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BOMBS AND IDEALS By Cathrine Holst
THE SPRING issue of the magazine Ms
came an article with title “Coalition of Hope written by
Brown. This article celebrated
the fall of the Taliban-regime in
THE HORROR was over. The future seemed bright, in the eyes of the Ms’
reporter. The transition government, led by the
SOMETHING HAPPENED that does not happen often. The native struck back.
time it was not a book salesman from
ACTIVISTS fought against women’s oppression and violations of
human rights for
25 years. They bitterly fought the Taliban – risking their lives
“But also against those who ruled
FEMINISTS are obviously disturbed with Western feminists’
hypocrisy; with how easily Western feminists adopt their struggles to
powers’ national security strategies”, with their
light-heartedness in relation
to war horrors. Nobody knows how many died during the USA-led war in
the airplanes in the sky and they do not know if they will receive
help-packages or if they will be bombed. With which right do we forget
anxiety? writes Drucilla Cornell, philosopher of law and literature in
her book Defending Ideals, War, Democracy and
A lot can go wrong when we “defend ideals”, she concludes.
The traps connected
to idealism are many, but Cornell is idealist just like many of us
“Despite all our mistakes we continue to defend ideals, freedom,
peace”, while “we contest their meaning”. What else
should we do?
ABOUT A “complex and nuanced idealism” Cornell finds in the
philosophy of Marx
and Adorno, Kant and Rawls, the Indian Gayatri Spivak, and the Italian
Agamben. She finds inspiration in literature, in daily life.
DWELLS a lot on Ms. vs. RAWA. The controversy can teach us
about how difficult it is to be idealist without getting lost. A lot of
feminists, possibly the “majority” went from one trap of
idealism into another
SHE MADE A
MISTAKE when she believed that everyone who spoke her language shared
– when she believed that all those who spoke about women’s
rights were feminists.
She made a mistake when she assumed that freedom, peace and feminism
Western ideals, exclusively – that the civilisation had to be
the outside while Afghan feminists for years have fought and sacrificed
themselves for freedom and peace – amongst others even against a
supported by the West.
SHE MADE A
MISTAKE when she idealised herself, rather than her ideals; the Western
form rather than the universal morality. And she failed when she said
war promoted the highest of goals – human rights, women’s
liberation, but did
not care enough to check whether this was really the case.
have to try again, the art of the impossible, to fight for ideals
stepping on them, for freedom that does not cost someone else their
for a peace that does not cost someone else their peace.
IF WE GIVE UP on idealism, we give in to the “right of the strongest” Cornell writes. We let might become right. Someone profits from that, and they are not the powerless ones.
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