This paper examines the effect of the politics of militarization and how violent conflict and war like situations can completely silence the voices of a certain segment of the society and render their suffering “invisible” in both the local and global context. In researching this invisibility the hitherto unheard voices of Palestinian women and girls find articulation through a series of case studies. These voices cast light on the unprecedented levels of hegemonic military power that is used to-occupy land, demolish homes, and wage unequal wars between civilians and the state- in this case-the Israeli state. It reflects on how Feminist methodologies can engage in studying the effect of militarization and endless violence. It asks how such methodologies can be developed when violent transgressions, both local and global, work in a spiral and accumulative manner, and when localized contexts and global power politics change rapidly and unpredictably, leaving victims/survivors in a constant state of confusion.
The problem is that first my house was demolished and we all moved to live in the school. Then the school was demolished, and I do not know where we should move to and when. Why can’t my house be my house, my school be my school, and I live a normal life with an undemolished house and undemolished school?
-Hidaya, 15 years old
When they demolished my school, I felt that I lost my own home. Maybe the world can’t understand, but for Palestinian girls like me, the school is all we have. Girls in the world can go places, visit each other, find the books they want to read, organize field trips with their school and teachers, but Palestinian children have nothing. We the Palestinian girls feel that our schools are the only place we can meet friends, share books, meet, talk, play, sing, write, love… and now they demolished my school.
-Nora, 15 years old
When my house was demolished, the neighbors feared even coming out to help us. They feared fighting back with us, because they knew that they would be next, that they would end up losing their homes. The demolition of my home, the loss of my belonging, of my ability to gather my family under one roof and feel safe, disappeared in seconds, and no one wanted to look at us. They looked at the building. I mean the physical building, as if it is about the walls, the windows and the doors. People maybe felt sorry when they heard the noise during the demolition, but do you think anybody is capable of hearing the demolition of our hearts? Of our dreams? Of our future plans? I guess such voices are never heard. Do you think they even noticed my fear, my agony, my horror? No way. They (fear, agony, and horror) have no voice, no noise, and military occupation has no eyes, no morality, no consciousness, no God.
-Salwa, 28 years old
*The original article was published in spring 2010 in Peace Prints, The South Asian Journal of Peacebuilding.