viernes, 20 de enero de 2012

Iran: Parastou Dokouhaki and Marzieh Rasouli detained as a new wave of arrests is carried out in Iran


The international solidarity network Women Living Under Muslim Laws is shocked to learn that the Iranian security forces have carried out a new wave of arrests against journalists and women’s rights activists. This is a worrying development, as it shows the pressure on political activities and prisoners are mounting in Iran.
Parastou Dokouhaki (blogger and women’s rights activist) was arrested on Sunday in Tehran. Security agents entered her home, confiscated her computer and personal effects, and detained her. It was later revealed that she has been formally charged with “propaganda against the state” and is being held and interrogated in Evin Prison.
Parastou used to work with Zanan Magazine, a reform-minded feminist magazine that was active for 16 years before being shut down by the authorities in 2008; likewise, she was also active in the White Scarf Campaign, which fought for women’s access to public stadiums in Iran.  In 2007, Dokouhaki and 32 other women’s rights activists were arrested while attending protests against the trial of fellow activist Sussan Tahmasbi. They were charged with “gathering and colluding against national security, disturbing public order, and disobeying the police”.  However, Dokouhaki was acquitted of all charges and released.
Despite her earlier involvement with numerous Reformist publications and her previous activism, Dokouhaki’s family say that she has not been engaged in any political activity in recent years. She has been working as a translator at the well-respected Shariati Foundation. The reasons for her arrest at this time remain very unclear.
Marzieh Rasouli (blogger and journalist) was arrested on Tuesday, also in Tehran. Rasouli has long worked as a freelance journalist, notably for art and cultural publications, but also in recent years for a number of Reformist and independent publications. It has been reported that she is charged with alleged acts against national security and is being held in Evin Prison. Her personal belongings, including her mobile phone and computer, were also confiscated upon her arrest.
WLUML demands that Dokouhaki and Rasouli are given access to their lawyers and their rights respected while in custody. As a party to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, arbitrary arrest and detention go against Iran’s legal obligations; all those detained must be given a swift trial by due process or be immediately released.



Please take action by writing to:
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,
Office of the President,
Pasteur Avenue,
13168-43311,
Tehran,
Iran.
Email: dr-ahmadinejad@president.ir


Leader of the Islamic Republic
Ayatollah Sayed ‘Ali Khamenei
The Office of the Supreme Leader
Islamic Republic Street – End of
Shahid Keshvar Doust Street, Tehran,
Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: info_leader@leader.ir
Salutation: Your Excellency

Head of the Judiciary
Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani
Karimkhan Zand Avenue
Sana’i Avenue, Corner of Ally 17, No 152
Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: avaei@Dadgostary-tehran.ir
Salutation: Your Excellency


Director, Human Rights Headquarters of Iran
His Excellency Mohammad Javad Larijani
Bureau of International Affairs, Office
of the Head of the Judiciary, Pasteur
St., Vali Asr Ave. South of Serah-e
Jomhouri, Tehran 1316814737,
Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: bia.judi@yahoo.com
Fax: + 98 21 5 537 8827

http://www.wluml.org/action/iran-parastou-dokouhaki-and-marzieh-rasouli-detained-new-wave-arrests-carried-out-iran

jueves, 19 de enero de 2012

L’islam où l’histoire d’une révolution féminine avortée…

Avec l’avènement de l’islam, une dynamique de libération des femmes s’est mise en place, ce qui a ébranlé le système social de l’époque fondé essentiellement sur un régime impitoyablement patriarcal.

Encouragées par les directives du Coran et l’enseignement du prophète qui incitait les femmes à « parler pour elles mêmes », ces dernières, vont investir le champ social, transgresser les lois tribales et tenter de rompre avec les coutumes ancestrales humiliantes… Elles vont entrer en islam, contre l’approbation de la famille, du pouvoir tribal et politique de l’époque… Elles vont contribuer de manière inestimable à la diffusion du message, par leurs sacrifices, leur résistance aux sévices physiques et psychologiques dus à leur engagement religieux… S’exiler au nom de leur foi… S’allier politiquement et spirituellement avec le Messager…

En collaborant côte à côte avec les hommes de la nouvelle communauté, ces femmes vont donc prendre la parole, revendiquer leurs droits, participer à toutes les actions politiques entreprises à l’époque, s’investir matériellement, physiquement et moralement pour la cause de l’islam… Il s’agit bien là d’une révolution féminine en plein désert d’Arabie où la révélation coranique et l’enseignement du prophète de l’islam interpellait hommes et femmes à rivaliser dans la piété et le bien de tous… 

Les femmes vont donc massivement prendre leur place au sein de la mosquée avec les hommes, afin de s’instruire, de débattre et de s’associer aux décisions prises par la communauté… Des siècles après, nos mosquées sont devenus des espaces fermés, réservés aux hommes alors que les femmes sont reléguées dans des espaces exigus, coupées du reste de la communauté, par des murs et des rideaux opaques… Condamnées à s’exiler cette fois dans les arrières fonds des centres du savoir et du pouvoir, nos femmes musulmanes d’aujourd’hui vont se résigner, se soumettre et pire, transmettre leur « renonciation » et leur « ignorance » à leurs descendants…

Un recensement historique a révélé qu’à la mort du prophète il y avait une élite savante et érudite constituée de 8 000 personnes dont 1 000 femmes. L’émancipation véhiculée par l’islam en un quart de siècle a fait qu’une personne sur huit de l’élite savante était une femme. Ce constat est à lui seul édifiant. 
Comment les premières femmes musulmanes ont-elles pu accéder à ces espaces de liberté, de savoir et de pouvoir il y a quatorze siècles au nom de l’islam alors qu’aujourd’hui, on leur interdit l’accès à ces mêmes espaces au nom de ce même islam ? !

