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March 9, 2005

Women, Terror, Religion, Democracy: An Interactive Dialogue (Part 2)

(Continued from: Women, Terror, Religion, Democracy: An Interactive Dialogue, part 1)

Aleya El Bindari Hammad
I just want to maybe now answer a few questions that were raised and say I have had difficulty in one of our speakers who separates violence and terrorism because somehow, when we talk of women being the first victims of violence, not necessarily terrorism. I wanted to share maybe a little; Mahnaz has raised the point of culture representations and so on. One of the things that has been made let us say during wars, or even I call what is happening in Sudan today terrorist acts, it is true that women are the first victims of such acts and I call them terrorist acts because they have nothing to do with the war and yet they’re paying the price because they’re women. Let me tell you while we pontificate, they keep on dying. The figures are rising and it’s unbelievable that we have stood by and done nothing about it.

Now, I come to the other side of the coin, and say are women recruited into terrorist gangs and I can say, yes they are. Increasingly so, because of desperation. Because of desperation. One of the reasons which we have, and I come from an area in the Middle East that has been in turmoil for so long, so long. I can act what my friend was saying there’s been humiliation, there’s been oppression, on and on and on. Every time we had the impression that we were raising our heads a little, bam, we would go back to our place. There’s a lot of rhetoric going on, a lot of double standards, some of us even risk our own lives in speaking up now, I have to say that in all thanks.

If you have been brought up in an environment where you’re being told day in and day out, one son is worth more than three daughters, or having a son is like having two eyes, having a daughter is like having one eye, how would you feel? Day in and day out, we’re brought up with that feeling. You should have been a boy, but you’re not a boy. So that how would you feel in seeing your mother being humiliated, by not only her husband but by anybody from the main line in her own family? Her own sons, the uncles, the you name it, have the right to do what they have to do. So obviously, they create such a feeling of desperation and despair that if there comes along somebody that comes and says, “why don’t you join our gang, we will do this, we will do that,” whatever the reason is, whether it’s a religious group or whatever group, you join and then you feel good that you’re able to strike.

In some of the pictures we’ve seen where prisoners have been humiliated by women. I was shocked as well because I could never imagine that women would do this as well, but yes, we do. This is where we have to be very careful. The root causes of some of these acts of continuous inequities that are allowed to raise in our society, that sometimes oppressive forces come in and then one of the most difficult parts, which I do not know how we can reconcile, is that during conflicts, men go ahead and fight, and women are left to fend for the children, to fend for the house, to fend for their communities. And when the peace negotiations they’re not there, they’re not allowed to be there. So we’re allowed to take care of situations during war, or I can say terrorism, because here when I look at the pictures of one or the other, they flee with their little belongings and their children on their back and they flee as though fleeing terror. But when it comes to negotiations, nobody has come and told these women, “please tell us, what is it you have need of in order to make your life easier?” How could you be entrusted during war and not during peace?

These anomalies in societies, these difficulties, these humiliating experiences day in and day out, or the cosmetics [...] or this, even the fact that the majority in this room are women, where are the men? This is a global issue. This is a societal issue. This is all our issue. It’s not just women’s issue. Women are in it together. We are both members of the society of a global community. But we have to now really try to work to alleviate conditions that perpetuate these situations of inequities of the world, the double standards, the rhetoric, and the lack of action while we try to define what it is or what it isn’t. There are injustices. Let’s do something about them.

I think this is what this conference is about. It’s about the time of rhetoric is over. We have to do something now. We should have done it yesterday, so let’s do it tomorrow. Thank you.

Michael Conroy
If you’ll permit me, we’ll begin the third portion of our section and I’m going to direct a few questions to the panelists, let them exchange ideas on some of these questions and then in a few moments we’ll turn to additional questions from you.

