Saturday, February 17, 2007

First Missive from Mata Hari

I want to begin with a heartfelt thank you to Grace O’Malley for opening up this space. It challenges us to ask how women’s voices fit into the international legal dialogue, but through a form that allows us to be playful, expressive, and irreverent. Rather than essentializing either our foremothers or the current generation of intlawgrrls, the blog simply includes us. By limiting how long each post can be, it forces us to communicate with clarity.
On a personal level, this blog allows me to formalize my long and seemingly accidental acquaintance with Mata Hari. Whenever I’ve moved beyond her value as a mnemonic device, I’ve puzzled over this famous exotic dancer and spy. What is it about her that has inspired fusion restaurants in Canada and Thailand, as well as a Boston-based band? In 2001, when efforts were made to clear her name, historian Leon Schirmann said: “Mata Hari was not made to be a spy….She was nothing but a woman who loved enjoying her life and who didn't realize that, at a time of war, nothing was as it was before.” His statement makes me ask: Who was I made to be?

1 comment:

Grace O'Malley said...

Welcome, Mata! Looking forward to more missives. Grace