Que s’est-il passé, entre temps, pour que l’on puisse, au nom même de l’islam, permettre ce que le texte sacré et la tradition du prophète ont réprouvé et des fois même proscrit ?

Comment peut-on approuvé que des coutumes patriarcales se substituent au texte sacré jusqu’à faire croire que le Coran est lui-même un texte fondamentalement patriarcal ! Or il n’y a rien de plus faux que cette assertion puisque depuis le début de la révélation, l’islam a, bien au contraire, lutté contre les traditions et les coutumes patriarcales fortement ancrées dans cette région d’Arabie.

On peut même affirmer que le Coran est un texte anti-patriarcal puisque dans de nombreux versets il y a une critique et même un refus catégorique des principales formes de culture patriarcale.
En effet, le Coran refuse radicalement l’un des fondements de base du patriarcat à savoir celui de « Dieu le Père – mâle » qui perpétue une réelle continuité entre le Père – Dieu et le père mâle et dont le pouvoir va s’étendre à celui du mari qui par droit divin va exercer son pouvoir sur l’épouse . Ce concept de Dieu le père, est d’ailleurs antinomique avec le concept de l’unicité de l’islam.

Le Coran condamne aussi la sacralisation des prophètes comme ‘pères’ de leurs communautés et critique durement et dans plusieurs versets ceux qui suivent aveuglément le chemin de leurs pères : « Et lorsqu’on leur dit : ‘ conformez vous à ce que Dieu a révélé’ ; ils rétorquent : ‘Non, nous devons plutôt nous conformer à que nous ont légué nos pères’, et quoi les suivraient-ils même si ils étaient dans l’erreur ? » Coran 2 ; 170 .

Le Coran a donc bel et bien fustigé ce pouvoir patriarcal représenté par l’autorité du mâle et l’on ne peut accepter, qu’au nom même de ce que l’islam dénonce, on puisse avaliser des coutumes patriarcales discriminatoires.
Il est donc consternant de voir que l’élan de libération amorcé par la dernière religion révélée a été brisé en cours de chemin. Le discours sur la femme, tel qu’il fût formulé par le Coran et la Sunna, il y a plus de 1 400 ans, était résolument plus émancipateur, nettement différent voire des fois même opposé à celui que l’on nous propose aujourd’hui.

Alors que le Coran transmettait un message égalitaire avec des droits et des responsabilités, qu’il parlait des femmes dans un but de revalorisation évident, qu’il répondait à leurs requêtes… qu’il dialoguait avec elles… qu’il était question de participation politique, de Bayâa, d’exil politique, de participation sociale, de revendications de droits, de liberté d’expression… Aujourd’hui, l’essentiel du discours sur la femme dans la rhétorique islamique se focalise autour de concepts moralisateurs abstraits et surtout très infantilisants !

La femme est Fitna – tentation, la femme est Awrah – illicite au regard, on polémique sur son retour obligatoire au foyer et on insiste de manière réellement démesurée sur son comportement vestimentaire et sur son corps…
La majorité du discours islamique actuel sur la femme se résume à son corps, à la manière la plus appropriée pour le couvrir, à ce qui est licite ou illicite en matière d’habits, à l’interdiction de se parfumer, de parler à haute voix, de rire ? ! Est-ce donc, à cela, que se résume l’essentiel du message de l’islam pour une femme ? Où est donc passé l’esprit libérateur du Coran et toutes les initiatives qui ont été proposées par le texte pour initier un véritable statut d’autonomie aux femmes ?

Il est vrai qu’il y a dans l’islam, comme dans toutes les religions monothéistes d’ailleurs, une éthique du comportement et des valeurs fondamentales de décence par rapport au corps, à suivre et à respecter. Mais on oublie trop souvent que les hommes sont tout autant concernés que les femmes par cette « décence » physique… Et puis, on ne peut réduire l’essentiel du message spirituel à un code vestimentaire, comme la question récurrente du voile et à des discours perpétuels sur les dangers de la tentation féminine et sur des thèmes focalisés à outrance sur le corps de la femme…Le voile est devenu une priorité voire la priorité absolue pour toute femme musulmane qui se respecte et des musulmanes en se voilant vont réduire l’essentiel de leurs revendications à cette symbolique qui à force d’être rabâchée va perdre de sa crédibilité et se transformer en un étendard vide de sens et ô combien dérisoire devant d’autres revendications prioritaires ! 

Au- delà de la « recommandation » coranique du voile (le Coran parle de Khimar) qui ne peut être ni imposée ni interdite puisque cela répondrait à la même logique totalitaire, c’est à la femme et à elle seule de choisir d’en définir le sens et à personne d’autre ! Ce voile prétendu  symbole de l’oppression des femmes chez certains,   est devenu à force de tapage médiatique et à travers une construction idéologique entretenue, le symbole  d’un véritable repoussoir, qui génère, aussi bien en occident qu’en terre d’islam, de véritables réactions passionnelles ! 

Finalement, c’est le même type de discours que l’on retrouve de part et d’autre, d’une part celui qui veut libérer les femmes de cet islam qui les opprime et qui les « couvrent » un peu trop et   qui reste obsédé, d’une autre manière, par le corps de la femme qu’il veut dans ce cas « dé-couvrir » .Alors que d’autre part, il y a celui qui focalise l’essentiel du message spirituel autour d’un corps de la femme qu’il faudrait « sur-couvrir » car il représenterait à lui seul la VISIBILITE de l’islam en tant qu’identité à préserver   et  le voile  résumerait à lui seul toute la morale de l’islam…
Dans les deux cas, et à quelques différences près, on est devant une idéologie sexiste qui fait fi de l’intelligence de la femme, qui fait l’impasse sur sa dignité d’être humain et sur sa capacité personnelle à faire ses propres choix au nom de ses convictions.

