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ideological poison of feminism spreads to Africa

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  • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
    The following article, attributed to Emily Wax of the Washington Post, appeared on page A28 of the Saturday, June 14, 2003 edition of The Arizona Republic.
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 14, 2003
      The following article, attributed to Emily Wax of the Washington Post,
      appeared on page A28 of the Saturday, June 14, 2003 edition of The Arizona
      Republic. Once again the siren song that family problems and gender
      equality can be solved within the framework of capitalism and imperialism
      is being sung, only this time it is being sung in Africa. Predictably
      the article criticizes the few African leaders who have been fighting
      imperialism and preparing the objective conditions for real liberation
      of the entire people, Robert Mugabe and Muammar Khaddafi. However bad male
      imperialist puppet rulers have been for African countries, it is foolish
      to believe that female imperialist puppet rulers would be any better.
      The experience of Margaret Thatcher and Golda Meir should show any who
      doubt that women can be just as vile imperialist rulers as men. The path
      to the liberation of African women is the path to the liberation of all
      Africans--smash imperialism!

      --Kevin Walsh


      Nairobi, Kenya--Her head held high and her body balancing six yellow
      containers--one atop her head, three on her back and two looped around her
      arms--Rachel Adhimabo glided over the mounds of fuming trash, along the rocky
      footpaths and through the labyrinth of metal shacks that make up her muddy
      slum neighbourhood. It's a two-hour journey to collect water for her family,
      and she makes it every day.

      Along the way, she and her friends chatted about a provocative suggestion
      that President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia made recently. He said a woman
      should take over his job when he leaves office.

      Adhimabo fantasized about the good she could do if she were elected president
      of Kenya. Like most African women, she's no stranger to hard work. She said
      she would love a chance to tackle tasks that the continent's powerful and
      often corrupt male presidents have failed at: providing water and
      electricity, jobs and sanitation, not to mention fighting corruption, AIDS,
      malaria, poverty and famine.

      No Time For Politics

      Then again, like most African women, she doesn't have much time for politics.

      "Women work so hard, too hard, in Africa," said Adhimabo, 39, her worn, thick
      hands swatting away flies.

      "You see, even though I want to, I don't have time to be a leader. Who would
      take care of the kitchen, do the tailoring, get the firewood, the water,
      dress the children, make them the porridge, scrub the rooms, roast the meats,
      build the house when it falls apart?"

      On a continent where the long list of jobs considered women's work seldom
      includes political leadership, the notion of a female president may seem
      surprising. Though women perform 80 percent of daily work, according to
      studies by African gender groups, in many countries they own little or
      nothing and face domestic violence, rape and sexual harassment on a daily

      But politicians and analysts say they see signs that an African woman could
      indeed be elected to a position of national leadership. (Africa's only female
      head of state, interim President Ruth Perry of Liberia, was appointed to her
      1996-97 term.) At the local, legislative and Cabinet levels, the role of
      African women in the traditionally patriarchal realm of politics has grown in
      numbers and significance over the past decade.

      Women hold 30 percent of the parliamentary seats in Mozambique, 29.8 percent
      in South Africa, 26 percent in Rwanda, 19 percent in Senegal and 24 percent
      in Uganda, according to the U.N. Development Program's 2002 report. In
      Uganda, there are 74 women in the 304-seat Parliament; in 1983, there were

      "I have not only hope that women are getting more powerful, but the experience
      that women in Africa are indeed doing it. And it is becoming more and more
      evident just how pronounced a turning point this period is," said Beatrice
      Kiraso, 41, who is in her second term in Uganda's Parliament. "We are just
      catching up with the rest of the world. But in Africa, the change is just so
      much more remarkable."

      Changes Are Widespread

      The political advances being made by African women are just one facet of a
      broader effort across the continent to change long-standing cultural
      practices, particularly as more and more rural people migrate to cities
      where Western customs are the norm. Women in African cities are marrying
      later, divorcing more and taking empowerment classes offered by Western aid

      In February, women from across africa, including the first ladies of Burkina
      Faso, Nigeria, Mali and Guinea, gathered in Ethiopia to denounce female
      genital mutilation. Women in Mali organized the first ceremonial burning
      of weapons as a protest against regional conflicts, a ritual that has become
      an annual event across Africa. In Ivory Coast, a group has formed to protest
      women having to carry heavy loads on their heads, saying it is bad for their
      bones. In Ghana, women are trying to gain political power through groups
      formed to raise money for female candidates.

      "The men haven't done a good job of running our countries," said Chipo Lungu,
      executive director of the Zambia Women's Lobby Group. "The list of corrupt,
      incompetent and just foolish male leaders is a long one."

      Lungu rapidly ticked off a list of men whose autocratic and often corrupt
      rule sent African states into decline: Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, whose
      rule has left the economy a shambles and politics in crisis; Libya's
      Moammar Gadhafi, at the helm since 1969; Mobutu Sese Seko, who became rich by
      plundering the country he named Zaire; and Daniel arap Moi, whose 24-year
      rule was marked by economic decline and rising corruption.

      Female activists acknowledge that some African women have abused positions of
      power, most recently Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, ex-wife of Nelson Mandela
      who many South Africans revere as "mother of the nation." A member
      of Parliament, she was sentenced in April to four years in prison for fraud
      and theft.

      More Taking A Stand

      But far more often, they say, qualified women are taking a stand and running
      for office.

      With their experience in the home and the community, women in politics tend
      to focus on issues such as crime, violence, AIDS, education and health,
      which most severely affect women and children.

      "Women hold the family together. They are the managers: They manage the
      farm, the house, the children, the water, the firewood," said Alicen
      Chelaite, Kenya's deputy assistant minister for gender, sports, culture and
      social services. "I think they will give more attention to these issues
      since they are the ones who will feel the real changes."

      For a woman like Adhimabo from the slums of Nairobi, the dream of being
      president pales before the reality of hauling water. Adhimabo said she would
      love to run for local office. But like many of Africa's mothers, or
      "Kenyan mamas" as they are warmly called, she is just too busy for politics.
    • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
      ... Dear Eric, If imperialism is not defeated, it is yet possible women may become presidents of many African countries. It is unlikely in the extreme,
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 15, 2003
        >Dear Kevin,
        >Such silliness. "Women work hard in Africa," working
        >people in Africa work hard, men and women. And the
        >west spent decades doing everything in its power to
        >destroy the leftist parties and regimes that might
        >have addressed themselves to really improving the lot
        >of women as a part of the working people of society.
        >Now that the left has been beaten down they parade
        >around as champions of women's rights as against men's
        >rights, I suppose, and that way attention to the
        >oppression of working men AND women can be deflected
        >towards silly coverage of wealthy women running for
        >public office under one pro-imperialist party label or
        >other. Women and men can battle each other, if they
        >want and the compradores and their imperial masters
        >reap the benefits.

        Dear Eric,

        If imperialism is not defeated, it is yet possible women
        may become presidents of many African countries. It
        is unlikely in the extreme, however, that these female
        presidents will be shantytown dwellers or peasants. Most
        likely Kenya's first woman president will be a business-
        woman or the wife of a prominent businessman or a
        lawyer or civil servant who has servants to do housework
        for her and therefore won't empathize as much with the
        plight of the peasants and shantytown dwellers. Will she
        be better than the men who have been presidents of Kenya?
        Probably she'll be no worse, but if imperialism still
        rules, she won't be better.


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