Middle East

Afsana, a British citizen and former civil servant, went to live in Dubai in early 2010 with her French husband. After the birth of their son in April that year, she was subjected to serious physical and mental abuse. After suffering constant threats, intimidation and abuse from the ex husband, she fled with her baby in April 2011. All previous attempts to report the assaults did not amount to any action, instead she now faces a series of cases that her ex-husband has instigated - designed to mar her reputation and prevent her from leaving.   

 

تفجيرين لمقرات عسكرية مهمة كان كل مايلزم لدخول مدينتي التي أعشق في عشرين يوم من الخوف والموت والقصف والجوع والحرمان ، ولتدخل المدينة في ظلام مستمر يقطعه ضوء القذائف قبل انفجارها ووميض الصورايخ حين مرورها.

تفجيرين هزا منزلنا ودمرا نوافذنا ليبدأ بعدها هزمشاعرنا وضمائرنا ، وتدمير مدينتنا.

لم أكن أعلم وأنا خارجة من منزلي بسرعة أني لن أعود إليه كل هذه الأيام وأني ذاهبة إلى ملجأ ، فقد خرجت وأنا أكلم نفسي وأطمئنها أنه يوم واحد كالعادة وسأعود ليلاً.

On 22 January 2014, the United Nations (UN)-backed Geneva II peace talks between the Syrian government and the opposition are scheduled to be held with the goal of ending the Syrian conflict and creating a transitional government. However, nearly 14 years after the landmark passage of  UN Security Council resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) calling on UN member states to “increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts,” no women have been included in the Syrian peace negotiations.

I've always felt that I have an inside voice which guides me and opens my eyes to the kind of things that many other women feel nothing towards and just cope with. I was born in a country which suffers from a hierarchical authority. What makes this worse is that the women inside it are often part of that; they remain neutral or, even worse, support this authority. As women are an integral part in the dilemma, their negativity towards being subjected by men is perhaps the worst part of the equation. 

بأيام كانت كلها خوف
قتل و خراب و جنون
رحلة حملتني لأرض مش بعيدة
حكمها زمان توت عنخ آمون
لقيت حالي بين شلة صبايا 
من كل بلد و من كل لون
الكل غريب و ما بيجمعنا
غير الوجع ببلدنا الحنون
و بلحظة سريعة ما أخدت كتير
اتلفتت حواليا و شفت المضمون

سألته مرّة ان كان يمانع أن أكتب عن تجربته فقال “أي تجربة؟“، قلت له “تجربتك في الحرب الأهلية“، فردّ بسرعة بعينين شبه عابستين: “أنا ما شاركت بالحرب الأهلية“. ضحكت أمي وقالت بلهجة ساخرة: “انت ما شاركت بالحرب الأهلية؟!”. سؤال استنكاري دفع به الى اطلاق شبه ضحكة. أبي لا يعتبر نفسه مشاركاً في الحرب الأهلية، على الرغم من أنه قضى نصف عمره حاملا الكلاشينكوف بين زواريب “الغربية” و“الشرقية” تحت أزيز الرصاص، والنصف الآخر قضاه يدفع ثمن النصف الأول.

On Thursday, October 31st, Murad Sobay; a young Yemeni graffiti artist, and some other young activists were painting drones on the walls of Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, to protest the repeated strikes against al-Qaeda in many parts of Yemen. At the same time, several battles between the Salafists and Shiites (Houthis) were taking place in Dammaj, Saada; northern Yemen.

Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) and the Violence is Not Our Culture Campaign (VNC) strongly condemn the conviction of two Saudi Arabian women's rights activists, Wajeha Al-Huwaider and Fawzia Al-Oyouni, for the crime of takhbib, or incitement of a wife to defy her husband.  Wajeha Al-Huwaider and Fawzia Al-Oyouni have been long time campaigners for women's rights in Saudi Arabia; they pioneered the Women2Drive campaign -  a campaign for Saudi women to be allowed to drive - in addition to offering support to women victims of domestic abuse.  

In June 2011 Ms Al-Huwaider and Ms Al-Oyouni responded to a call for help from a woman attempting to flee her husband, after the woman reported that he had been abusing her.  The wife is a Canadian citizen married to a Saudi national and had asked the women to meet her at her home to help her get to the Canadian Embassy.  When they arrived, it became clear that the husband had used his wife's cell phone to trick Ms Al-Huwaider and Ms Al-Oyouni into coming at that time and had arranged for the police to be there.  After the original charges of kidnap were dropped in 2011, the women were charged again on the 15th of June 2013, this time with takhbib and sentenced to 10 months imprisonment and two-year travel bans.   They appealed their conviction, but the sentence was upheld.

في خضم الأحداث التي تجري في مصر منذ 28 حزيران- يونيو و حتى كتابة هذا المقال، تعتري البلاد موجات عنف واستقطاب سياسي حاد، ويتساقط المصريون بانتماءاتهم المختلفة  قتلى ومصابين في صراع يعلم الله متى ينتهي وإلى أي منقلب سننقلب.

بين كل الضحايا الذين سيقوا إلى مذابح -بسبب تشبث طرف بالسلطة وبسبب رغبة أطراف أخرى في إعادة صياغة الموقف السياسي باستخدام البطاقة الأخيرة وهي الحشد  الجماهيري ووضع الطرف الأول أمام الأمر الواقع- لفت نظري بعض الملاحظات لها علاقة بدور النساء في الأحداث الجارية واستخدامهن.

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