Im Aquarium

Im Aquarium

Samstag, 23. Juni 2018

Gender Empathy Gap Day


With this article I would like to launch the International Gender Empathy Gap Day for which there can be no better symbolic date than 11 July.

On 11 July 1995, after three years of siege, fanatical Serbs overrun the Bosnian city of Srebrenica and murdered some eight thousand boys and men during the following days. The UN safe area, into which countless people had fled, was handed over without a fight by the UN observers. The Serbs separated male and female: Women and children were taken off in buses and released between the fronts in no-man's-land, the men were executed and buried. UN observers were involved in the illegal deportation of more than three hundred men, knowing what was ahead of them.

Two years before the massacre, the UN had already evacuated women, children, the elderly and the sick from the besieged city, while denying men access to the convoys, even though everyone knew that the men were particularly vulnerable, and even though the declared aim was to provide aid "on the basis of an assessment of needs and vulnerability as well as risks to which [civilians] are exposed".

Four years after the fall of Srebrenica, despite all these experiences, the UN decided that "civilians, in particular women and children, have the right to receive humanitarian assistance".

The media had made the male victims invisible, as is customary in such cases. Usually by not mentioning them in the first place, and if it could not be avoided, by ignoring their sex and speaking of "people" or "victims". Or with sentences like this one about the excavation of the bodies of 251 people killed at that time: "The majority of the victims, including 12 women and 5 children, were executed by Bosnian Serb troops.” Because the 93 percent of men murdered deserve no special mention. As political scientist Adam Jones, co-founder of Gendercide Watch, rightly says: The formula "including women" means nothing more than the exclusion of men.

The events regarding Srebrenica are no exception, but a widespread reality in a world that still denies men and boys the simplest empathy. #killallmen, "Mimimi" and "I bathe in male tears" are the everyday expression of this. While #blacklivesmatter, men's lives are meaningless. #bringbackourgirls arouses global solidarity, but no one cares about abducted or abused boys or those who are forced to be child-soldiers.

International aid organisations such as UNICEF take it for granted that children have to be evacuated with their mothers in escape situations, while the father apparently is not important. And this, although it is known that the safety of fathers and husbands could have effects beneficial to women and children: "If you want to help women, help men," anthropologist Barbara Harrell-Bond sums up this fact.

I therefore call on all people who believe in the indivisibility of human rights and who have retained their empathy to remind the world every year on 11 July about men's right to physical and psychological integrity and to draw attention to double standards in this respect in blogs, articles and reader’s letters, with actions, video experiments and whatever else your imagination dreams up.



PS: If you publish an article about the Gender Empathy Gap Day and send me a link, I will link it under my own article on 11. July.

Note: For reasons of objectivication I slightly changed this article on 1 July 2018.


Sources:
R. Charli Carpenter: „Innocent Women and Children“ (Ashgate Publishing Limited, Hampshire / GB and Burlington / USA 2006)
http://adamjones.freeservers.com/effacing.htm
https://www.avoiceformen.com/men/srebrenica/

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