The subtext of the overall title of this summit is “Democracy for a Safer World.” Given the kinds of problems that you have been identifying in the links among women and violence and terror, what kind of democracy is likely to address the issues that you’ve been raising? What kinds of democracy, what elements of democracy might bring resolution to the issues that you’ve been talking about? Anyone? Mahnaz?

I don’t know, Michael, whether I would say what kind of democracy or whether I would say that emphasis on the democratic process. We have been hearing a lot about people having voted in my country of origin, Iran, people have been voting for a long time but they’re given three choices from among a set group of people who are the religious leaders, so you can choose your own mullah. Now whether that is democracy or not, is something that we need to talk about, or whether democracy where candidates are incognito, they don’t even dare mention who they are, whether that is necessarily what we want. Maybe right now there’s no choice, but eventually is that what we want?

I would think that we need to talk about the process, that is people learning to, first of all, deeply respect each other’s individual rights and communal rights, and people being able to tolerate difference, to tolerate diversity and to respect that and to live with it. As a friend of mine once said, this friend was from our part of the world, and she was addressing someone from a northern European country and she said the difference between our voting and yours is that when your candidate loses, he leaves. In our part of the world, when a candidate loses, de doesn’t necessarily leave. So the process is what we need to emphasize and the process has to be very inclusive, and tolerant, and based on consensus.

Michael Conroy

They are based on what you’re saying, I think there’s too much that has been linking democracy with elections. I think democracy is not just about elections. I would like to support what has just been said. I think democracy is whole set of empowerment that happens where you give people a voice, whether it’s from the village council to other councils, and so on.

I come from Egypt. If you go and talk about human rights to a peasant farmer in an Egyptian context, he won’t even know what you’re talking about. It doesn’t ring a bell. There’s a language we have introduced and are using that hasn’t pierced into the community life itself. I think it’s representational and it’s not just reading and writing that’s important. It’s really trying to give a voice to those who have not been heard before. And all voices.

If you come and ask a man in the rural areas, “do you need water?”, he’ll tell you no because he doesn’t fetch the water, he doesn’t even know what it’s about. But the women have to go on their feet and get the water. These are the type of issues. Every community has a 50-50 percent men and women, in most communities, and yet we do not involve them. We talk about youth, and where are the youth? Where are they? They’re not allowed, they have to go into the assembly line.

I think democracy is really the creation of institutional arrangements from the bottom up where they come and are allowed to share in the community-building and so on. All through the line up to the top, not just worry about opposition because very often the opposition party, all they care about is to knock down the guy that’s there. Not what reform program do they have or what political process do they have. Are they there? Some of these things that need to be done. So when we talk of democracy, it’s democratic principles that have to be instilled in the way of life. It’s an endogenous process that has to grow up and not [...].

Michael Conroy
Thank you. John?

John Raines
Usually when I think about democracy, I think about electoral processes inside of nations, and that’s becomingly increasingly ineffective in terms of how this world works. I would say the kinds of democracy that would remove some of the rage from those who find themselves oppressed under the arrangements of power would be to make more public and more political those decisions which are now largely privately made by international corporations. More and more, the on the ground realities of daily life –work, medicine, whatever, education–, are directly affected not simply by the people in the capital but by multinational corporations, which make decisions and have to make decisions, I guess, or at least think they have to make decisions, that are driven by profit rather than the cultivation of community. So democracy now has become an international affair.

Michael Conroy
Thank you very much.

Morena, we think about the case of El Salvador. You and your comrades struggled against oppression in El Salvador and some would tell us that El Salvador now has democracy. Do you find that the democracy that has come to El Salvador is moving to resolve the problems that you were struggling against?

Morena Herrera Argueta
Esta mañana hice una pregunta porque muchos de los problemas que generaron la guerra han quedado sin resolver y se han agudizado las desigualdades producto de una concentración más grande de la pobreza y de un sistema que expulsa a la gente del país. Tenemos a la tercera parte de la población emigrada en Estados Unidos, el país vive de [...] y casi todos se quieren ir. Yo creo que soy de las pocas que no me quiero ir de El Salvador, porque sueño que puede ser realidad la democracia.

