Visualising Women's Rights - women en Guest Blog: Farah Sater on the role of women in the Middle East Protests <div class="field field-type-text field-field-content"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Date: 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day on 8 March 2011</p> <p>Location: Facebook</p> <p>Event: Thousands of statuses praising for the first time the role of the Arab women not only as nurturing mothers, loving sisters or girlfriends, but in inspiring, organizing and leading the revolutions which have led to dethroning dictators in the Middle East and North Africa (Ben Ali and Mubarak) and are still expected to topple more monarchs and despots in Libya, Yemen, Bahrain and to change the status quo in Lebanon and Palestine.</p> <p>Since the beginning of 2011 the Arab world has been witnessing massive popular demonstrations resulting in the resignations of corrupt rulers to even "escaping" (like former Tunisian president Ben Ali's flight to Saudi Arabia). These manifestations blossoming almost everywhere in the Arab world today make the headlines of international, regional and local news, not only for their authenticity (being mostly led by apolitical people) and peacefulness but most importantly for having broken rooted stereotypes such as the images attributed to Arab and Muslim women or to Christian-Muslim relationships.</p> <p>The interest in Arab women's leadership is growing nowadays, due to the late media-coverage of their activism, however it is important to note that Arab women have always fought for social justice causes through local movements and initiatives. An example of Arab women's leadership in the fight for justice and fundamental rights comes from Lebanon, where women made, and still make up, the majority of an organized action that started in the early Nineties (after the end of the Lebanese civil war) to call for the rights of return of Lebanese political detainees in Syrian prisons. The protest tents in front of the UN House in downtown Beirut is proof of that.</p> <p>There is attention to the role of Arab women techies and Arab women who are using web 2.0 platforms to create campagns. For example, one of the most visited online advocacy websites is that of <a href="" target="_blank">Asmaa Mahfouz</a> from Egypt (leader of April 6 Movement); her YouTube' video mobilized a huge number of followers to take the streets of Cairo and resist.</p> <p>In Bahrain, Noor Al. (name not revealed to protect the privacy of the activist) a female Facebook activist is currently creating a platform where she will be posting Al Khalifa's fake videos and news and publishing the real videos and news, for the visitors to compare and conclude the reality of [the] Bahraini situation". In Yemen, <a href=",8599,2049476,00.html" target="_blank">Tawakkul Karman</a>, a female journalist and human rights activist, has become a leading Yemeni revolution "Image de marque" as she gets profiled in international online news sites.</p> <p>It is of a crucial importance here to consider that despite the very positive aspect of Arab women's activism and leadership in current revolutions, all hopes are for these peaceful protests to lead not only to new governments, but also to a new era for women rights. "I agree, talking vaguely about an anti-sectarian system in Lebanon without specifying demands and rights to advocate for, cannot guarantee an effective power handling nor a citizens' state. Therefore naturally if we're to speak about civil rights in Lebanon, the most urgent reform would be to grant Lebanese women full citizenship and nationality rights" says Farah Zahr, a young activist of Lebanon's March 20 protests.</p> <p>While some talk about an Arab renaissance or resurrection, the expectations should face the realities: high rates of unemployment and illiteracy, deficient women's rights regulations and laws. Women who make up a large component of the revolutions should be aware, organized and lobby for equal participation in the political and public life and in the making of the new Arabic modern states. They should be able to rewrite their countries' histories alongside men.</p> <p><em>The views expressed in this article are the author's own. </em></p> </div> </div> </div> Middle East protests revolution women Tue, 26 Apr 2011 09:54:20 +0000 maya 85 at Machsom Watch: Documenting Checkpoints & Military Courts in Palestine & Israel <div class="image-attach-teaser image-attach-node-81" style="width: 200px;"><a href="/content/machsom-watch-documenting-checkpoints-military-courts-palestine-israel"><img src="" alt="Machsom Watch Site" title="Machsom Watch Site" class="image image-thumbnail " width="200" height="88" /></a></div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-content"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>On a cold February morning in 2001, five pioneering Israeli women - Ronnee Jaeger, Adi Kuntsman, Yehudit Keshet, Yael Lavi-Jenner and Stephanie Black - arrived at Checkpoint 300 between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Inspired by similar actions in Guatemala, Ronnee Jaeger encouraged this group of women, who saw themselves as subversive and radical, to challenge the Israeli military on it's own ground. The five women who started Machsom Watch had a clear agenda - to monitor the behaviour of the military, monitor (and protect) Palestinian Human Rights and bear witness to what was happening. 