On Friday, January 17, 2020, 8:30AM (January 16, 2020, Thursday 7:30 PM US Time) there will be an interactive video conference featuring one of the paper sessions of the biennial conference of the Ecclesia of Women in Asia (EWA), which will be taking place at the Monash University, Malaysia Campus. EWA is a forum of Catholic women doing theology in Asia. EWA’s vision is the development of theologizing from Asian women’s perspectives and the recognition of Asian Catholic women theologians as equal partners in theological discussions within the Church and Academe. This is the 4th video conferencing that EWA is holding in collaboration with partners from the Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church.

The theme of the conference is “Displacements and Disqualifications: Its Shadows and Silhouettes,” which focuses on the intersectionality of migration. Social disqualification of displaced refugees is obvious, although they have not done anything wrong, they are often disaffiliated within a country that could provide access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment, and freedom of movement. But disqualification of peoples under unjust systems, structures, cultures and religions causing internal displacement in societies is often indiscernible. Internal or external displacement is always an intense psychological trauma that undermines the dignity of the human person. More than ever, theological and pastoral resources should be retrieved to examine the issue of displacement and disqualification in Asia. In view of these situations, we invite you to engage with us in a theological conversation and reflection from various perspectives.

The two papers that will be presented in the video conference session are:

(En)Forced Displacement of Others from Their Own Land – (Sri Lanka) A Feminist Theological Reading of the story of Hagar Feminist Theological Reading on Forced Displacement of Others from Their Own Land
Rasika Pieris, PhD – Holy Family Sisters, Sri Lanka

Territorial nationalism as a result of colonialism, began to emerge in most of the south Asian countries in 1940s with the ‘swadeshi’ movements resisting western colonialism. Sri Lanka had three waves of western colonialism beginning from 1505 with Portuguese followed by the Dutch and the British. Despite the anti-Western sentiments, after the independence, the Sinhala-centric government pursued the same model of unitary nation-state building that did not accommodate the political aspirations of Tamils. The post-independence nation-state building project remained faithful to the colonial masters in terms of the strategies and tactics. The neo-colonialism that was aimed at moulding a Sinhala supremacist vision of Sri Lanka, the Sinhala language, the Buddhist religion and the Sinhala people as a supreme race, emerged in post-independence nation-state building. This effort replicates the strategies of the colonial masters in order to colonise the Tamil lands via forcible settlements of the Sinhalese in the traditionally held lands by the Tamils using both armed forces and the civilians from the south in order to construct a monoethnolinguistic state. Hence, the post-independence and post-Mullivaikal eras were dominated by the narratives of the Tamils, especially the women whose lands were forcibly Sinhalasised, Budhisised and militarised. This paper will re-reading the story of Hagar in the book of Genesis in the light of the life-line politics of Black women developed by Delores Williams with a focus lens on the resistance of women in the North and East whose lands was forcibly stripped off by the state, this paper will explore new theological perspectives arising from the struggles of women who work hard for their liberation.

Gender-Based Violence in (Post) Conflict Zones: The Experiences of Internally Displaced People from Zamboanga City
Diana Therese M. Veloso, PhD – De La Salle University, Philippines

This paper examines the heightened risk for gender-based violence among racial and ethnic minorities in post-conflict settings, using the situation of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Zamboanga City as a case in point. The researcher examines the dynamics of violence from a gendered perspective and illuminates cultural trends that reinforce and shape the experience of gender-based violence. Drawing upon interviews and focus group discussions with IDPs and duty-bearers, I will present the nuances in women’s and men’s experiences of private and community and/or state-sponsored violence as IDPs from predominantly minority groups. The researcher exposes the numerous incidences of lawlessness and violence affecting IDPs in Zamboanga, especially during the early months following the September 2013 siege perpetuated by a faction of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), the vulnerability of women and girls to intimate partner violence, prostitution, sexual harassment, and trafficking, and the covert attempts to recruit young men into extremist groups. This paper also highlights women’s continued vulnerability to domestic violence and other forms of abuse after their relocation to transitory sites or (in limited cases) permanent shelters, and the vulnerability of youth to bullying and victimization due to their ethnic identity. I will also highlight the link between racial, ethnic, gender, and social class inequality in the Philippines and the continued vulnerability of IDPs due to their dismal living conditions after the siege, and their neglect due to limited interventions by government authorities. This paper highlights the intersections between private and public forms of gender-based violence in the experiences of IDPs belonging to minority groups, and the local and international responses to their situation.

Please download the attached PDF for more information and contact details.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s