A fetus on the dirt road: against imperial feminisms, claims of mass rape, and exploring the theory of sepulcherality

BY:Khadija Haynes| May 30, 2024
A fetus on the dirt road: against imperial feminisms, claims of mass rape, and exploring the theory of sepulcherality


This piece is a contribution to the Pre-Convention Discussion for our 32nd National Convention. During Pre-Convention Discussion, all aspects of the party’s program, strategy, and tactics are up for consideration and debate. The ideas presented here are those of the author or authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Communist Party USA, its membership, or their elected leadership bodies. — Editors

May 19th, 1918 in Brooks County Georgia. The death of plantation owner Hampton Smith unleashed a wave of violence on the Black residents in the small Georgia town. Death-hungry and vampiric mobs of white terrorists removed Black residents from their homes.

Within a few days after the May 16th murder of the plantation owner Smith, Hayes Turner was arbitrarily charged with his murder and jailed. Later, he was taken from his cell by scores of white terrorists strung up by a tree, and lynched as the deep Georgia air fell to its knees writhing and sick from the smell of Black death.

Mary was eight months pregnant when she was taken by white vigilantes for speaking up against wrongful conviction of her husband.

The death-mob proceeded to mutilate, torture, and shoot the 33 year old Black woman and crush the unborn child’s head. Mrs. Turner defended her husband against the white supremacist mob and the state that would do nothing to protect her as it benefited from lynched Black bodies, and created the laws to protect those who mutilated Black life.

Mary’s drained and lynched body was beaten so hard, into a sunken puddle of blood so hard, her unborn child fell out of her stomach. The tyrannical vigilantes smashed the head of the unborn child. The fetus lay there butchered and lifeless on the dirt road, never given the chance to breath one last tiny cleaved and severed breath.

Recently, The New York Times ran an article, the now thoroughly debunked “Screams Without Words: How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on October 7th” by Jeffery Getlleman, Anat Schwartz, and Adam Sella in which it claimed to expose the vile rape of Israeli women by Hamas ignored by the UN. It should be noted that both Gettleman and Schwartz have expressed deep anti-Palestinian views. The article goes on to describe in detail the alleged violent assault and mutilation of Israeli women at the hands of Hamas.

ZAKA is a self-proclaimed nonreligious organization specializing in collecting dead bodies and body parts from scenes purported to be “unnatural” deaths. ZAKA southern Israel region head, Yossi Landau, recounted seeing the dead body of a pregnant woman who was raped and had her stomach sliced open by Hamas militants, with an unborn fetus that fell out of her stomach with the umbilical cord still attached, then repeatedly shot. This testimony was later retracted as untrue.

Its important to note, testimonials of those who witnessed the rape and killing of Israeli women were given by IDF/ IOF (Israeli Occupation Forces) or the testimonials were subject to rigid approval by IDF soliders, themselves involved in horrific rape, torture, indiscriminate killings, and cover ups. Another  salient point is that, somehow, with all of the rape and horror at the hands of Hamas, there was littleno evidence collected because Israeli investigators were just too “overwhelmed” and “concerned with religious customs regarding the dead” to worry about the lesser detail of, you know..…collecting evidence.

Imperative to recognize as well are that many of the eye witness accounts given, primarily from ZAKA “first responders”, concern the state of the dead bodies, for which they have no forensic expertise. The parallels between the depraved racist terror Mary Turner was subjected to and the story constructed by Yossi Landau about the pregnant woman whose stomach was sliced open with an unborn fetus, for whom there’s no evidence, is striking. Too striking, in fact.

The Isreali state marches about violently colonizing and displacing the people of historic Palestine; and is now using our history of the savage violence Black people in this country have faced and instrumentalizing it against us in order to justify the continued genocide of Palestinian people, and, to that end, the broader colonized world.

Where were the Western feminists when Mary Turner was being butchered and lynched? Where were Western feminist when Mary’s unborn child was being kicked and stomped to death? Where is Black feminism for Mary Turner and her unborn child now? Western feminism is where its always been, right alongside white men aiding and glorifying the gruesome murder, rape, and plunder of Black life. And Black feminism– bled of its radicality, confusing revolutionary movement for one’s identity, a priori presumptions, a multiplicity of gender categories, and a gutted and deradicalized queerness– now stands alongside Western feminism seeking refuge, celebritydom and financial kickbacks from the state instead of freedom from it.

The documented nature of imperial feminism is to rip Black babies from their mothers and feed them to alligators. It is a feminism where you will never be able to move From Margin to Center as bell hooks asserts because coloring the racist Suffragette movement Black and taking the white supremacist patriarchal dictum of Elizabeth Cady Staton — bearing it as our own — has not helped us as colonized women. Western feminism, moreover, foregrounds a racist genealogy that views colonized people as reified objects they can exoticize and mutilate. It hedges forth racist tropes of the Black male rapist and the Arab male rapist in order to keep them locked into an unending demonization and death

Colonized people, marked as killable, are forced into sepulcherality: a state where a people traverse one death world to another managed, calculated, and indexed by the state for perpetual execution. it is a hollowed-out state where racialized groups are severed from their very sense of self.

For the west in general and America in particular, killing children has always been a favorite pastime. This is a country, on the frayed basis of white supremacist reasoning, that gave the electric chair to 14 year old George Junius Stinney Jr.; a country that tortured and lynched 14 year old Emmett Till; a country where, in the horrific case of Kendrick Johnson a Black child is found murdered with their organs missing. A country where Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and innumerable Black children undergo an un-childing because their Black maleness indicates an imminent sexual danger. Western feminism and deradicalized Black feminisms only excavate the bodies of dead Black men and feign concern for poor Black people for hashtags and algorithmic hypervisibility; playing intersectional recognition politics and discursive games with Black genocide.

Within the broader frames of liberal democracy, Western feminism — the feminism of Anat Schwartz — seeks to consume and exterminate Palestinian people. it is the same feminism that lynched Mary Turner, her husband, and crushed to death her unborn child. In order for colonized people to reclaim their liberation that was brutally hijacked, they must engage in a militant struggle. For the Palestinian people, Mary Turner and her unborn child to finally win a just peace, we must have a steeled anti-imperialists outlook and engage in militant class struggle.



    Khadija Haynes is an activist with the Brooklyn Club, CPUSA.

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