L’esprit de cette dynamique de libération entreprise par la révélation a donc été contourné et l'impulsion qu’a connu la question de la femme musulmane a été petit à petit minimisée au détriment d’une juridiction qui s’est acharnée à verrouiller toutes les issues laissées ouvertes, aussi bien par les orientations coraniques que par la tradition du prophète.

La philosophie du « gradualisme » prôné par le Coran qui, entre autres, visait une libération et une émancipation progressives, a été ignoré ce qui a favorisé la régression du statut de la femme.
La révolution féminine fut donc rapidement avortée et les coutumes patriarcales discriminatoires ont vite fait de reprendre le dessus et d’orienter le discours religieux vers une restriction des libertés acquises, au nom d’une morale religieuse vidée de sa quintessence.

La décadence du monde musulman s’accompagnera inévitablement d’une décadence encore plus marquée du statut de la femme du fait de deux grandes tragédies, d’abord celles des multiples conflits politiques inhérents au pouvoir autocratique et la persistance de l’esclavage. Alors que le Coran énonce à plusieurs reprises des dispositions pour l’abolition progressive de l’esclavage en déclarant tout acte de libération comme un acte méritoire, les musulmans vont, durant des siècles, faire perdurer cette pratique, qui concernant les femmes,  va contribuer à institutionnaliser  leur claustration dans les harems.  

Et durant des siècles, alors qu’on fermera la porte de l’Ijtihad  – outil indispensable pour l’évolution de la pensée islamique – on ouvrira celle des « spéculations juridiques » à l’instar de « Sad Addarai », véritable dispositif juridique de dissuasion qui a largement contribué a institutionnalisé la culture officielle de subordination des femmes. Conçu comme un véritable « code préventif » autrement dit un « code de la peur », son contenu sera, du moins en ce qui concerne le statut de la femme, fortement répressif. Même si il est certain que certains savants ont élaboré ce genre de « code » dans le souci de préserver leurs sociétés respectives d’éventuelles dépravations des mœurs. Il n’en reste pas moins qu’il y a eu de véritables dépassements et des lois très contraignantes concernant les acquis islamiques en matière de droit et de liberté pour les femmes. 

C’est ainsi que l’on verra de nombreuses lois interdirent au nom de « Sad Addarai », des droits des plus élémentaires en islam. Comme le droit à l’éducation et au savoir qui sera pendant longtemps dénié aux femmes au nom de la prévention des mœurs sociales et des règles morales ! Or, quand on dénie aux femmes le droit au savoir on leur dénie le droit de justice et dans les deux cas on est en flagrante contradiction avec les principes de base de l’islam.

Elaborer ce genre de lois juridiques qui prône des interdits à tout bout de champ afin de se prémunir contre les risques toujours probables d’une dépravation des mœurs est la preuve que notre pensée est une pensée mortellement « assiégée » ! C’est, en plus d’être une solution de facilité, une démarche qui témoigne de la démission intellectuelle de notre système de pensée islamique incapable de faire face aux véritables problèmes de nos sociétés . Or, il ne s’agit pas d’interdire par anticipation mais plutôt d’éduquer afin d’éveiller la quête du sens et de la conscience, seules à même de nous prémunir contre toute amoralité et contre toute débauche… Il s’agit d’élaborer une véritable éthique de la gestion des libertés à partir d’une éducation spirituelle appropriée qui tienne compte des réalités subtiles de chaque contexte…

Ceux, parmi les savants, qui ont utilisé de façon rigoureuse, ce concept « préventif » de « Sad Addarai », ont sûrement tenté, de bonne foi, de façonner ainsi la communauté islamique afin d’atteindre une supposée « cité islamique idéale » Or, ceci est de l’ordre de l’utopie car même du temps du prophète il n’y avait pas de communauté islamique idéale ! !

Ceci est d’ailleurs de l’ordre de l’impossible à l’échelle de la réalité humaine… Dieu a voulu que la diversité humaine soit un principe de base dans cette vie et même une véritable épreuve… Il a voulu que la société humaine soit une société où le bon côtoie le mauvais, où le bien se confronte au mal, où les bommes œuvres rivalisent avec les mauvaises ou les moins bonnes… Notre vie sur terre n’est pas celle des anges qui eux sont des êtres parfaits évoluant dans un monde de perfection… Notre vie est celle de toutes les expériences humaines… faites de contraintes et de réussite, d’échecs et de tourmentes, de drames et de joies, de bonheur et de détresse, pour tester notre endurance, notre résistance, notre foi et notre soumission…
Comment peut-on gérer cette réalité avec des doctrines immobiles et figées à mille lieux de nos préoccupations quotidiennes ?…

Comment justement faire face à la complexité de nos réalités sociales quand on reste emprisonné dans des juridictions qui en plus d’avoir été légiférées dans des contextes radicalement différents, sont parfois en profonde contradiction avec les principes vecteurs du message coranique ? !

Comment faire revivre alors cet élan de libération prôné par l’islam de la révélation mais étouffé dans les confins d’une histoire islamique qui se maintient dans un silence effroyable ?

Comment faire revivre cet élan dans le cœur des musulmans mais surtout des musulmanes qui en tant que femmes sont les premières concernées par ce déni de justice ?

Comment pourrait-on convaincre ceux ou celles qui semblent résister à toute cette dynamique de réformisme par crainte de se perdrent eux-mêmes… ?

