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War Is Not Over When It's Over: Women and the Consequences of Conflict

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From the renowned authority on domestic violence, a startlingly original inquiry into the aftermath of wars and their impact on the least visible victims: women In 2007, the International Rescue Committee, which brings relief to countries in the wake of war, wanted to understand what really happened to women in war zones. Answers came through the point and click of a digita From the renowned authority on domestic violence, a startlingly original inquiry into the aftermath of wars and their impact on the least visible victims: women In 2007, the International Rescue Committee, which brings relief to countries in the wake of war, wanted to understand what really happened to women in war zones. Answers came through the point and click of a digital camera. On behalf of the IRC, Ann Jones spent two years traveling through Africa, East Asia, and the Middle East, giving cameras to women who had no other means of telling the world what war had done to their lives. The photography project—which moved from Liberia to Syria and points in between—quickly broadened to encompass the full consequences of modern warfare for the most vulnerable. Even after the definitive moments of military victory, women and children remain blighted by injury and displacement and are the most affected by the destruction of communities and social institutions. And along with peace often comes worsening violence against women, both domestic and sexual. Dramatic and compelling, animated by the voices of brave and resourceful women, War Is Not Over When It's Over shines a powerful light on a phenomenon that has long been cast in shadow.


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From the renowned authority on domestic violence, a startlingly original inquiry into the aftermath of wars and their impact on the least visible victims: women In 2007, the International Rescue Committee, which brings relief to countries in the wake of war, wanted to understand what really happened to women in war zones. Answers came through the point and click of a digita From the renowned authority on domestic violence, a startlingly original inquiry into the aftermath of wars and their impact on the least visible victims: women In 2007, the International Rescue Committee, which brings relief to countries in the wake of war, wanted to understand what really happened to women in war zones. Answers came through the point and click of a digital camera. On behalf of the IRC, Ann Jones spent two years traveling through Africa, East Asia, and the Middle East, giving cameras to women who had no other means of telling the world what war had done to their lives. The photography project—which moved from Liberia to Syria and points in between—quickly broadened to encompass the full consequences of modern warfare for the most vulnerable. Even after the definitive moments of military victory, women and children remain blighted by injury and displacement and are the most affected by the destruction of communities and social institutions. And along with peace often comes worsening violence against women, both domestic and sexual. Dramatic and compelling, animated by the voices of brave and resourceful women, War Is Not Over When It's Over shines a powerful light on a phenomenon that has long been cast in shadow.

30 review for War Is Not Over When It's Over: Women and the Consequences of Conflict

