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Qu’est ce qui définit votre génération de femmes?
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Elles Franchissent les Frontières
Cette génération est la première vraie génération mondiale.

A l’âge d’internet et du voyage, de plus en plus de femmes grandissent dans différents endroits et sont à l’aise avec plusieurs langues, cuisines et cultures. Munies de passeports et grâce à une mobilité accrue, les femmes d’aujourd’hui sont également plus déconcertées quant à leur identité nationale et ethnique.

Regardez la prise de vue de la cinéaste australienne Tintin Wulia sur un monde sans frontières, sans nationalités et sans divisions, où tout le monde serait identifié comme un “citoyen du monde.”

Elda Stanco du Venezuela écrit sur le fait de venir de “nul part” et d’être multiculturelle, multilingue et multinationale.

Revivez la première matinée d’exil d’Aleksandra Djajic-Horváth lorsqu’elle a franchi la frontière pour fuir la guerre qui déchirait la Bosnie-Herzégovine.

Vous sentez-vous confinée par les frontières?

Rejoignez la conversation !


Sanja - IMOW
MODÉRATEUR
Bosnie-Herzégovine
For the last two years you have been sending us your answers to the question, "What defines your generation of women." In your poems, essays, photographs, songs and films you have told us that your generation is unmistakably defined by borders and having to cross them.

Borders abound: physical borders we cross as refugees in times of war, as illegal immigrants in times of necessity, as tourists seeking pleasure in times of abundance; language borders we must overcome to express ourselves in our adoptive countries, to assert our rights and liberties, and build satisfying relationships; borders imposed by the law, tradition, and habit; borders dividing us from our fellows and partners because of our skin color, religious background and personal histories. The list is endless.

Tell us about borders you have encountered and had to cross in your lifetime. How successful were you? Do you have a story to share?



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18 - 1 de 18
Victoria Cia
Uruguay
Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2007 3:48 AM
I am the daughter of two Uruguayan, grandaughter of a Argentine, a french, a native uruguayan and a spanish; great grandaughter of an Italian who married a Portuguese and went to live in Argentina, a native Uruguayan who married a "criollo" and had 9 children, a french who married a "vasco" and came to Ururuguay and a spanish couple who fled hunger and poverty. I am the daughter of two Uruguayan who were hunted down and imprisioned because they believed the world could be better, niece of a man who vanished in thin air inside the military head-quarters. Sister to three boys who think the world is their playgrownd and nothing can happen to them. I'm prtotected and a protector... I originally came from the love my parents had for each other and was born in a small conflicted country called Uruguay, raised to believe anything is possible and there's always a way to be better. I was offered a different nationality, but why would I want it? A passport of a different colour than mine would never change who I am and where I come from. My circumstances made me. I am here. Borders? Are just imaginary dots and lines...
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Assabah Khan
Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2007 10:02 AM
I would like to draw the attention of the world community towards the suffering of women Viz a Viz Kashmir. I think when 60 women were raped in the Kunan Poshpora Village of Kashmir on the intervening night of 23 and 24th Feb by Indian Millitary Soldiers including a 70 year old woman using rape as an instrument of war it was woman who was devastated and when Kashmiri Pandit women are putting up in utterly disgusting conditions in Migrant camps of Nagrota and Muthi it is woman who is suffering and when men in Sikh community were gunned down by intelligence agents on arrival of Bill Clinton to India it was again a woman who was widowed. Don´t classify the pain of women as Hindu, Muslim or Sikh it is the pain of a woman at the hands of men in the name of so called Muscular Nationalism
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Assabah Khan
Posted on Saturday, November 17, 2007 9:52 AM
Well in my mind I never have any borders. I just feel that I am a woman like any other woman in the world. Our pains and pleasures are the same and we share the same experiences as women. Honestly I feel I BELONG TO THE WHOLE WORLD AND WHOLE WORLD BELONGS TO ME
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Tintin Wulia
Australie
Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 9:17 PM
How is my identity limited by borders?

This is an interesting question. If you are talking about identity in terms of ancestry, or traditions that have been passed over generation, I don't think borders merely limited my identity. More than that, they almost completely erased mine. But is that a big deal?

When people ask questions about my identity now, I tend to provide them with a long answer with a lot of ingrained questions. Recently I have been even tempted to show them the certificates that my family had acquired in their journey to "belong".

