Everything about this video is utterly charming and sweet and funny: the babies who laugh and suck their thumbs at the same time, the way all the babies are piled all around Mom, how beautiful and happy the mother is, that she discretely reaches over to cover her bra (modesty!), the way the parents obviously enjoy their babies so much.....
There's a film festival underway in Boston right now through April 30, looks like they've got some verrrry interesting films. Film festival website with schedule here, article in the Globe here. All screenings are free and open to the public. From the Muslim Film Festival website:
"The festival is an invitation to open your eyes to a stereotype-defying tour of the Muslim world's diversity and complexity. The collage of films celebrate 'think-different women' on the frontlines of reform, challenging extremism and taboos. The strong characters who populate the festival's award-winning films offer rarely-heard iconoclastic voices."
The festival is presented by the American Islamic Congress in conjunction with the Women's Studies Program at Boston University, the Pathways Interfaith Initiative at Tufts University, the Global Film Initiative, and Americans for Informed Democracy." The curator is Mohammed Harba, a 27-year-old filmmaker from Iraq now living in Massachusetts. These are films you likely won't have the chance to see elsewhere.
So did I hear about this film festival from the local Muslim American Society or the Islamic Society of Boston or the local college Muslim student associations? Nope. MAs sent out a dozen e-mail notices about screenings of Occupation 101 or Gaza Strip, which provided a "look inside the stark realities of Palestinian life and death under Israeli military occupation." But not a peep, not one e-mail about the Think-Different Women film festival. This series includes the movie Shadya (screening this Wednesday at BU, 6:30 PM), about 17-year old Shadya Zoabi, who is "a world champion in karate, a feminist in a male-dominated culture and a Muslim Arab living in Israel. " An Israeli citizen who's an Arab Muslim wins the 2003 World Shotokan Karate Champion? Oopsy, that doesn't fit the desperate Palestinian victim narrative, does it?
This is a telling omission on the part of the local daughter organizations of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States.
There are many corollaries between the victim-centered ideology of mainstream feminists, who allow no dissent or alternative viewpoint (as Camille Paglia noted last week at Harvard), and the victim-centered ideology of so many American Muslim organizations, who do likewise. Muslims with a different viewpoint are ignored or shunned by the MAS/MSA groups.
Anwar is the recently retired Executive Director of Sisters in Islam.
It is widely regarded as one of the most successful women’s advocacy
groups in the Islamic world. A grassroots Malaysian organization formed
in 1988, it promotes women’s rights and challenges discrimination
against women. They run a legal clinic, legal literary programs, public
awareness programs, and perform research in law reform. She is
currently Board Member and Project
Director for the Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim
Ganji is an Iranian human rights dissident and writer. He has won the
Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders and the John Humphreys
Freedom Award. He won the Middle East Studies Association of North
America, Academic Freedom Prize (2006)."
Great article about Zainah Anwar here. She sounds like an amazing woman, capable, high energy, strong-minded, a dynamo. Here's just a few interesting items from the article about Anwar:
Sisters in Islam (SIS), the organization that Anwar has headed for many years, tackles such issues as polygamy, and domestic and sexual violence within marriage. The SIS maintains that the concerns of Muslim women are “not the monopoly of religious scholars. Everyone has the right to speak”.
"SIS has been at the forefront of NGOs influencing amendments to Islamic
Family Law. It has espoused equality and justice for women, discussed
dress and modesty, the right to guardianship, women as judges,
fundamental liberties in Islam, and apostasy and freedom of religion."
Ms. Anwar did graduate studies in the U.S., a masters at Boston University in 1978, and was at the Fletcher
School of Diplomacy, Tufts University until 1986. Note to former Sharon imam Muhammed Masood: that's what you're supposed to do when you come to the U.S. on an J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. It's an opportunity for people to come to the United States to study, and then take what they've learned and go back home to serve the interests of their fellow countrymen. Not stay here, bring over kids, have more kids, bring over more relatives, live large on a 52-acre estate, etc, etc.
On the headscarf, which apparently Zainah doesn't wear - Zainah attended Islamic religious schools from ages 10 to 14, but she says that "Even my cikgu agama (religious teacher) didn’t wear the tudung (headscarf). It was such a different world then.” What has caused the headscarf to assume such importance only in the last 30 years or so, and outside of the Middle East in a country like Malaysia which has no tradition of covering the hair?
