No Permission to Cross: Cypriot Women’s Dialogue across the Divide

Citation:

Hadjipavlou, Maria. 2006. “No Permission to Cross: Cypriot Women’s Dialogue across the Divide.” Gender, Place & Culture 13 (4): 329–51. doi:10.1080/09663690600808429.

Author: Maria Hadjipavlou

Abstract:

Much scholarly attention has been given to the study of the gendered aspect of ethno-national conflicts trying to understand the experiences of men and women in a conflict situation and to what extent these shape different types of intervention for peacemaking and peace-building. Are women's experiences of conflict different from men's? Do women have a different voice than the mainstream dominant discourses produced by patriarchal systems? Do women in conflict societies respond to militarism and the violation of human rights differently from men? Are women's needs for identity and peace different depending on which ethnic–religious group they belong to? Are their needs different from those of men? This article will try to answer the above questions focusing on a feminist understanding of conflict in Cyprus. The main contention put forward in the article is that gender is an important factor to take into account when conflict societies are engaging in peace processes. To this end, data are analysed from different inter-ethnic women's workshops in which the author was either a participant–observer, or a facilitator. This analysis of the data demonstrates that Greek and Turkish Cypriot women's voices and experiences are diverse and multiple. Both men and women are socialised in the same nationalist paradigms, a fact that can explain how in the initial phases of the dialogue processes both groups of women tended to reproduce official discourses. Their own experiences and differentiated voices began to emerge only after a gendered understanding of the conflict was introduced and trust and conflict resolution skills were instituted in the dialogue process. Drawing attention to the gradual shift of perspectives in the context of inter-ethnic workshops, the article concludes by arguing that women's dialogue can challenge the omnipotence of the state and may open up a new space whereby a diversity of perspectives and mutual trust can emerge.

Flying Away to the Other Side

Our birthplace is split in two and we

Are caught on barbed wire-hybrids

Turk and Greek alike

‘Is it December is it July

Choose your Side

Are you Turkish or Greek

There's no Purgatory in between’.

… … … … … … … … … … …

We cannot be from both Sides

Because we are two, one and the other

You refused to believe in

We are loneliness itself (M. Yashin 2000)

Topics: Civil Society, Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarism, Nationalism, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes Regions: Europe, Southern Europe Countries: Cyprus

Year: 2006

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