Comment leur expliquer que l’on ne peut justement rester fidèles à l’islam, sans renouveau, sans conscience critique, sans réflexion profonde, sans débat constructif ?…
Asma Lamrabet
http://www.asma-lamrabet.com/html/default.htm

lunes, 16 de enero de 2012

Lebanese Women in their Struggle To Live Free From Violence





BEIRUT: Women and men from across Lebanon marched together Saturday to call for changing the law governing rape crimes and support for victims of such acts.

The march, which began at noon in the central district of Sanayah, Beirut, and ended in Parliament square, drew over 600 people. Marchers held signs saying, "It is time to hear the screams of all the mothers and daughters the law has silenced,” “Change the laws against marital rape,” and “Skirt length is not an invitation.”

Meanwhile, men attending held signs saying, “Manhood is not coercion,” “Real men take no for an answer,” and "I respect my mother. The law should too."

The march was organized by feminist collective Nasawiya with the goals of raising awareness of the crime and protesting a lack of legislation against spousal rape as well as laws that drop sentences for rapists who agree to marry their victims. Organizers are also calling for better facilities for rape victims to report the crime.

“Although I’m a man, this is important to me because we all have sisters, mothers, friends and cousins who are affected by this,” said Michael Oghia, a sociology student at the American University of Beirut (AUB) who also runs the blog LOVEanon, which focus on love and relationships in Lebanon.

“If anything is going to change, men will need to be a part of it,” Oghia, who attended the rally, said. “Men are part of the problem, and they can also be part of the solution.”

Nick Jensen-Thomas, a psychology student at AUB, was also one of the men showing his support at the demonstration. He said he was attending the demonstration for several reasons.

“There’s a culture of rape, and it’s promoted that men should have a domineering stance, especially sexually,” he said. “It’s not just particular to Lebanon. It happens everywhere. I’d march against it in the U.S. and I’m marching against it in Lebanon.”

Six 17-year-old girls who were there for a project they had chosen to do for their scouts, said they were there because they supported the demonstration.

Reem Araj said: "We are all the women of tomorrow. We are all exposed to this scandal, everyday."

"You can't walk at night. You can't walk in the streets. Even if I want to go to the gym I have to be careful,” Youmna Berbery, another scout, said.

Nasawiya had set up a Facebook page, "A Call to Demonstrate against Rape," to organize the event, which by Saturday had more than 1,600 online members – including those who couldn’t attend, but who showed their support nonetheless.

Writing on the event’s Facebook page Saturday morning, Jana Mezher said: “Supporting you all! It's a really good idea! I love this country. But it’s time to change it to raise our voice so they can be heard. You all Lebanese women and girls have to go down today and fight rape!”

On his Twitter stream January 12, Prime Minister Najib Mikati wrote, “As a PM in office, I can’t be in the demo... but I will support the Lebanese women’s noble cause #FightRape, no matter what!”

But for others, Lebanon should not even need to have such a march.

Fatima Karhib, a 20-year-old college student was watching the event from afar. She supported what the protesters were doing, but said events like this were not for her.

"It should have already happened," she said of Lebanon’s existing laws regarding rape.



Lebanese men and women march against rape

January 14, 2012 05:18 PM (Last updated: January 15, 2012 12:18 AM)



jueves, 12 de enero de 2012

Les femmes veulent déffendre leurs acquis

Tunisie : « Les femmes veulent défendre leurs acquis »






La Tunisie est en ébullition. Il y a un an, le président Ben Ali quittait le pouvoir, et les premières élections libres se sont déroulées il y a quelques mois. Plus que jamais, les Tunisiennes se sont battues pour leurs droits et sont bien décidées à poursuivre leur combat. Très active pendant la « révolution de jasmin », l’Association des femmes tunisiennes démocrates vient de recevoir le prix Simone-de-Beauvoir pour la liberté des femmes. A cette occasion, nous avons rencontré Ahlem Belhadj, présidente de l’association, et Saida Rached, secrétaire générale.

ELLE.fr : Avec le départ de Ben Ali, le début de la révolution et les élections, quel regard portez-vous sur l’année qui vient de s’écouler ?

Ahlem Belhadj : 2011 a été une année magnifique. Nous avons été débarrassés de Ben Ali, de la dictature…. Nous avons l’espoir de pouvoir bâtir une société égalitaire, un état démocratique. C’est ce que nous voulons, au sein de l’Association des femmes tunisiennes démocrates. Nous avons toujours tout fait pour articuler la lutte pour l’égalité entre hommes et femmes et la justice sociale.

Saida Rached : Les Tunisiens ont enfin eu leur mot à dire en tant que citoyens et citoyennes. Durant la révolution, il y a eu une très forte participation des femmes, qui ont donc pu faire l’expérience de la citoyenneté égalitaire. La chute de la dictature est pour nous un événement très important. Notre association a été partie prenante de la révolution, en étant présente dans toutes les commissions, comme la Haute Instance, qui a imposé la parité dans les listes électorales, ou l’observatoire des élections.

ELLE.fr : Justement, les femmes ont eu une vraie place lors dernières élections…

Ahlem Belhadj : Les élections ont été l’occasion d’une grande avancée, puisque la parité au sein des listes électorales a été adoptée (le 11 avril 2011, ndlr). Certes, seulement 7% des femmes se présentant ont été têtes de liste, mais leur présence était quand même forte. Après, nous avons été confrontées à un problème : les mentalités n’ont pas toujours accepté cette participation. Parmi les membres de notre association, certaines étaient présentes sur des listes et comme elles portaient le projet d’une société égalitaire, elles ont davantage été exposées à des campagnes diffamatoires.

Saida Rached : Tout le monde n’était pas forcément préparé à la parité, mais cette exigence a véritablement mis la société civile devant un nouveau défi, une nouvelle façon de considérer la politique. Les femmes ont été sur le devant de la scène.

