Interview with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on the Gender Issues Surrounding the Syrian Crisis

In an exclusive interview with InPEC, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees comments on the gendered environment that can confront women and children in a crisis situation.


By InPEC, 15th June, 2015

Abdulaziz: High Commissioner, thank you for talking with InPEC. The purpose of this interview is to highlight some of the gendered challenges facing some of the refugee women and children. We hope to hear your honest insights on how these challenges may be overcome, to help mitigate the suffering of the millions of people fleeing conflict zones.

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The Case for Kurdistan

 

In making the case for Kurdish independence, the author reviews the favorable prospects of the Kurdish state. He explains that “the West must support Kurdish independence to right the wrongs of the past and create stability in the Middle East.”


By Hawar Shawki, 22nd August, 2014

Straddling the borders where Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria converge in the Middle East, the Kurds constitute the largest number of people in the world without their own independent sovereign state. Long a suppressed minority, the wars against Saddam Hussein in 1991 and 2003 resulted in the creation of a semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the Federal Republic of Iraq. The KRG has inspired the Kurds elsewhere to seek cultural, social, and even political autonomy, if not independence. Kurdish history has seen many nationalist movements, but a fully independent sovereign state has yet to come to fruition and be recognised by the United Nations and other nation-states.

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Lifting the Curtain

This week marks the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the landmark decision by the US Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. Claire Beckenstein, a political consultant in Washington DC, looks at the political culture surrounding the issue to discuss how far American women have come and how far they still have to go.


By Claire Beckenstein, 22nd January, 2013

Abortion is an issue that evokes visceral responses from people at both ends of the spectrum.  This issue has the ability to divide a nation and separate a family.  It is so powerful that people will even kill in the name of the cause.  On the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, one could exhaust themselves for days thinking of the questions and assumptions around what America would be like without legalised abortion.  If we continue to fight the issues from our past we cannot move forward.  Therefore, it is best to focus on the present and note how monumental this decision has been for women and their health, especially to those women who view abortion as a choice, a freedom and as a right to take control of their future.

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‘Do We Get to Win This Time?’: Hollywood Rewrites ‘Nam

Who won the Vietnam War?  Who lost it?  These questions are barely touched up in films about the conflict.  Instead we see a very different picture: troops rallying together against adversity of poor leadership, difficult terrain and uncharacterised enemies.  Does this tell the real story of Vietnam?  Were class, race and gender equality the realities of 60s and 70s America?  No.

Popular culture played a key part in reconstructing the narratives of the Vietnam War for the United States of America.  It constitutes a unique form of memorial in which the reality is secondary to the story.  Stories frequently circulate stating that x per cent of children don’t know who Winston Churchill or Neil Armstrong were but what of the rewriting of history?  In these films South East Asia becomes a setting for a collection of films not so much about the history of the war as the re-assertion of American masculinity.

These manifestations carry greater cultural significance now as they reach mass audiences of younger generations who may have little prior knowledge of the war.  For instance, at the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial visitors frequently flock to take rubbings of one name in particular: John Rambo[i].  At the end of Rambo, the eponymous character asks his commander, ‘do we get to win this time?’  The commander responds, ‘this time, it’s up to you’.

by InPEC Contributor, 7th June, 2012


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