Even though they rarely move too far across geographical regions, my parents' collection of legal certificates is quite an impressive collection of paperwork. As far back as my grandparents (we don't have written legal record of the generations before that), they have ones that say that they were born under an administrative region of a certain nation-state, ones that say that they have refused a citizenship of a land they have never been to, ones to prove that they are a citizen of the country that they were born in and have lived in all their life, ones that say they were not involved in subversive political activities , ones that say they have legally changed their name (to a more non-minority sounding names) ... Most of these documents are only specific to the minorities, mostly because they physically look different. Funnily enough, these documents were issued by different governments, different rulers in different periods, of the same geographical area.

The need to belong has always been an interesting phenomenon. My family has always seem to want to be a part of a ... Nation-state? Or is it part of a bigger community called Nation? In their case of endless paperwork, the Nation-state seems to be merely a legal vehicle for a Nation to keep excluding minorities. A Nation, as Benedict Anderson puts it, is "an imagined political community [that is] imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign" [1]. Aside of the nation-state's geopolitical borders, there are also invisible borders to what defines a society, and my family have always been excluded from the one they want to be a part of. Border-crossers have always been seen as a threat. How overrated. [2]

As a product of this personal history, however, I came to doubting the importance of belonging. As a reaction of being excluded, I tend to focus at the brighter light on the other side. My ties have been cut in the process, and - in contrast to the fact that I could have chosen the position of being a victim - I am now free. I treat my position of being The Other as an advantage: because I have always been the foreigner, anywhere I go I can always look around with a fresh pair of eyes.

And if any, I belong to myself.


---
Relevant link:
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benedict_Anderson
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saskia_Sassen
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Imagining Ourselves Team
Etats Unis
Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 2:24 PM
To learn more about Marie Ange Bordas' photo exposition "Displacements" visit her website:
http://www.displacements.info/

On her splash page she quotes sociologist Madan Sarup:

The concept of home seems to be tied
in some way with the notion of identity,
the story we tell of ourselves and which
is also the story others tell us.
But identities are not free-floating,
they are limited by borders and boundaries.


How is your identity limited by borders?
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Anki King
Norvège
Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 11:19 AM
Hi - I added an image to the story by Maria Vargas Llosa. Please go see and look under the “Added Stories” heading: http://imaginingourselves.imow.org/pb/Story.aspx?g=0&a=1&id=1499&lang=1
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Nico van Oosten
Pays Bas
Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 10:32 AM
Borders are both necessary and obstacles. I have crossed a border when I grew up in a blue collar worker family, while I was visiting University. Now I am graduated in psychology and working for professionals working in the realm of domestic violence. Domestic violence is border crossing behavior that has no respect for others. So borders are also necessary. If you want to live and work in an other country, you have to learn the language, culture and the customs. Those are also borders. Apart from the legal and national borders you have to cross. Only birds and fish do without borders. But they are not really free either. So freedom is a great gift, but you have to look at the other side of it too: responsibility not to hurt others and respect them. Too often this is forgotten and people - especially men - see and want only freedom.
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Kathryn Robinson
Etats Unis
Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 10:31 AM
I go on a trip-for pleasure. The simple act of slipping through customs and getting my passport stamped signifies an immense privilege that doesn't even cross my mind.

I know there are many for whom crossing a border is a life-threatening attempt and the reasons for crossing them are a matter of survival. I don't pretend to understand it. I can only imagine.

We can imagine a world without borders. The bigger question is how do we create this borderless world?
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Sanja
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 10:14 PM
Have you had the chance to read Kumarini Silva's poem "I will call my children mestiza"? http://imaginingourselves.imow.org/pb/Story.aspx?id=1509&lang=1&g=0
This short poem seems to encompass an entire world; thousands and thousands of borders, rivers running impossibly in concentric circles, mountains and hills as small as molehills and at other times so tall that they end up tearing up the sky.

Also, I wanted to let you all know that Tintin Wulia, the talented author of the featured short film "Where Do You Originally Come From?" is working on a new project involving passports. Please go to her Web site at http://tintinwulia.com/?cat=8 to learn more about it! It is bound to be excellent, if she is working on it!

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Mara Okmazic
Croatie
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 9:58 PM
A world without borders...I can't even imagine. I know, though, that in a world without borders, I could study abroad in the United States for one more year. I could stay and excell at what I do best. Maybe even go to Berkeley, my dream. But instead, I can only remain for one year.

