha Massacre”

“A Feminist Looks at Masculine Rage and the Haditha Massacre”
by Kathleen Barry

What happened to the Haditha Massacre trial? Though Sergeant Frank Wuterich was scheduled to be in military court this summer for a massacre that killed 24 in Haditha, Iraq, in November of 2005, his trial has been postponed indefinitely. The media has barely covered this postponement of the largest criminal prosecution in the Iraq war.

In this edition of On The Issues, Kathleen Barry addresses the larger message of the massacre, the lack of justice for its victims, and what it teaches us about war and masculinity:

The question of whether anyone will be convicted for the massacre drives deeper than the question of justice for Iraqis under U.S. occupation. It strikes at the very core of the masculinity of war.

How do we feminists speak of what soldiers do every day, regularly, as a matter of fact in combat, where the masculinity of war is most alive? Or, like almost everyone else, do we speak of it at all? Americans have yet to come to terms with the unspeakable that happens in combat. When a massacre is exposed, such as Haditha, it is treated as the exception.

Haditha is one of the subjects I looked at in my latest book, Unmaking War, Remaking Women, published in 2011. While I was writing the book and bringing my feminism to look at what men actually do in combat and what they do to women who are in combat zones with them, something very familiar came into my field of vision, something I’ve called “blinding macho.” (While machismo is grammatically correct, it also has a Latin American ring to it, which is why I choose to use the word “macho.”) It is the same uncontrollable rage of male violence against women that women around the world experience in their private lives, homes, bedrooms and walking down the street…

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Frances Jetter Linocuts the Horrors of War
Frances Jetter creates linocuts with political subject matter, focusing on disarmament, labor rights, human rights, and weapons – which she finds especially intriguing and horrific. The artist believes that no armor can make people safe, and the fragility and mortality of human beings is at the center or her work

Jetter’s recent artist’s book, ” Cry Uncle,” is a graphic response to the inhumanity displayed at Abu Ghraib and other torture sites. It was exhibited in solo shows at New York University Medical Center’s Gallery, Parsons School of Design, and will be shown at the City College of New York.

To see a self-narrated audio slideshow of Frances Jetter’s fascinating art, click here.

The Latest in the Cafe

In these times of war, it’s important to remember the mythological figure of Cassandra, who represents the female anti-war voice that is trans-culturally ignored and ridiculed.

From “Understanding the Myth: Why Cassandra Must Not Be Silenced” by Laura A. Shamas:

Cassandra’s journey as an anti-war visionary who is ignored and belittled relates to the psychology of anti-war feminists today. When one sees, with certitude, a dark vision for the future, and then is ignored, or worse — dismissed or “cursed” as irrelevant, “anti-patriotic,” and powerless — what is the effect on the psyche? Patterns revealed in the Cassandra model suggest that after the shock of disbelief wears away, a numbing ambivalence sets in — a prelude to madness. Jungian analyst Laurie Layton Schapira writes of this tripartite psychological sequence — disbelief, ambivalence, madness — in her 1988 book The Cassandra Complex: Living With Disbelief. Schapira concludes with observations about society’s damnation of the Cassandra woman who “threaten[s] the conservative order. Thus she speaks treason…we shall continue to attack her for bearing bad tidings. We must be aware, however, that in many cases she bears true witness and neither she, nor we, can any longer afford to disbelieve. The Cassandra woman who escaped the curse of the patriarchal Apollo speaks for a new age. “

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More from the Cafe:

Afghan and Rwandan Women Entrepreneurs Seek Peace through Business

Trapped In The Story: Local Journalists Face Sexual Violence

Jeannette Rankin, Suffragist and Pacifist: She Speaks For Me

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