Nina Somera

  • Contested Torch

    by Nina Somera

    clip0209A beacon of light was lost, it seems with a death of an erstwhile feminist. Like many who were frustrated with gatekeepers in the country, she found and nurtured a space for herself elsewhere. And with her substance and persistence, her voice echoed back, so strong that she just could not be missed.

    Rare is such a person that after her death, her protege could only sigh, "we suddenly need to grow up fast." While she groomed maybe one or two younger women - defended even against her contemporaries, she was generous in supporting the rest of the younger women --- both young in age and in the movements.

  • The Philippine RH Bill: A Chance for Reproductive Justice in the Region

    by Nina Somera

    The Philippine Congress is set to vote on the reproductive health bill. As in the last 16 years, the day can render the bill as a political threat due to the enigmatic but non-existent "Catholic vote" and therefore dispose it as just another pile of papers. But Congress can also make history by breaking free from a modern frailocracy, acknowledging poverty from the faces and bodies who endure it, and therefore making sense of the democracy. More importantly, it can make a difference in the region as it gives reproductive justice a chance to inform governance.

  • Cracks On a Cauldron of Cantons: The Chinese Question in Southeast Asia

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    Cracks On a Cauldron of Cantons: The Chinese Question in Southeast Asia

    The possibility of forming national communities had been initially welcomed after centuries of living under colonial rule. But contrary to its promise of inverting the restrictive and oppressive mechanisms that the colonial powers had instituted, the new national communities instead have perpetrated the same principles of inclusion and exclusion, resulting in the communities’ both cohesion and fragility.

    Among the groups which have often been marginalised in the design and implementation of national communities (held together by equally suspect concepts of national identiy) are the ethnic minorities who have thrived by negotiating the spaces between the colonising powers and the colonised indigenous majority. Their survival has been almost unproblematic for the ambiguity of their presence enabled them to reap various resources without being stymied by the colonial authorities in the same way that the latter Among subjected the indigenous majority to a myriad of conditions.

  • Of Women, Wisdom and the World

    PDF version Of Women, Wisdom and the World

    One of the leading feminists from the South, Kamla Bhasin shared her thoughts about fundamentalisms, Obama, the United Nations, the World Social Forum, feminism and much more. Unperturbed by a plane to catch and a sore throat, the woman was as inspiring as ever, pointing out the hope that we all have to live for.

    kamla_bhasinHow would you assess religious fundamentalisms, particularly their impact on women’s citizenship, identities and bodies?

    The first thing I want to say is that we are talking of all religions, not just Islam which most people focus on these days. Christian fundamentalism, Hindu fundamentalism and Muslim fundamentalism are all brothers in arms and they all conspire to keep women down. I also believe that all these modern religions are patriarchal in nature. But they all started [with the goal] of improving human life, social relations among people, creating certain rules for human beings to follow. They started with a very good purpose but they were also started by people in power.

  • Burma: Badly Battered but Believing

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    Burma: Badly Battered but Believing

    Long-time free Burma campaigner Debbie Stothard talks about the fear, suffering and frustration of the Burmese people who have endured the excesses of the junta regime. She tells us how Burmese women and their communities remain courageous and hopeful for better days, for freedom.

  • Of Women, Wisdom and the World: An Interview with Kamla Bhasin

    SPECIAL FEATURE

    by Nina Somera

    In this interview, one of the leading feminists from the South, Kamla Bhasin shared her thoughts about fundamentalisms, United States’ intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan and its impact on women, the United Nations, the World Social Forum, feminism and much more.

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