England apparently has a terrible problem of forced marriages Hundreds and possible thousands of young women (mostly but not all Muslim) are taken out of high school and forced to marry - against their will - men from their country of origin. Over 2,000 female students are "missing" in England. These are registered students who aren't showing up for class and can't be located. The government has "asked to speak to the British clearance officer based in Islamabad in Pakistan to see if any of the 2,000 children are listed as having arrived there."
This map shows literacy rates for diffferent countries. In countries with low literacy rates (under 50%), women's literacy rates are even lower than men's. In the following countries, women's literacy rate is less than 50 per cent of men's:
Mali 49 per cent Benin 49 per cent Yemen 47 per cent Mozambique 46 per cent Ethiopia 46 per cent Guinea 42 per cent Niger 35 per cent Chad 31 per cent Afghanistan 28 per cent
Countries with women's literacy rate less than 70 per cent of men's:
India 65 per cent Morocco 60 per cent
The ten best countries for women, based on life expectancy, education, purchasing power and standard of living are: Iceland, Norway, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan, Netherlands and France. I'm not sure why the U.S. isn't one of these.
Gotta hand it to those decadent Western nations that so many non-Western people flee to.
Since her first visit to southern Sudan in 2001, Rev. Gloria White-Hammond, co-pastor of Jamaica Plain's Bethel AME Church, knew that she wanted to stand in solidarity with the women of that country. She had served as a medical missionary during several trips to Botswana, Cote d Ivore, and South Africa, but it was on delegation of several other African-American ministers to Sudan that, Rev. White-Hammond participated in the liberation of over 6,700 enslaved women and children. Bearing witness to the untenable realities of slavery taking place in the 21st century changed her life forever.
Upon her return to Boston, she co-founded My Sister's Keeper, a humanitarian women's group that partners with women in Sudan and their efforts toward reconciliation and reconstruction of their communities. Since its inception in 2002, My Sister's Keeper has listen closely to the concerns and opinions of the Sudanese women. It has assisted in community-initiated economic development, healthcare and education projects in Gogrial County, Sudan. Furthermore, by mobilizing resources in the United States on their behalf, My Sister's Keeper works to lift up the plight of Sudanese women to the World.
This event will be in honor of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (Nov. 25th), World AIDS Day (Dec. 1st), and Human Rights Day (Dec. 10).
You can donate to My Sister's Keeper here. Why not forego some of the Xmas present money to a wonderful cause such as this?
"Members of Khobar's Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice were the victims of an attack by two Saudi females, Asharq Al-Awsat can reveal. According to the head of the commission in Khobar, two girls pepper sprayed members of the commission after they had tried to offer them advice."
"Head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the Eastern province Dr. Mohamed bin Marshood al-Marshood, told Asharq Al Awsat that two of the Commission's employees were verbally insulted and attacked by two inappropriately-dressed females, in the old market in Prince Bandar street, an area usually crowded with shoppers during the month of Ramadan."
According to Dr. Al-Marshood, the two commission members approached the girls in order to "politely" advise and guide them regarding their inappropriate clothing. Consequently, the two girls started verbally abusing the commission members, which then lead to one of the girls pepper-spraying them in the face as the other girl filmed the incident on her mobile phone, while continuing to hurl insults at them. "
Feisty ladies. Not everyone is impressed though. A commenter here asks "Do you think this is an uprising of the people or the behavior of the privileged? I’d bet my money on these girls being the little princesses that throw their Indonesian maids down the stairs." We don't know, I hope we learn more about this incident.
"On September 23, 2007, Saudi Arabia's national holiday, the newly-founded League of Demanders of Women's Right to Drive Cars in Saudi Arabia will be presenting a petition to King 'Abdullah, following a signature-collecting campaign over the past weeks.
"On September 20, 2007, the liberal Arab website Aafaq published an interview by website director Omran Salman with Saudi women's rights activist Wajeha Al-Huweidar, in which she talks about the ongoing public campaign of the League of Demanders of Women's Right to Drive Cars in Saudi Arabia. Al-Huweidar discusses how the campaign is progressing, the impact of foreign media coverage (the BBC, the Wall Street Journal, and others), and the plans for establishing an Association for the Protection and Defense of Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia."
You can read the interview here. Letting women drive is only the beginning for this organization.