ELLE.fr : Qu’est-ce que la révolution a changé pour votre association ?

Saida Rached : Nous pouvons davantage aller vers les femmes même si le terrain est plutôt difficile. Au temps de la dictature, il y avait un féminisme d’Etat, qui consistait à mettre en vitrine le code du statut personnel des femmes pour montrer à quel point le pays était en avance et accordait une vraie place aux Tunisiennes. Mais l’Etat n’allait pas au fond des choses. Notre association subissait également des pressions, était interdite dans les médias… Puisque nous ne faisions pas partie de la mouvance du « féminisme d’Etat », nous étions d’emblée dans l’opposition.

Par Sophie de Chivré - Le 12/01/2012

Source : http://www.elle.fr/Societe/Les-enquetes/Tunisie-Les-femmes-veulent-defendre-leurs-acquis-1869282

miércoles, 11 de enero de 2012

Lebanon to protest rape law



The march, according to Nasawiya, will be to demand the following:
  • We, the women who reside in Lebanon, excuse ourselves from playing the decorative role that has been imposed on us. 
  • We take to the streets today to say that we are aware and knowledgeable about the methodical war that state and society have waged on our bodies and our safety through their political parties and leaders. 
  • From now on, we will not accept empty promises that are heaped upon us every time we call for our rights.
  • We will not give in to patience. We will not bite our wounds and postpone the battles of today to tomorrow. 
  • Our voices will be louder than the bickering between your parties and your sporadic yet connected wars.
Nasawiya believes:
  1. Sexism --  a devastating result of the feudal/patriarchal culture that we live in -- is a major social problem that we should work to eradicate, especially since it is deeply related to other social problems, such as classism, heterosexism, capitalism, racism, sectarianism, etc. Therefore, we must fight all forms of violence, discrimination, and exploitation that are based on gender, sexuality, able-bodiedness, ethnicity, race, religion, class, etc.
  2. As women, we have the right to a positive self-image and an emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy life.
  3. As women, we have the right to our bodies and our sexualities. In other words, women should be free to express their sexuality, free to make a choice about engaging or not engaging in sexual acts and/or relationships, free to choose whether they want to marry or not, whether they want to undergo an abortion or not. Women must also have easier access to helpful and non-judgmental sexual health services, as well as sexual education.
  4. We must work to eliminate all forms of harassment, and all forms of gender-based violence, verbal, physical, and sexual, wherever they happen.
  5. All women should have equal rights of employment, and equal treatment and pay in the workplace.
  6. Women should be encouraged to enter the fields of study and work that are currently dominated by men, such as sciences, sports, etc.
  7. Domestic migrant workers are employees and should have all the rights of employment, starting with respect and equality.
  8. We have a responsibility to be smart consumers since what we buy and where we buy from are political as well as personal choices that affect us all.
  9. We should encourage women to start women-friendly, workers-friendly and environmentally friendly small businesses. Women must play an active role in the political process, and lead the way in political reform.
  10. Women must have all their citizenship rights.
  11. Women must assume more leadership roles, in the private and public spheres, to reflect their central role in their communities.
  12. We have to promote feminist art, women-friendly media, and women’s studies courses and institutes.
  13. We should respect our natural environment, as exploitation of nature is parallel to the exploitation of women.
  14. We should support other feminists in the Arab world, the global south and the rest of the world, who are working towards a similar vision of a better world.
If you are in Lebanon, do join the march on January 14, spread the word and support in any way you can.


http://michcafe.blogspot.com/2012/01/lebanon-to-protest-rape-law.html
http://www.nasawiya.org/web/

"SOBRE CAMELLOS, DANZA DEL VIENTRE, ESQUIZOFRENIA Y DEMÁS PSEUDODESASTRES" Joumana Haddad







Querido occidental:[......................................]

Aunque soy lo que se dice una "mujer árabe", yo, y muchas mujeres igual que yo, vestimos como nos da la gana, vamos a donde nos place y decimos lo que queremos.... Aunque soy lo que se dice una "mujer árabe", yo, y muchas mujeres igual que yo, no llevamos velo, no estamos domeñadas, no somos analfabetas, no estamos oprimidas, y desde luego, no somos sumidas.Aunque soy lo que se dice una "mujer árabe", yo, y muchas mujeres igual que yo, hemos adquirido un nivel de formación elevado, tenemos una vida profesional muy activa y ganamos más que muchos hombres árabes (y occidentales) que conocemos.Aunque soy lo que se dice una "mujer árabe", yo, y muchas mujeres igual que yo, no vivmos en tiendas de campaña, no montamos en camellos y no sabemos bailar la danza del vientre (no se ofenda si pertenece al "bando progresista", a pesar del mundo abierto y globalizado del siglo XXI, todavía hay quien tiene esa imagen de nosotras).Y por último, y no por ello menos importante: aunque soy lo que se dice una "mujer árabe", yo, y muchas mujeres igual que yo, nos parecemos mucho a... ¡USTED!Del libro "Yo maté a Sherazade, Confesiones de una mujer árabe furiosa", de Joumana Haddad

martes, 10 de enero de 2012

Women’s rights in Morocco: from the private to public sphere





Rabat - According to a recent study by Morocco’s High Commission for Planning, the national institute for statistical analysis, 68 per cent of Moroccan women have experienced domestic violence and 48 per cent have been subjected to psychological abuse. 

This is a shocking statistic and reveals how much more there is still left to be done in terms of women’s rights. But the encouraging news is that women's organisations in Morocco over the past 20 years have managed to transform the issue of domestic violence from a private concern to a public and political issue.

Women’s rights associations began emerging in the 1990s to raise awareness about the alarming violence and discrimination women were subjected to and to change the situation. 