  1. 5 out of 5

    Terence

    I quote some graphic excerpts in the review below. If you have a low threshold for such, skip the blockquotes. You’ve been warned. It is impossible for me to objectively review this book for the reason that I do not think it’s possible for any sane human being to justify war, violence, or any culture or tradition that denies a voice to half of our species if they read this book. (Or similar ones: From my own bookshelf I can list The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East and I quote some graphic excerpts in the review below. If you have a low threshold for such, skip the blockquotes. You’ve been warned. It is impossible for me to objectively review this book for the reason that I do not think it’s possible for any sane human being to justify war, violence, or any culture or tradition that denies a voice to half of our species if they read this book. (Or similar ones: From my own bookshelf I can list The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East and Vietnam at War, and there are more.) When you read books like this, it’s also difficult to swallow what passes for reasoned discourse in our public sphere where you see the appalling arrogance, ruthlessness and ignorance of our governing classes (who are only too happy to keep the hoi polloi equally arrogant, ruthless and clueless). In War Is Not Over When It’s Over, Ann Jones argues that war is only the most visible face of violence and that its consequences destroy lives well after any peace accords have been signed and all the politicians have gone home. Even when it’s over, war ingrains the habits of violence and dehumanization, which leak over into civil life. Jones doesn’t address the issue in relation to the U.S. but you can easily find stories about increasing domestic violence and rape perpetrated by returning veterans or by soldiers in the field. The origins of this book come out of Jones’ work with the UN and the International Red Cross (IRC) in their efforts to aide and protect refugees and the victims of the myriad wars afflicting our planet. Jones visited several countries where she organized groups of women who would photographically document their lives. It wasn’t meant to be a witness to the atrocity of violence (though that was a part of the project) but the women were meant to document their communities’ needs and the positives in their lives. At the end of the projects, the women hosted an exhibition displaying their efforts. In every case, Jones found that the experience made its participants more confident. In some cases it helped bring about real change. For example, in one village in Côte d’Ivoire, its chief, Zatta, declared that the violence documented in the photos must end and began including women in his council (which he continued to do even after the UN mission left, according to Jones). Among the Burmese refugee camps along the Thai border, the women learned to document rape and abuse cases and have made some progress in having offenders prosecuted. Both examples point up to the forces of inertia and tradition women struggle against. Everywhere she went, Jones faced societies that relegated women to second-class status and blamed their oppression on them (an attitude the enlightened West still falls prey to all too often). I’ve written enough – let a few representative excerpts speak for themselves now: From Sierra Leone: “Official reports document appalling crimes: fathers forced to rape their own daughters; brothers forced to rape their sisters; boy soldiers who gang-rape old women, then chop off their arms; pregnant women eviscerated alive and the fetus snatched from the womb to satisfy soldiers’ bet on its sex. A brother is hacked to death and eviscerated; his heart and liver are placed in the hands of his eighteen-year-old sister, who is commanded to eat them. She refuses. She is told that her two children and her sister have been abducted. She's taken to the place where her sister and two other women are held. She sees them murdered. Their heads are placed in her lap. Such crimes deliberately violate primal taboos; they aim to crush not only the individual victims but also those who physically survive the violence. They are meant to destroy a way of life and the values that inform it. Yet the individual victims are important in their own right, and in most cases they are women and children.” (pp. 96-7) From Congo: “Charlotte had become a leader in CFK, working on the cases of young girls who had recently been raped, not by militiamen but by civilians right there in Kamanyola. A twelve-year-old girl was raped by her teacher. A nine-year-old was raped by a young boy. A seven-year-old was raped by a middle-aged man. An eleven-year-old was raped by her father. A seven-year-old was raped by her pastor. Charlotte was one of the women who visited the parents, persuaded them not to compromise, and helped them take their child’s case to court. But the rape of these young girls by civilians – by teachers, pastors, fathers – this was something new in the community, since the war, and the women of CFK were struggling to understand it. Later I told