Yo creo que la democracia debiera ser un proceso cada vez más inclusivo no sólo en relación con el sistema político, que debería de combinar formas representativas y participativas, sino que deberíamos de impulsar también [una] democracia social que implique la posibilidad de que mujeres y hombres podamos compartir tanto beneficios como responsabilidades sociales. Y eso significa que un rasgo de la democracia y un indicador de desarrollo debería de ser la inclusión de los hombres a las responsabilidades domésticas y familiares, pero asunción, no como ayuda sino como responsabilidad. Y también la democracia económica, unos mínimos, un sistema tributario que permita una redistribución para que las políticas públicas dejen de ser un papel bien redactado pero que no se conviertan en acciones, que aseguren los derechos.

Y creo que este proceso debería ver las religiones, promover el respeto a las religiones, como hechos privados, independientemente de cuáles sean. Pero no permitir que se conviertan en actos públicos que definen políticas públicas y que niegan, terminan negando los derechos de las personas como en el caso de ahora que, no sólo en los países musulmanes, en América Latina estamos viviendo un fundamentalismo religioso que niega los derechos sexuales y reproductivos. También creo que se trataría de limitar otro tipo de fundamentalismos, como el fundamentalismo económico que hace creer que por las leyes del mercado se asegura la vigencia de los derechos de las personas.

Michael Conroy
Thank you very much.

I want to carry on that theme of fundamentalism because several of you mentioned that. In order to put it in the context of a broader set of cultures, I would draw on the example of how fundamentalisms in the Unites States, especially among certain religions, condone or encourage, for example, the bombing of clinics where women go for reproductive rights.

Is terror necessarily associated with fundamentalisms? Or do fundamentalisms necessarily lead to terror? Or is there a distortion in fundamentalisms that produces terror? What’s the link between fundamentalisms and terror? Aleya?

Aleya El Bindari Hammad
Let me talk about the values and globalization here. I think when we talk of globalization we only talk of markets, products, and so on. I think what has happened is that they come through the Internet, there has been an imposition of certain elements of culture. I think for my own I talked about Western culture, I don’t think it’s Western culture, it’s just certain elements. You can say whether it is pornography, whether it is this, it is that. It has given room for those who resent that to pick it up and say, “is this what you want in your country?” Therefore use the [...] and oppressive forces, which are called fundamentalism. Any group can use religion, can use extremism and point to some of these anomalies as the reason for saying, “let’s keep out the west, they’re going to contaminate us, they’re going to spoil us, they’re going to go wild.” I have to say that some of the interpretations of fundamentalists has particularly been on women, whether it is [...] or others. Women have been the focus of what to do or not to do as a result of this oppressiveness.

I can say that when you talk of fundamentalists, extremists, they use the values that emanate from whatever they do on the Internet and all this, as a reason for striking out and saying, “you see, if you let go, this is what’s going to happen to your society. You’re going to be contaminated, go back to square one.” That is one.

The second is the rule of law, national and international, is not being applied equally. I think this is one of the most important aspects in terrorism, in democracy, and it’s the application of the rule of law. Somehow we have been forbidden; when you’re talking about purity it’s not followed. How can we have perpetrators of violence not brought to justice, and we let them go, and we know about it. I think these global failures are reflected at the national level and are reflected deep down in our communities. If you don’t have the rule of law, you have a corrupt system. [...] Where can you look up for some ideas, whether democratic ideas or other ideas? How can you talk of human rights if you do not have a judicial system that is good and can be fair.

I think these are some of the most extreme aspects that make terrorists and others, and those extremists act into our societies.

Michael Conroy
Huda, is fundamentalism a problem for the Palestinian and Israeli women with whom you work in Jerusalem Link?