And don't get me wrong, returning home is not bad! I love Croatia and my hometown, but I wish that deciding where in the world to study, live, work, educate myself, and marry, was a lot easier.
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Katrina Pagoulatou
Grèce
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 9:52 PM
Charys, thank you for sharing that wonderful quote by Virginia Woolf--my favorite writer! I suggest to you all to read her novel "To the Lighthouse" that talks about crossing borders in so many different ways. You will all love Lily Briscoe, one of the main characters--a young artist who is in love with the world, but also nobody in particular (she is a what many would label a "spinstster") who refuses to get married and become contained within the socially imposed borders. Read the novel, it is excellent!
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Luca
Italie
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 9:42 PM
I find Jessica Lagunas' "Ai Spik Inglish" art piece incredible. I feel like there could not have been a better way to speak the frustration, fear, loneliness, stress and vulnerability that an immigrant feels than in the way she has done--pink words on white background spelled out phonetically; words that plead "Please try to understand me" and beg for help "I need help." Jessica, this is trully an thought-provoking as well as heartbreaking work.
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Charys Hayden
Canada
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 12:40 PM
Nations are not self-contained and independent but interconnected and shaped by others. Borders and passports are not representative of individual worth and that some people have V.I.P. status because of where they happen to be born is ridiculous. Social, Political, Economic and Environmental Issues affect us all and know no borders. Why don't we allow each person the liberty to move in the world freely? What would a world without borders be like?
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Charys Hayden
Canada
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 12:14 PM
"As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world." -Virginia Woolf
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Tintin Wulia
Australie
Posted on Tuesday, November 13, 2007 12:03 AM
Renee, you invoked something very interesting for me - how it is a basic common sense that we are all born in a certain geographical area, and thus deserving (or being cursed with) a certain passport (and "belonging", either way, to the government of the geographical area we were born in). We don't really have the choice, do we? In a way we are all not really free - some freer than the others, certainly, but as you mentioned, people like you have great weight as well.

Some people within certain circumstances get the option to choose a citizenship the moment they legally become an adult. Why don't all people have the same option?
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Renee Gasch
Posted on Monday, November 12, 2007 1:06 PM
I have never been forced to cross borders because of war or discrimination. I hold one of the most valuable possessions in the world: a little blue American passport. It says I can cross any border in the world at anytime that I want and return freely to one of the most exclusionary countries on earth. I didn't do anything to deserve this privilege.

People die in the deserts trying to cross our southern border with Mexico and in the waters between Cuba and Florida. Many people are willing to give their lives to have this passport that I didn't have to earn. It's a great weight to carry this little blue book and its privileges.
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Sanja
Posted on Saturday, November 10, 2007 9:04 PM
Border-crossers, in my opinion, comprises some of the most incredible stories Imagining Ourselves has seen. Depicting war, travel, pleasure and pain, it speaks the numerous contrasting realities of this generation of border crossers.

Mara, you, for example, could relate to the stories by Rebecca Greenberg and Yee-Ming Tang, who speak about the pleasure and adventure of crossing borders, learning about oneself and the others in the process.

But many of the featured stories speak about the gun-enforced border-crossing; unvoluntary crossing because of war and disaster. "Displacements" by Marie Ange Bordas is as painful to read as it is beautiful to watch: maps drawn into the hands and faces of refugees waiting for their destinies to unravel in unknown destinations reflect the pain of Alexsandra Djajic-Horvath in "First Morning in Exhile" who is forced to leave Bosnia and her home forever--crossing over, she knows she will find immediate safety, but also immediately become a refugee--an uprooted, misunderstood, dependent, and lonely foreigner in somebody else's land.

How have you crossed borders? Was yours a positive or negative experience?
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Mara Okmazic
Croatie
Posted on Saturday, November 10, 2007 5:15 PM
I definitely agree that this generation of women are wanderers and wanderlusts. I come from a small island in the Adriatic but am currently studying in Albany, California. I have visited and lived in Norway, Germany, Greece, Italy, Austria, Bosnia, Slovenia, and Hungary.

I speak three languages fluently and understand two others. My friends come from Iran, Switzerland and Macedonia. Visiting all these countries, being friends with all these people I could have never met on my island, and speaking these languages (and hopefully many more!) has been the best thing in my life.
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