||[Feb. 21st, 2008|01:08 pm]
I feel much better about Italy and life this week. Some random things:|
1. Midterms. I am done! I have been really stressed out about them even though none of them were really that hard.
2. I got my Italy rail pass, and I'm leaving (probably tomorrow night?) for a week in Sicily, Naples, and Venice. Exciting!
3. Some people from couchsurfing are coming over to my apartment for dinner tonight. I am worried about being really awkward with them. I have tried inviting several people that I actually know to come over and eat with us, but the homestay people have dinner with their families on week nights, one person's family is visiting this week, one person has a date (who does that?), one person already had plans to see a movie with someone else...why doesn't anyone want to eat dinner with me?
4. Aparently the UN created an all-female peacekeeping unit to serve in Liberia, made up of women from India. The UN thinks they “are the right people at the right time to come here now,” apparently because “They are professional, skilled, capable, and they will be able to do the job just as well as their male counterparts are already doing on the ground if not better in some instances.”
The UN website does not say what Refugees International says, which is that this female unit might be better than their male counterpart because “The pattern of behavior of these peacekeepers [that is, the generally male troops who have the same hyper-masculine culture as the rest of the military], their attitudes, justification and sexual exploitation and abuse of younger girls has much in common with the activities of the so-called ‘sex-tourist.’”
By the way, a study in 2005, reported that about 90% of women in Liberia had been subjected to sexual abuse and violence. Also in 2005, a female president was elected as the first female head of state in Africa, with a mandate that highlighted the protection of women.
So, the UN is helping Liberia tackle issues of sexual violence by sending one group of non-western women of color to help another group of non-western women of color, with efforts that include reducing its own destructive "boys club" culture (even if they aren't publicizing that last part). Wow. I am kind of shocked.
p.s. diy blacksmithing!