The Family Law, which was first drafted in 1957, allowed marriage at a young age and stipulated that the onus was on women to prove they were victims of domestic violence if they wanted to use this as a reason for divorce. The law also meant that women wishing for divorce could be forced by a judge to return to their husbands if they had tried to leave and been asked to return. In this way, violence against Moroccan women was “legitimised”. 

Changing this reality became the priority of the women’s movement in Morocco. To achieve reform, women’s rights groups organised roundtable discussions, petitions and workshops to analyse and modify legislation. One such campaign, led by The Union of Women's Action (UAF) in 1992, called for reform of the conservative personal status code for women and raised public awareness about the increase in incidents of violence against women – something that had not been explicitly acknowledged by the government or by the general public. 

In 1993, the UAF petition led to legislative amendments to the personal status code. One of the main changes was that women gained the right to designate their own guardian, a male relative who signs a marriage contract in the name of the woman. Previously, women had no say in this matter. With the revision, however, a marriage could no longer be performed without at least the indirect consent of the woman. 

Although these actions introduced only minor changes to women’s rights in the country, at the very least, women’s issues had clearly made it to the public sphere.

In 2002 the Minister of Women’s Affairs – a position created in 1998 – developed a national strategy to combat violence against women in partnership with women’s organisations. Since then, they and the Ministry of Social Affairs, Solidarity and Family have organised a yearly national campaign calling for measures and mechanisms that protect women from sexual harassment and domestic violence.

As a result, the issue of violence against women has received attention from political leaders and the general public. Many government departments have since created units on gender issues. And to address gender inequality, Morocco adopted gender responsive budgeting in 2006, a process in which women’s issues are taken into consideration in national plans and actions.

By ratifying the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1993 the Moroccan government undertook measures to harmonise its national laws with CEDAW provisions. Between 2002 and 2007, it reformed the personal status law even further, along with the labour code, the penal code and the nationality law which, when revised, allowed women to pass their nationality to their children.

In addition, the constitution was amended in June 2011 to address the supremacy of international gender laws over national ones. 

Under significant pressure from civil society, Morocco committed to implementing national legislation to end violence against women and to work actively to implement international agreements with the same goal. 

A coalition called Spring of Dignity, comprised of 22 women’s organisations, submitted a memorandum to the Minister of Justice last year with recommended amendments to the penal code. Their concern is that the code does not punish perpetrators in cases of rape. In fact, according to the penal code, both the victim and the rapist can be considered guilty of engaging in prostitution, especially if the victim is 18 or older, regardless of any other circumstances, such as the victim having been trafficked, which would then require special consideration and treatment.

Women’s groups are fully aware that reforms to the family code, the penal code, the labour code and the nationality law could not have occurred without the close collaboration of all stakeholders and without major mobilisation by diverse women’s organisations. Though some forces are trying to hinder the progress of democracy and women’s rights, Morocco has embarked upon a process of change. A recent amendment of the penal code that legalises abortion – subjected to certain conditions – is another symbol of hope for Moroccan women.

We know that the journey towards true social justice is long and that there is still much to do, but if women’s organisations continue their work with the same strength and commitment as they have demonstrated in the past 20 years, they will achieve their goals and ensure that future generations enjoy their rights – regardless of their gender.

Fatima Outaleb

 Fatima Outaleb is a member of the Union of Women's Action (UAF) Board of Directors in Morocco. This article was written for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).

sábado, 7 de enero de 2012

Egipto teme avance de “policía religiosa”





 Los primeros resultados de las elecciones parlamentarias de Egipto apuntan una mayoría islamista que genera grandes expectativas entre un reducido grupo de personas muy religiosas.

En algunas partes del país, los devotos intolerantes ya han amenazado a peluquerías, mujeres vestidas “indecentemente” y dueños de tiendas. Ahora, proponen fundar una “policía religiosa” siguiendo el modelo saudita.

La industria del turismo, de gran peso a nivel nacional, ya vivió un duro golpe el año pasado durante las revueltas que culminaron con la dimisión del ex presidente Hosni Mubarak. Ahora teme que el avance de la propuesta islamista pueda volver a tener impacto en el sector.

En Riad, cuando el muecín se hace oír por encima de los tejados, las tiendas de la capital cierran rápidamente sus puertas. Los barbudos de la “autoridad para el fomento de la virtud y la prevención del vicio” ordenan que los comerciantes y vendedores vayan a cumplir con sus rezos. A las mujeres que llevan la cabeza cubierta con un pañuelo no muy bien colocado, les dicen: “¡Cúbrete bien, mujer!”.


En Egipto, hasta ahora las cosas habían sido muy distintas. Pero en estas últimas semanas, hubo testigos y medios que hablaron de una campaña de religiosos fanáticos.

En El Cairo, un hombre barbudo le dio una cachetada a una mujer en la calle porque llevaba jeans. Algunos peluqueros fueron “visitados” por islamistas que les querían prohibir afeitar a los hombres. En Alejandría, algunos comerciantes que vendían árboles de plástico de Navidad fueron amenazados.

En la provincia de Al Kaljubija, a las peluquerías acudieron jóvenes que les explicaron a las mujeres que trabajaban en esos locales que su labor era “un pecado para el Islam”. Las mujeres no se dejaron intimidar e incluso golpearon a los visitantes

EL CAIRO/ESTAMBUL (DPA).— .Jueves 05 de enero de 2012
El Universalhttp://www.eluniversal.com.mx/internacional/75974.html

miércoles, 4 de enero de 2012

Shirin Ebadi: who defines Islam?