Huda Imam
I’m thinking actually whether it is a problem or not for us precisely because fundamentalism is a problem for the society, it’s a problem for the global village, and I believe that it is a problem for themselves as well, which they don’t see. But again, I’m not an expert on fundamentalism and I’d rather not develop that further because, for example, if I would give an example of what I would feel that I’m threatened as a woman by any extremist movements. It would have been probably two years ago when I signed this appeal requesting recruits of suicide bombers to rethink that it start giving any good cause for our Palestinian cause.

Today if I feel that the extremist movement again or the opposition in Palestine –and we need an opposition but not a violent opposition–, if I feel that I have certain threats, it’s probably also because I have signed a very democratic initiative. And in democratic I mean to say that it doesn’t have to mean elections. But it is an initiative where we are asking every citizen of Palestine and of Israel to make a change, to tell people that you, every person, can make a change in deciding what his or her future and destiny can be, in terms of Palestine and Israel. This is where the idea of democracy is very much put into practice by us people.

Again if I feel I’m threatened by any fundamentalist movement within Palestine, it would be also because I have signed such a peace initiative which calls for the return of the refugees only to the Palestinian states according to 242 and that I’m not calling for the right of return to Palestine, which is Israel today, because it is one of the biggest obstacles for peace.

I’m sorry I have to come back every time to the Palestinian case but this is where I belong, and this is where today I feel that the whole region of the Middle East at least should very much be dealt with on the Palestinian cause and give the rights to those people who have the right, also to live in dignity, but also equality. This is where democracy should start.

Michael Conroy

Mahnaz Afkhami
Just very briefly, I think that fundamentalism, or extremism is another way of talking about it, provides the atmosphere that makes a good breeding ground for terrorism. In creating black and white situations, “us” and “others,” leaving no room for consensus-building, for compromise, for tolerance, and self-righteousness. These are the elements that fundamentalism has. Also [...] fast changing circumstances, all of this provides a breeding ground, along with other things, I assume, such as poverty, corruption, etc. This is one of the major atmospheres [?] of where terrorists can be drafted and that kind of meeting of [...] for being with asymmetric power relationships, which terrorism, fundamentalism, is a very good breeding ground for that.

Michael Conroy
Thank you. A brief comment from Morena and then we’ll take questions from the rest of you.

Yo solamente una cosa es que percibo como que el fundamentalismo fuera un problema de las sociedades de Oriente y yo creo que en Occidente hay mucho fundamentalismo. La Guerra Santa que se está librando contra ese terrorismo también internacional, ambiguo, también es una forma de fundamentalismo o algunos dictados, unas formas rígidas de interpretación de los textos bíblicos que mandan que las mujeres sólo tengamos que parir, estemos en la casa, y seamos cuidadoras sumisas de los demás, también es una idea fundamentalista que tiene predominio en Occidente. Simplemente quería decir eso, que no es un problema sólo de las mujeres en el Oriente Medio o en sociedades musulmanes; en estas sociedades también.

Michael Conroy
Questions, please?

Delegate from the floor
Isabel Blas, [...] soy escritora y periodista. Quería hacer una pequeña reflexión para llegar a una pregunta, muy breve, acerca del comentario de la señora Vargas de por qué esta mesa. Yo sí creo que la mujer padece muy especialmente terrorismo y si no, no hay más que ver las violaciones sistemáticas de niñas y de mujeres en la guerra, utilizándolas como armas de guerra. Eso es terrorismo. La pregunta es por tanto, por qué no se mete en la definición de terrorismo esas violaciones, insisto, sistemáticas y como arma de guerra generalizada, por todos los ejércitos y en todos los países.

Michael Conroy
Who would like to respond? Aleya?

Aleya El Bindari Hammad
I’d like to answer that systematically, [...] is considered now a crime against humanity. But the fact remains, because we are quibbling what is terrorism, what is not terrorism, it’s not been included as part of terrorism but it has been recognized as a crime against humanity. The problem is, what is to be done about it? This is the issue. Even if you recognize that it’s a crime against humanity and it’s being done, nothing has been done about it already or very little is being done about it, so I join you. That is what I said at the beginning. Are we talking of violence against women? During war and peace? Is it terrorism?

