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Nobody Can Imagine Our Longing

Edited by Yana Mintoff Bland
Addresses from the Association of Women
of the Mediterranean Region,
1996 Conference

-excerpted from the introduction
"During the cold war, it seemed that antagonistic systems were responsible for perpetuating the arms race, encouraging dictatorships, and increasing poverty in the Mediterranean--and indeed the world as a whole. But, post-cold war years have dispersed this smokescreen. Essentially it is the monopolization and militarization of natural resources and capital that now reveals its violent, patriarchal, impoverishing face; and its grimace is reflected in the perpetual frown of the woman refugee.

The militarists and the monopoly capitalists go on blaming the victims! They call us Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots; Bosnian Serbs, Bosnians and Bosnian Croats; they call us Jordanian Palestinians and Lebanese Palestinians, or they ignore us; they call us subversives or treat us as pliable pawns; they separate us from the sea that unites us, and they destroy that sea; they sell arms, and drugs, and prostitute our women, and they relentlessly exploit and afterwards ignore the poverty their greed perpetuates.

We ask you not to ignore the reality of present-day capitalism, led by ruthless multi-national syndicates and corrupted governments. We ask you to listen to the stories of the refugees and immigrants whose lives are being shattered, and whose fragmented societies make up the mosaic of the Mediterranean today. . . "

"This book is a valuable contribution to the understanding of Mediterranean Women."
Professor Elizabeth Fernea, Author, Middle East Studies, University of Texas, Austin.


"Handsomely produced and iminently readable, this collection is a must for anyone wishing to familiarize themselves with refugee situations, the plight of women in the area, and/or the politics of the region. The women's voices are so welcome an antidote to the barbarism being promoted by the New World (Dis)Order. The expressions of their longing for peace and justice are cries which we cannot afford to ignore."
Husayn Al-Kurdi, Editor, News International Press Service, San Diego, CA

"A testament to the coalition-building efforts of the Association of Women of the Mediterranean Region, this collection is filled with important insights into the role gender plays in the lives of refugees and immigrants in the Mediterranean countries. The contributors bring to their articles a host of frontline experiences. Their work in camps and with aid organizations facilitates acute analyses of empowerment and agency among women who have been uprooted--in one way or another--from their cultural heritage. 'Nobody Can Imagine Our Longing' is a thoughtful and accessible chronicle of the myriad struggles of a group of women whose experiences until now have gone largely unexamined."
Professor Angela Davis, Activist, Teacher, Author, University of California, Santa Cruz

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