Charlotte and others about the way the habits of war carry over into peacetime, the way the habits of soldiers are taken up by civilians. I told them about the civilian rapes of little girls in Liberia, snatched even from church, and in Sierra Leone. Unknown before the war, civilian rapists and child rape in Kamanyola – like gang rape – were becoming normal.” (pp. 146-7) And two examples from our “glorious liberation” of Iraq: “The violence done by ordinary men to other ordinary men like Othman and Sayed destroys the victims. Men told me of being kidnapped as teenagers, beaten, confined without food or water, and coerced to provide sexual gratification to their captors. They spoke without apparent feeling, having retreated behind some psychic barrier where safety lay. Although most men won’t tell - `A raped man is not a man,’ one said – UNHCR in Amman had recorded nearly three hundred cases of sexual violence against men. Captivity and torture of men in Iraq always seemed to have about it this peculiar quality of homoerotic sadism, the effluence of a culture that adores men far more than women yet sets them officially out of reach.” (p. 215) “Mona was attacked in her Baghdad home by a gang of men in black who broke down the door at four o’clock in the morning. They dragged her about by her hair and slapped her around, demanding to know where her husband was. She told them the truth, that he had fled to Lebanon for fear of kidnapping. She said she had stayed behind so that her children could finish school…. They told her to write down the names of people in the neighborhood and whether they were Sunni or Shia…. She refused. They broke her arm, they ripped off her nightclothes, they twisted her broken arm behind her back, and they raped her. She begged for mercy, saying, `I am Muslim, like you.’ One of them said, `You are a Sunni infidel. If you were a Muslim you would not let your daughter do gymnastics.’… `They raped my sister, too,’ she said, gesturing toward the corner where a skeletal figure lay on the floor, staring at us with vacant eyes. `She was an invalid; she couldn’t use her legs. The rape finished her. All those men. Now she just lies on her mat and pisses herself.’ That night, Mona feared for her children, but after the men left the house, the two little boys crept out of the cupboards, and she found her daughter on the roof, hiding in the water tank. She phoned her husband, and he blamed her. A year later, long after her brother helped her move the family to Damascus, her husband came to join her. He raped her too, and she became pregnant, but before long he beat her so badly that she miscarried. He left again for Lebanon and sent notice of their divorce. Her daughter was not able to finish school.” (pp. 223-4) Jones also points out the iniquities and hypocrisy of the U.S. government. In Iraq we’ve (the U.S.) managed to refuse a significant number of refugees by the simple expedient of accusing them of violating the PATRIOT Act: “Families that had redeemed relatives from kidnappers were excluded on the grounds that paying ransom amounted to providing `material support’ to terrorists…” (p. 232). Refugees in Jordan get more aid than those “fortunate” enough to reach the U.S., and many of those advise their relatives still in Iraq to reject the U.S. if they can. When you’ve come to the end of a book like this, the inevitable question is, “What can I do?” It’s a depressing situation, and it seems intractable. On my part, inadequate as it may be, the IRC has joined the list of charities I support. It’s amazing what they manage to accomplish in the face of misogynistic tradition and political indifference. And I’m going to pester my representatives to stop frakking around with our obligations under the UN and international law, and to support family planning even if it does include (gasp!) abortion counseling. (I’m fortunate in that all my reps are Democratic women so I hold out the hope that they might listen – an admittedly faint one, I’ll grant you.) There are a few flaws in the book that, I believe, weaken its impact (and make it a 3- rather than a 4-star on my shelves): There’s a certain lack of passion or connection in the first few chapters that only begins to lift when we reach Congo and makes the second half more intense and memorable. Perhaps Jones had a more personal interest invested in these later venues. Whatever the case, the greater passion she’s capable of while still maintaining the necessary distance makes me want to see what she’s written about her experience in Afghanistan – Kabul in Winter: Life Without Peace in Afghanistan. Not enough photos. I don’t mean that I wanted to see photos of torture or rape victims but I did want to see more evidence of the conditions these people endure and of the good things they were able to find in their lives. I wish there was a section dedicated to resources and sources. They are there but buried in the Notes section. These are decidedly minor quibbles and certainly shouldn’t deter you from reading this important witness to the atrocity of violence.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Linda Robinson