"Among the issues that have been raised, and that are of the utmost importance, are: representation for women in shari'a courts; setting a [minimum] age for girls' marriages; allowing women to take care of their own affairs in government agencies and allowing them to enter government buildings; protecting women from domestic violence, such as physical or verbal violence, or keeping her from studies, work, or marriage, or forcing her to divorce…"
"We need laws to protect women from these aggressions and violations of their rights as human beings. And there is also [the need to] prevent girls' circumcision…"
"We truly have a great need for a Ministry of Women's Affairs to deal with women's rights, issues of motherhood and infancy, and women's health in rural areas… This is our ultimate goal…"
It's a bit late, but you can still sign the petition via e-mail:
"Women interested in signing are requested to send the following information: name, profession, nationality, and city of residence, to firstname.lastname@example.org."
"In a startling turnaround, breast cancer rates in the United States dropped dramatically in 2003, and experts said they believe it is because many women stopped taking hormone pills. The 7.2 percent decline came a year after a big federal study linked hormone replacement therapy used at menopause to a higher risk of breast cancer, heart disease and other problems. Within months, millions of women stopped taking estrogen and progestin pills. A new analysis of federal cancer statistics, presented Thursday at a scientific conference called the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, revealed the drop in tumors."
"The researchers stressed that because their analysis is based on population statistics, the reasons for the drop are not completely certain. But evidence showed that the steepest decline in breast cancer diagnosis, at 12 percent, occurred in women between the ages 50 to 69 with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer. These types of tumors are fueled by the hormone estrogen."
"A big study in 2002 suggested that the combination of estrogen and progestin raised the risk of breast cancer and brought a premature halt to a Women’s Health Initiative study of more than 16,600 women between 50 and 79 who were taking hormones. The news caused widespread alarm and confusion."
I suppose the observed reduction is good news, but I wonder why these women were guinea pigs in the first place. Very sad for all the women who unneccesarily suffered from this terrible disease.
So what would happen if there was a moratorium on in-vitro fertilization procedures? Might we also see a steep decline in breast cancer? I've read that there's no link between IVF and breast cancer, but I don't quite believe it. It's known that hormones taken during IVF can stimulate an existing breast cancer. But how many women yearning for a baby stop to think about that possibility? IVF treatments involve self-administration of follicle-stimulating hormones before eggs are harvested, and progesterone afterwards to prepare the uterine lining for implantation of the fertilized egg.
Two women in their mid-30's whom I know were diagnosed with breast cancer within several months of undergoing IVF treatments. One has survived five years and is doing well. The other woman is not doing well, she's valiantly fighting a cancer that has now spread to her spine. She and her husband have three young children, whose mother has been sick for most of their lives. Yes, I know, this is limited, anecdotal evidence. But l don't have a good feeling about the medical experimenting we're allowing on young women.
"When I ring the doorbell and the door opens, I am let in by a woman who is extremely fragile physically. She is very small, very thin, pale. She greets me by saying "Darling, I don’t have long to live, but it is wonderful that you’re visiting me. I have cancer." On the way up, on the staircase, she continues to speak and says "The Muslims could not beat me. Mussolini’s fascists could not beat me." She talks to me of an incident in Latin-America, during a shooting round where she was lumped together with dead bodies and someone accidentally discovered her. She tells me about the lawsuit that was filed against her in Italy, in a bid to silence her. "All those devilish forces could not beat me. But cancer, cancer, the cancer that’s eating my brain…" "
".... Suddenly she changes the subject. "You must have a child," she says. "I only regret one thing in my life, and that is that I do not have children. I wanted them, tried to have them, but I tried too late, and I failed." "Darling," she says, "it hurts to be alone. Life is lonely. It must be, sometimes. Still I would very much have liked to have a child. I would have liked to pass on life." "
It makes me glad that those two ladies met. Hat tip to Booker Rising.
I received an e-mail earlier today from a Pakistani woman who's relative was killed as an honor killing by family members. The family and the police are covering up the murder as a suicide. This woman feels that her life is in danger now, and she desperately needs help. I believe her e-mail is genuine. If you know of an organization or personal contact in Islamabad that can help her (obviously, NOT the police), please send the contact information to me at misskelly99-at-gmail.com. Please keep her in your prayers. Thank you very much for your help.
Ghazala age 18 another victim of honor killing from “Pakistan (Pallandri AJK)” being hounded by her family (brother in law) because she chose her husband by leaving her home at mid night due to some internal & external pressures last year.
After the search of three months she was found & separated by her forced husband. At that time due to interference of her father & few other tribes men she was been saved by killing, but her brothers & cousin were in search of a suitable time to kill her.
Her father placed her in a "madrasa" in Rawalpindi. On 6th or 7th of July she was brought back to her native home as she was not feeling well due to small pocks. Her uncle who is a milliner businessman in UAE forced his son Haroon age 20 to kill Ghazala age 18. He did so with the help of his local cousins on 19th July 2006 & left for UAE.
