“After War: the Backlash against Women”, Nina Wilén (Egmont, Belgium)

Many remember Laura Bush’s famous speech in 2001, following the 9/11 attacks and the subsequent war in Afghanistan, about how the fight against terrorism also was a fight for women’s rights and dignity. The speech was criticised for many things: for instrumentalising women’s rights and liberties to support a war, which clearly was not fought over those issues, for incarnating the ‘white saviour’ syndrome by pretending to save ‘brown women from brown men’, and for portraying Afghan – and therefore mostly Muslim – women as passive and in need of saving.

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