'Machsom' is a Hebrew word meaning 'barrier' or 'checkpoint'.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Why We Like It</span></p> <p>While Machsom Watch is not expressly about 'women's rights' we believe it is an important documentation initiative by a group of women's human rights activists in this region. As the histories of Palestine and Israel have unfolded against the waves of Intifadas, persistent violent conflict, the changing political formations in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the blockading of Gaza, the women volunteers of Machsom Watch have been quietly documenting daily events. Their focus is on reporting incidents occuring at all the checkpoints across Palestine, and in Israeli military courts. They compile summaries of events and highlight certain key themes and concerns. By doing so, Machsom Watch have built up an impressive database of incidents that is a testament to the actions of the military.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">We Liked the Map!</span></p> <p>One of their earlier websites displayed detailed observation data in the form of a map. Their&nbsp; current <a href="">website </a>does not use the mapping function any longer, preferring to organise information into videos, photos, 'spotlights' and detailed observation reports. Somehow, the map-based visualisation gave a strong sense of stories of the land and location organised neatly together, and that is also the history of this region. Additionally, in using a map a viewer unfamiliar with the area could get a visual sense of how small this area is and how tightly spaces are being policed, how close together (or far away) they are. We hope Machsom Watch will bring back their map!</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Source:</span> Machsom Watch</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Website: </span><a href=""> </a><span style="text-decoration: underline;">&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Year: </span>Since 2001<span style="text-decoration: underline;"><br /></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><br /></span></p> </div> </div> </div> checkpoint conflict documentation Israel machsomwatch map military Palestine reports women Wed, 05 Jan 2011 14:38:53 +0000 maya 80 at Illustration: Ninjabi Comics <div class="image-attach-teaser image-attach-node-43" style="width: 200px;"><a href="/content/illustration-ninjabi-comics"><img src="" alt="Ninjabi Comic Strip" title="Ninjabi Comic Strip" class="image image-thumbnail " width="200" height="180" /></a></div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-content"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Ninjabi is a word made up by combining 'ninja' and 'hijabi'. Ninjabi is a comic-strip created by a group of four people who go by the aliases Amethyst, Diamond, Muskaan and Elysium. Ninjabi features a young woman called Noor and her group of friends living in the United States. Ninjabi subverts stereotypes about what it means to be a young woman who wears a hijab, a simple piece of cloth that has come to be much-maligned outside the Arab world. Like many women around the world, Ninjabi portrays Noor believing in the hijab as a source of strength.Ninjabi touches on a number of themes that young women, and American-Muslims, can relate to, from feeling anger at the stereotyping of Muslims, to worry about an arranged marriage. Ninjabi shows Noor as a 'regular' young woman who deals with multiple cultural values, realities and conflicts as she develops her own hybrid identity.</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Why we like it:</span> Set in America, where there is a great deal of ignorance about and animosity towards Islam and Muslims, Ninjabi creates the potential for understanding and learning. For example, Noor's best friend Ally, a non-Muslim, is depicted as helping Noor keep to her fasts, or challenge other girls who label Noor a 'terrorist'. Moreover, the hijab has been constructed in many Western societies as a symbol of women's oppression and control. Ninjabi effectively challenges this idea by portraying Noor and other hijab-wearing girls as strong, quirky and funny. Ninjabi portrays the women wearing the hijab as more important than the hijab itself. The comic strip also strongly speaks out against Islamophobia in a non-threatening manner that only cartoon characters and comics can.</p> <p>Category: Women's rights visualisations worldwide.</p> <p>Year:Since 2005</p> <p>Source: <a href=""></a></p> </div> </div> </div> America comic strip hijab illustration Islam Muslim ninjabi stereotypes women women's rights Wed, 22 Sep 2010 23:16:39 +0000 maya 44 at