Now the parents & other family members with the help of police made this a suicide Case. No authorities are taking this as a cruel act. I on behalf of the people of town appeal the human rights activists to reopen this issue & make the justice to her poor mother & small sisters which are also threatened to be killed by the Cousin.
Asha, the woman who is trying to being public attention to this case, notes that this region (Pallandri) is a relatively literate area of Pakistan. Like the Mukhtara Mai case, the father tried to help his daughter. Unlike the Mukhtara Mai case, the daughter is now dead.
How can we bring attention to this, bring murder charges against the uncle and cousins, and protect the mother and sisters from harm?
Read Kathryn Jean Lopez' column today on honor killings at National Review Online. One of the murders she writes about was of Samaira Nazir, pictured below, who was murdered last month by her father and his cousin in Southall, England. The 25-year old business woman made the mistake of rejecting the suitors chosen for her in Pakistan, and instead got engaged to a man outside of her caste.
One correction to Lopez' column: she states that "Hundreds of women and girls are believed to be killed this way in Pakistan annually." Actually, as we wrote earlier, over 1,000 people were murdered in honor killings in Pakistan in 2005, according to the Karachi-based NGO, Madadgaar Help Line. And that NGO estimates that only 10% of all murders are ever reported. Lopez notes that most honor killings are not reported, they're disguised as suicides or accidents.
An increase in honor killings of Palestinian women was reported last year in the Guardian. One case was a Christian woman who wanted to marry a Muslim man, another was a Muslim woman who was rpaed by her two brothers and became pregnant. Mum did the murdering in the second case, and she went to jail for two years for the murder. The brothers who raped her got ten years each.
We're pretty well aware of honor killings in the Middle East, England, Sweden and Germany. Are parents, brothers, aunts and uncles murdering their daughters to "save their honor" here in the U.S. too? Probably, most likely in immigrant enclaves from countries where honor killings are common, such as Pakistan, India and Turkey. We just don't know about it yet.
"The first large medical study of female genital mutilation has found that the procedure has deadly consequences when the women give birth, raising by more than 50 percent the likelihood that the woman or her baby would die."
"Women's groups and human rights organizations have long campaigned against genital mutilation as a rights issue, but the study provides the first conclusive medical evidence of long-term physical harm, taking the debate further into the public health arena."
Do I laugh or do I cry? This is the first conclusive medical evidence of the incredible damage and harm that FGM does? I'm angry that there's lots of TALK but little ACTION to wipe out this abominable practice. Talk about violence against women.
The caption to this photo from a UN website says "A small girl from Sierra Leone carries her ceremonial knife. At her 5 years old she is learning how to become a circumciser to provide income for her family." And we can't just blame the evil male patriarchy here either, it's a practice largely performed by women.
"More than 100 million women have undergone genital mutilation, mostly in childhood and often without anesthesia or sterile technique. Pain, bleeding, and infection are immediate consequences. The study found that more extensive genital-mutilation procedures produced the highest rates of maternal and infant death."
Something is missing here. Many people have known for a long time that this despicable practice cripples young women and causes all sorts of medical problems. Studies have shown that it is tied to the spread of AIDS in Africa, where many women prefer anal sex to vaginal sex, because it's so painful to have vaginal sex. Dr. Nawal Nour in the Boston area tries to persuade African women not to have FGM done to their daughters, and she performs reconstructive surgery for women who had FGM. I hope that the publication of this Lancet study will have some effect, but how will a study published in a British journal change the minds of the men and women who cut away the sex organs of their girls?
God help us. Maybe foreign aid should be tied to reducing FGM. Want our money? Stop cutting your girls.
"...Brown, with all his talk of "the sacred feminine," is being intentionally hazy about what pagans have tended to mean by it: i.e., fertility goddesses. Now, you can see a bit of a problem for modern feminists in praising ancient conceptions of women as most sacred when barefoot and pregnant...."
"....doesn't anybody remember basic Roman Empire sociology? Early Christianity particularly appealed to women, especially widows."
"Abortion was a huge killer of women in this period, but Christian women were spared that. And infanticide—pagans killed little girls left and right. We’ve unearthed sewers clogged with the bones of newborn girls. But Christians prohibited this. Consequently, the sex ratio changed and Christians didn’t have the enormous shortage of women that plagued the rest of the empire."