    Wars of recent memory and ongoing: Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Burma, Darfur, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, East Timor, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Georgia, Salvador, Nicaragua, Columbia. Ann Jones, volunteering with the International Rescue Committee, seeking to understand what women in post-conflict zones need, connected with women in Africa, East Wars of recent memory and ongoing: Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Burma, Darfur, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, East Timor, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kosovo, Croatia, Bosnia, Chechnya, Georgia, Salvador, Nicaragua, Columbia. Ann Jones, volunteering with the International Rescue Committee, seeking to understand what women in post-conflict zones need, connected with women in Africa, East Asia and the Middle East, giving cameras to women who had no voice, no means to convey what war had done to their lives. Civilians die in these wars far more than soldiers. Even when supposed peace comes, the violence comes home to the women and children who survived. Astoundingly brave women learned to work the cameras, took pictures and told their stories. When cameras couldn't be provided, the women drew their stories. "See, Shoot, Shout." In camps in Thailand, Karenni refuge women took pictures to show what a happy family looked like. There are photos in the book the women took, photographs that made their way to the UN Assembly Hall in exhibition. Ann Jones has made the ending of violence against women and children her life's work. She is a champion, an awesome voice for the powerless who know what peace means, who work in community and risk their lives to get it.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

    This book was so difficult to read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    This book raises the neglected issue behind violence against women throughout the world: warfare. My only qualm with the book, so far, is that it immediately comes off as almost a propagandist tool for the IRC. This is not to discredit the great work that the IRC does for refugees around the world, but Jones could definitely do without the advertisement she splays out throughout her writing. Otherwise, it's a great read and does a wonderful job of explaining the the root (or as closely as possib This book raises the neglected issue behind violence against women throughout the world: warfare. My only qualm with the book, so far, is that it immediately comes off as almost a propagandist tool for the IRC. This is not to discredit the great work that the IRC does for refugees around the world, but Jones could definitely do without the advertisement she splays out throughout her writing. Otherwise, it's a great read and does a wonderful job of explaining the the root (or as closely as possible) of domestic violence in various countries, and how it has grown or diminished over time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    David Gilani

    Horrifically chilling. Ann Jones has written a brilliant book here that pulls together the right balance of data and individual stories to clearly paint the picture of how damaged society can be post-war. There are chapters and passages that left me just feeling so... empty(?) for the hope of humanity. It's neatly structured into different chapters based on the different countries that Ann has worked in and the main challenge / theme of that nation following on from a recent or ongoing conflict. Horrifically chilling. Ann Jones has written a brilliant book here that pulls together the right balance of data and individual stories to clearly paint the picture of how damaged society can be post-war. There are chapters and passages that left me just feeling so... empty(?) for the hope of humanity. It's neatly structured into different chapters based on the different countries that Ann has worked in and the main challenge / theme of that nation following on from a recent or ongoing conflict. Her work on helping local woman to speak for themselves using the power of photography was a great theme that ran throughout and also provided an opportunity to share images from these women's lives too .

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brian Carrigan

    this violence against women and girls must stop, great coverage by Ann Jones

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jessie

    "We carried out the photo project to see what ordinary women think about in the aftermath of war, and we found blueprints for peace." Author Ann Jones traveled to some war ravaged countries who are still experiencing extreme violence in the aftermath of war. In this book she travels to Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Thailand (Burmese Refugees), and the Middle East where Iraqi Refugees have spilled into Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. She and her group gives dig "We carried out the photo project to see what ordinary women think about in the aftermath of war, and we found blueprints for peace." Author Ann Jones traveled to some war ravaged countries who are still experiencing extreme violence in the aftermath of war. In this book she travels to Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Thailand (Burmese Refugees), and the Middle East where Iraqi Refugees have spilled into Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. She and her group gives digital cameras to women and have them take pictures of the problems they are enduring. This is such a heartbreaking book about the violence women and children are enduring throughout the world. She believes peace starts with women and that they should be a part of the peacemaking process after war.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Phelps

    I have a soft spot for the subject matter, particularly as her project mirrors what I did for my Masters project in West Africa. It's obviously written for a pretty wide audience with the idea of influencing/moving the international population. And I found her seemingly fervent defense of the UN and the power of its resolutions puzzling in comparison to her work's focus on grassroots participatory action--seemed to be a recognition that only attitude change within communities is effective. Howev I have a soft spot for the subject matter, particularly as her project mirrors what I did for my Masters project in West Africa. It's obviously written for a pretty wide audience with the idea of influencing/moving the international population. And I found her seemingly fervent defense of the UN and the power of its resolutions puzzling in comparison to her work's focus on grassroots participatory action--seemed to be a recognition that only attitude change within communities is effective. However, again I love the topic, she gave good background on the selected conflicts, and I appreciate her work.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    This book gives a great introduction to the history of wars in Africa, as well as Burmese refugees in Thailand and first hand accounts of the impact of the Iraq war. Using a mixture of history and personal accounts, it opened my eyes to how war time re-socializes a community. And with that, understanding that the outcome of war is much more impactful than I realized. For example, if rape becomes a new normal during war, it will carry on after the war is done as well. Worth reading...even if you o This book gives a great introduction to the history of wars in Africa, as well as Burmese refugees in Thailand and first hand accounts of the impact of the Iraq war. Using a mixture of history and personal accounts, it opened my eyes to how war time re-socializes a community. And with that, understanding that the outcome of war is much more impactful than I realized. For example, if rape becomes a new normal during war, it will carry on after the war is done as well. Worth reading...even if you only choose one or two chapters based on your interest level in the different countries.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Auckerman

