cover image War Is Not Over When It's Over: Women Speak Out from the Ruins of War

War Is Not Over When It's Over: Women Speak Out from the Ruins of War

Ann Jones, Metropolitan, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9111-3

While hoping to document postwar violence against women in war-torn regions like Afghanistan, parts of Africa, and the Middle East, the International Relief Committee project unexpectedly provoked a loaded question about the injustice of their lives: "Why can't a man bathe a child?" With this question, and armed with IRC cameras, a group of African women started the dialogue in the hope of ending their abuse by and harsh subservience to men. A shy young girl in Sierra Leone elicits cheers from her schoolmates when she tells elders that teachers "should stop impregnating schoolgirls." Jones (Kabul in Winter) recounts her observations of the Global Crescendo Project in this concise travelogue praising women's fortitude in the direst of circumstances while decrying the continuing "post-conflict zone" of violence against women, including in the American-bombed ruins of Iraq, which cracks her sense of detachment. Underfunded and doubted in First and Third World countries, the project reveals the link between misplaced rage by depressed former soldiers and the women who suffer culturally sanctioned violence, while the U.N.'s antirape resolutions are ignored. In spite of the graphically grim material, Jones provides glimpses of hard-won triumphs, including separate bathing areas in Burmese refugee camps and the promise of peace for women by a thoughtful local chief. 33 b&w photos. (Sept.)