Because to me, recently we were only talking of terrorism and I’m sorry to say that this is the predominant thing. Terrorism equals Bin Laden, but terrorism does not only equal Bin Laden. It’s other things than Bin Laden. [...] Bin Laden has done a lot of harm but that’s not only what we’re talking about. It goes much deeper into that. It’s very easy to just put the blame on Bin Laden and not on our own societies or the world community, so I join you very much, in what you were saying.

Michael Conroy
Thank you. I have a question back here. Please.

Delegate from the floor
[…] fundamentalism of the market. It’s one of the things we’re suffering from in the Arab world that is hitting on young women going to the workplace and unfortunately most of the women’s movement is busy with the gender, empowerment agenda, to focus more on the economic suffering of the Arab world who are not suffering actually from religious problems with fundamentalism or Islam but also or more when they come to the market and find that the arrangements for women are not enough to empower them, not only as citizens, but also as mothers and how to combine the different roles that they are supposed to take over.

Also, I think that one of the problems we are facing in the Arab world is that because of the fundamentalisms that hit the Arab world in the 80’s and 90’s, especially in the country where we come from, of Aleya, from Egypt, the women’s movement took the side of the state because of the fear from this extremist discourse, essentially of women to be kept home and covered up fully, etc., to the extent that they did not put forward the agenda of human rights and democracy strong enough.

Unfortunately, some of the religions of the region are now using the presence of women in some of the public space areas to claim that they are doing some democratic transformation when actually we are not. I always say that if 50 percent of the problem in Egypt would be consisting of women, it would not still make it any democratic problem. So I think that we have to bring back this notion of how democracy relates to capitalism in other regions where we are hit badly in our economic structures by it; and how to make a differentiation between religion, fundamentalism, and extremisms. Like you said, not all extremism depends on fundamentalist religious ideas and vice versa. Where is this absent sort of space where religion can become a progressive force of democratization as if it does not exist? No, it does exist, in many countries it does, and also we have progressive losses regarding how to interpret our own religion.

Last remark: I have repeatedly noticed that in many cases, talking about monotheistic or patriarchal religions makes sort of a general remark about what we call monotheistical, Abrahamic faiths etc., where always there is a mention that God is a male. In my case, in Islam, God is neither a male or a female, so it is a little difference with Christians and they should not generalize its own notion of divinity. Thank you.

Michael Conroy
Thank you very much. I should have introduced Rosemary Vargas at the very beginning. Rosemary represents Globalitaria, the co-host of this particular panel. She has generously allowed me to moderate in order to make the point that this is a men’s issue as well. She’s going to be the rapporteur at the end of the session. She will summarize some of the main points. Rosemary wanted to make a comment as well.

Rosemary Vargas
Al comentario de la señora sobre la pregunta esta, lo único, por supuesto estando totalmente de acuerdo con el hecho de la violencia de género como arma de guerra, por supuesto también como señaló nuestra compañera de la mesa, afortunadamente ya se considera un crimen contra la humanidad. Sin embargo, quizás me equivoque, evidentemente, pero me parece importante hacer una distinción –aunque yo en el fondo de mi alma llamaría a todo aquello terrorismo–, hacer una distinción de lo que es el conflicto armado y el terrorismo tal y como se está catalogando en esta conferencia.

