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Welcome to Words without Borders annual queer issue. From raucous Mexican dives to hushed West African forests, with characters defying official crackdowns in Turkey and embracing new definitions of family in Israel, the work here explores the variety of queer experience around the world.

Friday, October 7, 2011

2011 Nobel Prize for Peace is For Our Daughters

This year's prize is for you.
Karman, Gbowee, Sirleaf

I received with great joy today’s announcement by the Nobel Prize committee that Liberia’s  Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and  Leymah Gbowee and Yemen’s Tawakul Karman received this year’s prize for peace. My visit to Liberia and my years spent in Cote d’Ivoire were ones that coincided with Liberia’s horrific civil war.  Hundreds of thousands of Liberians found refuge in neighboring Cote d’Ivoire and many became my dear friends as well as the subject of my literary work.  War exacts a brutal toll, especially with regard to women. As Virginia Woolf stated, “War is not women’s history,” and so it is necessary to tell and celebrate herstories, particularly in the context of something we did not create.   Bravo not only to the individual women who won this award, but to the millions of women whose simple allegiance to human decency raises the bar for us all.

Listen to Malian singer Rokia Traore.  Her voice embodies gentle hope.

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