    Another DEAD ON book from a great reporter. Every person in the world should read this book or have it read to them and those that don't get it be castrated. I would be happy to manage this project pro bono. Women in America fought for rights in the 70s in the US and were never able to engage black women in the US. Most of us considered them "other" and dropped the ball, not ever moving forward to what is going on around the world. This book is good wake up call Another DEAD ON book from a great reporter. Every person in the world should read this book or have it read to them and those that don't get it be castrated. I would be happy to manage this project pro bono. Women in America fought for rights in the 70s in the US and were never able to engage black women in the US. Most of us considered them "other" and dropped the ball, not ever moving forward to what is going on around the world. This book is good wake up call

  11. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Extremely powerful book, and well worth the read, though at times, reading about the atrocities described in the book left me in physical and mental anguish. I was expecting it to be more academic, and not so much of a retelling of Ann Jones' experiences doing the Global Crescendo Project, but the impact of the stories she recounts and the project itself ends up being extremely powerful. I give it 4 stars worth of gut-wrenching, eye-opening impact. Extremely powerful book, and well worth the read, though at times, reading about the atrocities described in the book left me in physical and mental anguish. I was expecting it to be more academic, and not so much of a retelling of Ann Jones' experiences doing the Global Crescendo Project, but the impact of the stories she recounts and the project itself ends up being extremely powerful. I give it 4 stars worth of gut-wrenching, eye-opening impact.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    This book didn't really tell me anything I didn't know, but it was an interesting first hand account of what happens after war is supposedly over. Especially to the women and children who are just trying to cook and clean and educate. It was interesting because the author was extremely biased, but I agreed with her. This book didn't really tell me anything I didn't know, but it was an interesting first hand account of what happens after war is supposedly over. Especially to the women and children who are just trying to cook and clean and educate. It was interesting because the author was extremely biased, but I agreed with her.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This book was a bit difficult to read at times because of the disturbing nature of the content. That being said, I think it is important to learn about the treatment of women worldwide. The conditions under which many women are forced to live are simply appalling. It really makes one grateful for the great country we live in and the rights granted to us.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anne Bradley

    This book messed me up. I am pondering blogging about it for real, but here is a quote that might serve as one example: "'....their lives are so difficult and so sad. I can't help feeling depressed.' 'You should feel depressed," she said. 'Your country did this.'" This book messed me up. I am pondering blogging about it for real, but here is a quote that might serve as one example: "'....their lives are so difficult and so sad. I can't help feeling depressed.' 'You should feel depressed," she said. 'Your country did this.'"

  15. 5 out of 5

    Greynomad

    It is so depressing reading this book when you learn of the violence against women. And will it ever change not in my life time……..I just can not understand why men have to take their frustrations out against women and children. Most likely as they will not strike back….

  16. 4 out of 5

    Molly Bear

    A fantastic read! Well organized and and hauntingly captivating. Jones does an excellent job weaving bits of history and her own experiences into the book, whilst respecting and allowing the women's stories from the photo projects to carry the bulk of the narrative. A fantastic read! Well organized and and hauntingly captivating. Jones does an excellent job weaving bits of history and her own experiences into the book, whilst respecting and allowing the women's stories from the photo projects to carry the bulk of the narrative.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Abdul Saboor

    I m really interested to read this book

  18. 4 out of 5

    madeline

    read bits and pieces of this for FST.... i had difficulty stomaching the horrific realities and striking pain. but moving. oh this text was so moving.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shandy Potes mangra

    Loved its format. Very informative about consequences of war on women and family health. Interested in reading similar books by the same author

  20. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    I learned so much while reading this book while gaining an appreciation for the work of IRC. I will be looking into more of her books.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Steph Sestito

    Thought-provoking and honest about often overlooked post conflict problems. Highly recommended for anyone interested in development or social justice.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Summer

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brittney Noelle

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sue

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Davis

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tobi

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

  28. 4 out of 5

    Liv CG

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brian

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fizzy Moslim

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