lila abu lughod

I used to feel torn when I received the e-mail petitions circulating for the last few years in defense of Afghan women under the Taliban, I was not sympathetic to the dogmatism of the Taliban; I do not support the oppression of women, But the provenance of the campaign worried me, I do not usually find myself in political company with the likes of Hollywood celebrities, I had never received a petition from such women defending the right of Palestinian women to safety from Israeli bombing or daily harassment at check-points, asking the United States to reconsider its support for a government that had dispossessed them, closed them out from work and citizenship rights, refused them the most basic freedoms. Maybe some of these same people might be signing petitions to save African women from genital cutting, or Indian women from dowry deaths,However, I do not think that it would be as easy to mobilize so many of these American and European women if it were not a case of Muslim men oppressing Muslim women—women of cover for whom they can feel sorry and in relation to whom they can feel smugly superior.
—  Lila Abu-Lughod, Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving?
Do Muslim Women Really Need Saving? Anthropological Reflections on Cultural Relativism and Its Others

Finding this useful as I develop an article about the limitations of liberal feminism in Nursing.

“I do not know how many feminists who felt good about saving Afghan women from the Taliban are also asking for a global redistribution of wealth or contemplating sacrificing their own consumption radically so that African or Afghan women could have some chance of having what I do believe should be a universal human right—the right to freedom from the structural violence of global inequality and from the ravages of war, the everyday rights of having enough to eat, having homes for their families in which to live and thrive, having ways to make decent livings so their children can grow, and having the strength and security to work out, within their communities and with what- ever alliances they want, how to live a good life, which might very well include changing the ways those communities are organized”

Lila Abu Lughod