Women's Voices from the Book Dispatches from the People's War in Nepal

Revolution #038, March 12, 2006, posted at revcom.us

"Before the initiation of the People's War I did not know anything about politics or parties. But after the initiation one of my relatives suggested that I take part in the local cultural group and asked me to go to their rehearsal. I didn't tell my mother or father about this—I only told my older brother who said, ‘Go ahead, if you want to die... Can you carry a gun on your shoulder?' I replied, ‘You didn't give me a chance to study and now I am eager to solve the problems of the people and the nation. I want to fight for liberation. If you won't allow me to go I will rebel.’"


"There have been many changes in people's thinking since the initiation. Fathers and brothers are now involved in things like cooking, getting water, washing dishes. There is also a change in the women's thinking. Before, women were not permitted to do things like make the roof of the house or plow the fields. But now where the People's War is going on, it is easy for women to do this. Before, women didn't make baskets and mats, according to tradition. And women used to think they weren't good enough to do this work. But when we dared to do this work it was easy. So if we dare we can do anything—there's no distinction between men and women."


The fight against the oppression of women is woven into the fabric of this People's War. When the armed struggle started in 1996, it was like the opening of a prison gate—with thousands of women rushing forward to claim an equal place in the war. Some had to defy fathers and brothers. Some had to leave backward–thinking husbands. Others ran away from arranged marriages where parents had decided their fate. They all had to rebel against feudal traditions that treat women as inferior, that make women feel like their ideas don't matter.

Dispatches from the People’s War in Nepal
by Li Onesto

(Pluto Press and Insight Press, 2005)

In 1999, Li Onesto traveled deep into the guerrilla zones of Nepal where a Maoist revolution has been raging since 1996. Allowed unprecedented access, she interviewed political leaders, guerrilla fighters, villagers in areas under Maoist control, and relatives of those killed by government forces. This book is the result of her journey. Illustrated with photographs, it provides an invaluable look at the roots of this revolution.

Dispatches is available from:

Go to lionesto.net for photos, articles, reviews, and speaking engagements. Contact Li Onesto at: lio@lionesto.net

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