Back to Sailer, who takes the words right out of my mouth:
"...the idea that the Catholic Church kept women down is pretty odd: What other monotheistic religion honored hundreds of women as saints? Made the Virgin Mary the second most revered person of all? What other religion made women writers like St. Theresa of Avila and St. Catherine of Siena part of the canon of religious literature? What other religion encouraged women to found and run gianthospitals? Protestantism? Judaism? Islam?"
"The study documents how women, pound-for-pound, not only get more drunk or higher faster then men, but also become addicted more easily.....Teenage girls now smoke, drink and abuse drugs as often as teenage boys.....Yet even as the rate of abuse becomes equal, physiological and psychological factors combine to ensure that females are more greatly affected by drugs and alcohol."
"According to Foster (director at CASA), each single drink hits a woman like a double. A woman's body contains less water and more fatty tissue—which increases alcohol absorption—compared to a male body. And women have a lower activity level of an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH), which breaks down alcohol. Similar biological factors are at work in metabolizing illicit drugs."
Parents, teach your children well, especially your girls. You might get in trouble in some places (like Harvard) for pointing out differences between men and women, but young women need to know this. Our society hardly needs more alcoholics and junkies.
Meanwhile, over in Merry England (where a 12-year recently became Britain's youngest mum), girls are surpassing boys in binge drinking, smoking, stealing and taking drugs. According to a recent survey there, "violence, aggression and self-destructive behaviour has spread alarmingly among girls over the past 20 years." There are indeed downsides to the women's liberation movement and our modern mantra that "girls can do anything that boys can." The phrase "boys drool, girls rule" need revising. Girls are starting to drool as much as boys.
Over 1,000 people were murdered in honor killings in Pakistan in 2005, according to the Karachi-based NGO, Madadgaar Help Line. 373 were were men, six were children, the rest were women. "Real figures could actually be much higher. The media report only 10% of cases, as people usually keep silent out of fear."
No longer confined to third world countries, honor killings are occurring in Europe in immigrant communities (largely Muslim) that have brought some hideous, misogynistic practices with them. Yesterday in London, police found Banaz Mahmod Babakir Agha, a 20-year old young woman, stuffed in a suitcase in Birmingham. Police reporterd that they were investigating the possibility that she had been the victim of an honor killing. "After the discovery of the corpse detectives also charged her uncle, Ari Mahmod Babakir Aga, 50, of Mitcham, with murder." According to the London-based organization Kurdish Women Action Against Honour Killing (KWAHK), Banaz left an arranged marriage of three years last June (H/T LGF).
NYC was blessed to have a recent appearance by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a member of the Dutch Parliament. Last Sunday, Ms.Ali was interviewed by the Paris Review editor Philip Gourevitch at the New York Public Library as part of PEN World Voices: The New York Festival of International Literature. Booker Rising has an excerpt of the New York Sun article about her interview. Hirsi Ali is an amazing, strong woman. The continuous death threats don't stop her one bit. She spoke of "the failure of the West to defend its own Enlightenment values against those who openly seek to undermine or destroy them."
"My criticism of the West, especially of liberals, is that they do take freedom for granted,' Ms. [Hirsi] Ali responded. She noted that Western Europeans born after World War II are unused to conflict. 'They have lost the instinct to recognize that there can be such a thing as an enemy or a threat to freedom, and that's what I'm witnessing in Europe now,' she stated. '[There is] a pacifist ideology that violence should never be used in any circumstances, and so we should talk and talk and talk. Even when your opponent tells you, 'I don't want to talk to you, I want to destroy you,' the reaction is, 'Please, let's talk about the fact that you want to destroy me!''
"This year, thousands of teenage girls, very few past the age of consent, will arrive in Germany from Turkey for arranged marriages and lives of domestic servitude enforced by tradition, isolation and fear."
"Today, every second Turkish woman who has a child in a German school is herself a foreign bride. Two-thirds of these children arrive in school not speaking a word of German. The German educational system bends over backward for them, providing religious instruction in Turkish or Arabic and excluding girls from physical education, sex ed and other subjects where Islamic mores might be offended."
The "bending over backwards" is not working out for Germany, which is seeing an increasing divide between natives and immigrants. It's definitely not working out for Muslim women either, 55 of whom were murdered in "honor killings" there in the past six years.
While the U.S. is doing a better job than most European countries in assimilating Muslim immigrants, I'm thinking that there's probably a certain amount of forced marriages, child brides and honor killing going on in our country too. Who's keeping an eye out for such things?