Friends of South Asia's
Third Annual Literary Evening
Theme for 2006: Asymmetric Wars : Asymmetric Worlds
When: Saturday, August 19, 2006
Where: Milpitas Library Community Hall
Submissions Due By: August 10th, 2006
More info at
Recently, three detainees in Guantanamo committed suicide. This collective suicide is "an act of asymmetric war directed against us", declared Rear Admiral Harry Harris. Another American official, Colleen Graffy, in charge of public diplomacy at the State Department, qualified the detainees' gesture as "a publicity stunt to get attention."
The very existence of prisons in Guantanamo is a violation of international law. Here, people are imprisoned without charges, declared enemy combatants in secret illegal tribunals, tortured, and held without trials, some for as long as four years.
It is in this context of gross legal, moral and ethical violations by the world's largest military power that the term asymmetric war draws our attention. What can be said about the nature of power where death is described as a "publicity stunt" - where the deaths of over 2,500 U.S soldiers are barely mourned but the deaths of over 200,000 Iraqis are not even counted...
Or where prisoners, en masse, go on a hunger strike and have to be force-fed? How would the notion of asymmetric war translate in the contexts of Palestine and Israel, or the continued insurgency in Iraq? And when is a suicide a battle cry?
Thus we invite your critical reflections on the notion of asymmetric wars and the asymmetric world that we live in. Submissions are invited in all moods and all registers of the human experience, not just war: Is the battle of sexes an asymmetric war? How about most of the developing world living on $2/day while Exxon CEO gets a pension package of $98M? How about Hollywood vs. Bollywood, torture versus hunger strike, tanks vs. rocks, Chavez vs. Cheney, Blogs vs. Corporate Media, Coca Cola vs. safe drinking water or L'Oreal versus Surma?