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Women Write War

April 2016

Four women in teal army clothing in fighting positions.
Image: Mary Sibande, "Everything is not lost,” 2011 Archival pigment print (Edition of 10) 87x113 cm Courtesy of Mary Sibande and Gallery MOMO

Images of war in media and elsewhere are largely populated by men; and while men may dominate battlegrounds, they also too often monopolize the narratives that grow out of them. In this month’s issue, ten women—infiltrators and dissidents, witnesses and survivors—write from on and off the battlefield to produce a singular group of war stories. Claudia Salazar Jiménez and Rocio Tábora examine the scars, figurative and literal, left by Latin American conflicts. In her innovative memoir, Noemi Jaffe raises questions about children’s identification with their parents’ suffering. Relli Robinson’s little girl is puzzled by two adults insisting on playing house. Alja Terzić imagines a Tweeting Tito. Playwright Sonia Ristic portrays a jaded war correspondent making a gruesome discovery. Poets Lyuba Yakimchuk and Lyudmyla Khersonska set the Russian-Ukrainian conflict to verse. Igiaba Scego examines the enduring legacy of racism in war songs from Italian-occupied Somalia. And Faleeha Hassan’s grieving narrator rewrites her cousin’s last battle.

Women, Writing War
By Eliza Griswold
It’s a dubious privilege that a woman can tell war stories as brutal and devastating as a man can.
The Scream
By Claudia Salazar Jiménez
The Party. The Revolution. Blood. All of it, together.
Translated from Spanish by Elizabeth Bryer
Tito and Taxidermy, or What If Tito Had Been on Twitter?
By Ajla Terzić
The human factor is not essential. Sunscreen—now that’s essential.
Translated from Bosnian by John K. Cox
The Seed of Evil: Sarajevo 1995
By Sonia Ristic
You don’t become a war correspondent by accident or by chance.
Translated from French by Paul Romano
From “What are the Blind Men Dreaming?”
By Noemi Jaffe
The compassionate understand pain, but pain cannot be understood; those who suffer understand nothing.
Translated from Portuguese and Serbian by Julia Sanches & Ellen Elias-Bursać