"Egyptian women are lucky in one way. They have witnessed the predicament of Iranian women and seen how the Islamic state has hijacked the Iranian revolution, changed the laws and reversed women’s gains. My advice to Egyptian women is “do not give way to a government that would force you to choose between your rights and Islam”. I believe that Iran was a lesson for the women in the entire region". Shirin Ebadi in conversation with Deniz Kandiyoti


Deniz Kandiyoti: The wave of protests in the Arab world present new openings as well as uncertainty and danger. As a defender of women’s rights who has been through revolutionary upheaval in Iran, how do you assess the possibilities and dangers?

Shirin Ebadi: I would like to concentrate on Tunisia and Egypt. There are important differences between these cases. The representation of women in civil society is stronger in Tunisia. The Habib Bourgiba government, although non-democratic, helped to promote secularism and changed the laws in favour of women. As a result, the situation of women in Tunisia is more favourable than that of other Arab countries. There are high powered women active in the public sphere. For instance, Sohair Ben Hassan, an extremely progressive and committed woman and one of the leaders of one of the largest Human Rights organisations in Tunisia is also the head of the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH). It is no accident that when the leader of the Islamic movement in Tunisia returned after twenty years of exile the first thing he said was that he was neither Khomeini nor the Taliban.

Deniz Kandiyoti: What about Egypt?

Shirin Ebadi : When I was in Egypt three years ago I was astonished by the number of young women wearing the hijab., They were saying that their parents were not respecting their national identity, that they had found their national identity. They were against the Mubarak regime. There were also communist and secular movements in opposition but they were easily harassed and couldn’t carry on with their activities. But they couldn’t prevent the Islamists from organizing- you can’t close down the mosques. As a result the non-Islamist opposition grew weaker, and the Muslim Brotherhood is now the most powerful opposition group in Egypt. But the example of Iran is frightening to the women of Egypt and they do not want to share the same fate. To alleviate such fears the Muslim Brotherhood said that the Egyptian uprising was not an Islamic uprising, but one in which Muslims and Christians have fought alongside one another. It promised to support and to participate in a non-Islamist government. Are they going to stand by their promises? Or will they change their stance if they consolidate their power? It is too early to judge. Egyptian women are lucky in one way - they have witnessed the predicament of Iranian women and seen how the Islamic state has hijacked the Iranian revolution, changed the laws and reversed women’s gains. Therefore they will stand up and fight for their rights. I believe that Iran was a lesson for the women in the entire region.

Deniz Kandiyoti: If you were to give a piece of advice to the women’s movement in Egypt, what would this advice be?

Shirin Ebadi: My most important piece of advice to Egyptian women is “do not give way to a government that would force you to choose between your rights and Islam”. Do not let them put you in that bind. Governments that invoke the name of ‘Islam’ in their self-definition will face people with this dilemma and this false choice. They will say “either you are Muslim and accept our laws or you are not Muslim”. That is exactly the way the government has operated in Iran. When you face someone who comes from a very religious family with this question, she gets a bit hesitant. Therefore, we must not reach a point when a government can accord itself the right to pose this question. Getting to understand Islam well and encouraging women to learn different interpretations of Islam is important. So when governments tell women “this is Islam’, they will be well-equipped to counter their arguments.

Deniz Kandiyoti : Yes, but surely there are authorities who speak in the name of Islam such as the ulama. Women can get educated but will they have any authority?

Shirin Ebadi: It is quite natural that the discourse of the ulama is a paternalistic discourse, but we have to be equipped with the same weapons to be able to prove that Islam can be something different. They may have political power and reject women’s interpretations, but bear that in mind that we are addressing the Muslim people. It is the Muslim population that has to be convinced that they can remain Muslim and have different laws and ambitions. This is the only true way to challenge the legitimacy of the conservative ulama since they get all their power from the people’s obedience. There is also the fact that part of the ulama will take the people’s side, and they will provide interpretations that the people accept. That is exactly what happened in Iran when very high ranking ulama offered interpretations that were totally against the official government line. People have understood that the government does not have a monopoly over Islam, and that is the beginning of people’s awakening.

Deniz Kandiyoti: Do you think that the women’s movement in Egypt and platforms for women’s rights will be able to form broad alliances?

Shirin Ebadi : If Egyptian women see their legal rights endangered, they will definitely get together, they will unite. It was the same in Iran. At the beginning of the revolution there were some people who were not even happy to talk to me. But now these same women speak articulately and with an even more radical voice than mine! Experience shows that when women face tyranny and injustice, they will become united.

Deniz Kandiyoti: Let me act as the devil’s advocate here. There are modern constitutions in many Arab countries that accord men and women equal citizenship rights, but when you look at personal status laws, you see that women do not enjoy equal rights in matters of inheritance, divorce or child custody, not to mention the issue of polygamy. It is therefore possible to argue that women are already deprived of equal rights, and yet this has not galvanized a momentum for unity.

Shirin Ebadi: Let me correct you on this point. None of the constitutions of Islamic countries accord women equal rights. Because there is always a clause that states the laws are conditional upon conformity with Islam. So the constitution may have the appearance of equality in terms of citizenship rights but in reality the laws remain dependent upon the shar’ia and the shar'ia gets interpreted by those in power. The main question that has always been unanswered in the constitutions of these countries is” who defines Islam”?.

Deniz Kandiyoti: Now we are witnessing the drafting of new constitutions. As a lawyer do you think that it is possible to draft constitutions that are able to address the inequality of women?