Porque si aceptamos la definición que se está utilizando, no necesariamente, simplemente por si aceptamos la definición que se está utilizando, que es violencia tipo 11 M de marzo en Madrid contra una población civil ajena, es una violencia masiva, con una finalidad mediática, ¿no? Si eso es lo que se está entendiendo por terrorismo, no es exactamente sinónimo del tema de la violencia de género, y la violencia como arma de guerra, estoy de acuerdo, no es exactamente sinónimo. Nosotros podemos ampliar la definición sin duda pero a veces al ampliar la definición no aclara el panorama sino [que] lo confunde. Esa violencia indiscriminada, aunque evidentemente la mujer sí es víctima de manera mayoritaria de la violencia, o sea sexual, es un arma de guerra, y el cuerpo de las mujeres es un campo de batalla y todo eso que ya sabemos, pero ¿es eso lo que entendemos por terrorismo? Una pregunta nada más.

Michael Conroy
We enter now into the closing portion of the panel. I promised each of the speakers they would have two minutes to make a closing statement coming back to these questions, or other items or issues that have been raised here. Why don’t we just begin with John and move down the panel this way. Two minutes please.

John Raines
I want to pick up on the issue of gender violence. I think it’s important to distinguish between terrorism and violence. When talking about violence and gender violence, I think it’s important to see that it’s two different kinds of violence. One is horizontal or violence of person against person, the violence we see, the violence we deplore, the violence that breaks laws, but there’s another kind of violence, a structural violence, it’s invisible violence, it’s not recognized as violence. It uses law rather than breaks law in order to impose the interests in power of the powerful upon those who have less power. I believe it is this second form of violence, structural violence, vertical violence, if the Latin American liberation theologians call it, that in fact produces more victims. Because oftentimes horizontal violence is victims of structural violence making victims of structural violence their victims. I’ll say that again: much of what we see as far as visible violence, physical violence is the result of invisible violence. It is victims of structural violence making victims of other victims of structural violence. Thank you.

Aleya El Bindari Hammad
I’d like to maybe end on a note that we’re talking of terror, I’d like to maybe refer to conflict and wars, whether they fit into terrorist acts or not is beside the point, I think that I come back to the issue of Sudan.

For me, very often I don’t know conflicts arise out of different reasons - I know we don’t have data with us. But what we do see is that the first victims to which humiliation happens are the women of whatever city or town. They’re tortured, they’re raped and they have nothing to do with the actual cause for which this violence or this conflict has arisen, but they pay the price. They and their children pay the price. Now whether we call this war or terror, I join you and say these forms during wars or conflict are unacceptable. I’m glad that there is here actually a friend, Ramamani, who is more in the rule of law and the mark, the rhetoric has gone on and women who do suffer have no way, no outlet to be able let the world react and save them.

For the time being, the machinery is very slow, it doesn’t act, they die, we do this but there is very little that is done to stop any inhumane treatment of women and children that are the main victims of terrorists or of wars and conflicts that hits them. So I don’t know what to call it but this is terror. When a woman hears there is going to be a conflict, terror grips them and they fear and they don’t know where to flee, out of their community, out of their country, where can they go to have some peace? There’s nowhere to go and we don’t help them to go anywhere either. We don’t save them. There is no way we can save these women day in and day out. Thank you.

Huda Imam
I think I would just resume what I would like to convey a message, whether it’s women or terror or religion or democracy, and say that today in Palestine the war is better, the checkpoint is better, and the political prisoners, justice, humiliation is also better and my fundamentalist today is very optimistic.

What I wanted to say is that the world is becoming such a small space. We are so interconnected. What happens in one part of the world so affects what happens in other parts of the world. It’s important that we reach a point where we learn from each other and share what we have learned.

I represent a network of women from 21 Muslim-majority countries and what we are coming to realize together is that there is so much that we share across the board as women and as activists, so much that is similar among us, that we should build on that rather than what is different. For instance, terms such as feminism, such as democracy, such as universality of human rights, these are terms that apply to everyone everywhere. Wherever I traveled throughout these years, no one has ever said that I don’t want this right because this is a Western right. Everyone wants all these rights, which are considered human universal rights. The idea is in the implementation of these rights, people have to have the possibility and the vehicles to express their own specificity but in generalities, everybody wants all of the rights that are considered human universal rights.

