Presentation of Women Conscientious Objectors in Paraguay, 1995
On Wednesday, 9 August, a group of 11 women will publicly present themselves as CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS at 8.30am in front of the Human Rights Commission. In Paraguay there are already 8 women who have previously presented themselves as objectors, but this is the first group made up of only women. We would like to therefore express the motives behind our objection:
We object to military service which promotes a machista image. This image is of men as macho, strong, insensitive, who can deal with anything, the warrior, who is educated so as to deal with a tough life “outside of the home”. This is totally contrary to the image of women, who are considered weak, naïve, educated to serve in the home, and be the main source of support for the warrior. They are expected to simply serve men.
We object to the army as it is the armed branch of this system, which is based on all sorts of injustices in which a few hoard the wealth and exploit the great majority whilst ensuring that the majority remain living in poverty. We object to militarism, which impregnates all values in society, such as obedience in the face of creativity, arrogance towards others, chauvinism/machismo regarding relations between the sexes, violence as opposed to dialogue in conflict resolution, submission as opposed to responsibility and self-control, authoritarianism as opposed to freedom and liberty, etc…
In order to limit the increase of militarism, as women we need to be able to create new alternative social ways of thinking through participation in cultural, social and political spaces, which promote values such as mutual trust, solidarity, cooperation, etc. We need spaces in which decisions are made based on consensus, whereby self-criticism allows us to stop reproducing ways of thinking which involve any sort of marginalisation. We call for men to take into consideration their chauvinist-“machista” practices, roles and values which they impose on us. They should reflect on their behaviour and make adjustments where necessary. We want women to become aware of the discrimination which we suffer, and we will unite so as to demonstrate our strength and gain dignity as women in our society.
There is no possibility of real change in human and social relations without women participating in these changes. It is therefore necessary for women to participate in the antimilitarist struggle so as to be able to start creating, from now on, a just society so as to achieve freedom for women.
MUJERES ANTIMILITARISTAS — MOC
Thanks to Francesca Denley for translation from Spanish to English