At the same time, we have to come to terms with the idea of secularism. Secularism is not atheism. Secularism has to be separated from the idea of godlessness. I’m a Muslim woman and I believe in my religion, but I deeply believe in secularism because in my country, like in a number of other countries across the world, there are people of different faiths living together. If they’re going to get together peacefully, there has to be a possibility of each one relating to their faith in ways that satisfy them without imposing that faith on others. In that sense I cannot imagine that you can have a truly democratic process and full participation and freedom of expression if you don’t have separation of faith, religion and state of life.

So these are ideas that we ought to separate from identity politics. We each want to have our own identity. We each want to have our own diversity. It is true; we ought to look at our situation holistically, intersectionally, race, poverty, the economic problems, all of these are part of the question, and not only religion. Religion can be a wonderful resource for growth and for freedom. There doesn’t have to be a choice between faith and freedom. If we keep these general concepts straight in our heads, and not bicker over who said it, where was it practiced. It is a time in our world where we really need to reach across, share, understand, and want for others what we want for ourselves. Thank you.

Morena Herrera Argueta
Bueno, de algunas intervenciones, creo encontrar la sugerencia de que si vamos a proponer que algunas formas de violencia contra las mujeres sean consideradas hechos terroristas contras las mujeres, o actos terroristas contra las mujeres, porque generan miedo, porque aunque sean un acto contra una, en realidad constituyen una amenaza y un mensaje para todas o porque son actos que profundizan la segregación y esa especie de apartheid entre mujeres y hombres que predomina en nuestras sociedades. Yo creo que si por esas razones podemos proponer eso, yo creo que deberíamos de proponer que se destinen similares recursos a atención y dedicación como se destina hoy a discutir y atender los problemas del terrorismo mundial para abordar, comprender, prevenir y sancionar las causas que generan este tipo de violencia. Y eso significa colocar toda la disposición, las voluntades políticas, y los recursos para transformar las relaciones de poder entre mujeres y hombres. Es decir, construir una sociedad donde no predomine, donde superemos las formas de relación patriarcales androcéntricas y el predominio masculino que se da en todas las esferas de la vida ¿verdad?

Michael Conroy
With the last three minutes that we have, Rosemary, would you like to mention some of the highlights of the panel that came out of your notes?

Rosemary Vargas
I’ll try to do my best.

My basic impression, I was thinking of this a minute ago, is that what this panel has done is enlarge or widen all these concepts. Fundamentally, I don’t know if you all agree.

Women –somebody said it, I think it was you and I think many members of the panel have discussed it– are definitely not only victims or also agents, in all the senses that you have pointed out.

The second word, terror, and in relation to some of the comments from the floor, not only in the strict sense of the word, but terror, that terror that you mention, that terror that women feel the moment they know there is a conflict. So the idea of terrorism has also been enlarged.

Religion, and I’m being very, very schematic, but religion of course several people answered and also pointed out that the fact that religion is not only a Muslim problem. There is a problem there and it’s being highlighted at this moment but it’s not only a Muslim problem, definitely not.

Then democracy, I think that’s another important thing, because in all of the comments, for instance, reaching across a minute ago the whole idea of democracy. You have just mentioned that, that they need to transform power relations. Then we come to install a truly inclusive one and to give proper resources to that system. The panel fundamentally also finds the picture of democracy narrower and wants to make it wider and where you get refers back to a comment made from the floor, and it relates to the whole issue of parity and to what we started saying here. We’re all basically women, etc. Women do not get to certain stages. The whole problem, we want a wider, more inclusive democracy.

So that’s the basic idea, I think we have thought that all of these concepts are narrow and we have tried to make them more inclusive.

Michael Conroy
Thank you very much.

Please join me in thanking all the panelists for their particularly insightful passionate comments in this panel.

With the collaboration ofSafe Democracy Foundation
Members of the Club de Madrid

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