Shirin Ebadi: It all depends on the political process and how politics plays out. It goes without saying that constitutions should be approved by the majority of the people. Political parties have an important role to play in this respect but the problem in countries under despotic rule for years is that the political parties don’t have that much power and the development of politics has been truncated in general. On the other hand, you must also bear in mind that you can’t achieve ideal rights in a society in one go; it is a step-by-step process. Take what happened in Afghanistan. They wrote a new constitution and gave women a quota in parliament. They did this to bring women out of seclusion into the political world. But we saw that when one woman MP came out to talk about women’s rights in parliament, the other MPs forced her out. In reality, the quota for women has lost its meaning. It is possible to imagine that we can write an ideal constitution. But are we going to achieve the ideal situation with a change of law? I doubt it.

Deniz Kandiyoti: So you are basically saying that the law can only become reality when society is sociologically ready for it.

Shirin Ebadi: Yes, naturally. Because I am a lawyer, I like to talk about the role of law, but law should only be one step ahead of the culture of a society in order to bring improvement and progress. In other words, the rule of law should serve to improve society - and for that very reason it can only be one step ahead. That is why laws that are more than one step ahead get wasted, they remain on paper. For that reason, those rewriting laws must have excellent knowledge of their society and make sure they do not set unattainable goals.

Deniz Kandiyoti: As a human rights lawyer I imagine you endorse the gender equality goals set out in international standard setting instruments. Do you believe that it is possible to close the gap between the rights accorded to women in universal human rights frameworks and the current legal frameworks of Muslim countries?

Shirin Ebadi: Yes, but this can only be a gradual process. Take a society like Bahrain or Libya where polygamy is commonplace. How can you change that law overnight and ban polygamy outright? The first step is to pass a law that stresses that the Qur'an foresees this practice only when absolute justice can be established among spouses, and justice does not only consist of money and material support but also love and care. Therefore, polygamy could remain with more stringent conditions and the woman whose husband gets another wife should have the right to get a divorce. This is not an ideal law, in fact it is a long way from being ideal. But it is the first step. These limitations can condition society and make it more receptive to accept further changes. If they want to change that law overnight, a lot of men will get married anyway and won’t record it, and the women will remain silent. I repeat: we can write a law overnight, but what would be the fate of this law? Would it find favour among the people? The duty of a lawyer is to know the society well that it is writing the law for, and at the same time bear all the human rights criteria in mind in order to steer the society in that direction.

Deniz Kandiyoti: When you say “society” is not ready, do you actually mean men are not ready? Do you think that many women would object to a law restricting or banning polygamy?

Shirin Ebadi: Yes, polygamy is dangerous but men like it! Let me ask you a question: where does patriarchy come from? Does a man only learn it from his father? Has he not seen that his mother has obeyed and that her reaction was to go and cry quietly? Unfortunately, one of the bearers of patriarchal cultures are women, even though they are the victims of it. I compare this to haemophilia, a genetic illness passed from mother to son. Patriarchal culture is conveyed in the same way from mother to son. My argument is: don’t treat human beings as victims but tell them it is their responsibility to fight this culture. When you see women only as victims, you forget their responsibility.

Deniz Kandiyoti: One final thought. You have been talking about the necessity for a gradual process of legal reform .But this process has been going on for a very long time now. For instance, the Ottoman Civic Code proposed as long ago as the end of the 19th century made polygamy more difficult and conditional on the approval of the first wife. Similar reforms have been going on in many parts of the Muslim world. But Khomeini was able to reverse all these efforts overnight.

Shirin Ebadi: No, it did not take Khomeini one day to make these changes. If it had taken one day, people like me wouldn’t be here. Where would I come from? The law changed because they had political power. But society didn’t accept it. For that reason, people took their lives into their own hands and fought against it. At the beginning we were not a very large number for two reasons. One was a political reason. The left and some secular parties were saying that this was no time for discussing these matters, that these were marginal issues that would distract us from our main objectives. The biggest left wing party in Iran, the Tudeh party, told women to wear the hijab. You may be surprised but initially hijab was not compulsory in Iran, only women who worked in government bodies had to wear it, but in the street we could be unveiled. During that period, there was a young girl who was selling the Tudeh communist party paper and she was wearing hijab. Whenever I used to pass her I used to tease her by saying ”l will buy your paper if you take off your hijab” I teased her so much that she went and stood on another corner! But the second reason is that there were fewer educated women compared to now, and the majority were mainly traditional women. Gradually the traditional women came out of their homes and modernity was born on the streets. A woman who comes out on the street cannot be suppressed. A woman who goes to university cannot be suppressed. When a woman works and has her own wages she cannot be suppressed. Therefore, gradually our supporters increased. Women who at the beginning were our enemies are now more radical than I am and I am happy about it. I used to feel lonely at the beginning of the revolution. But now I think we are the majority. The pro-Khomeini faction has never succeeded. His culture has not been consolidated but enforced at the point of a gun. 

Deniz Kandiyoti: You mention the political dangers of secular parties claiming that women’s rights are a secondary matter and that this is not the right time to put them on the agenda, and also the passivity of some of the traditional women in the Arab world. Do you think that in order to become more militant they have to go through the same process of politicisation as the women in Iran?

Shirin Ebadi: There is no need for human beings to reinvent the wheel. We can learn from one another. We can look at Iran and see what happened there. In this respect communication comes as a great help. It is for that very reason that dictators hate open communication.

Deniz Kandiyoti : So are you optimistic about the prospects of women’s movements and women’s rights advocacy in Tunisia and Egypt?

Shirin Ebadi: Yes, I am optimistic. Although I believe that the situation in Tunisia is somewhat better I am also optimistic about Egypt. They will eventually achieve equal rights. They have a period of campaigning ahead of them, this will naturally take time. But eventually it will happen.

Deniz Kandiyoti: Do you see a day when there will be demonstrations of women asking for equal rights with men coming and walking along with them?

Shirin Ebadi: Yes, certainly in Iran. I had some male clients who came to women’s demonstrations, got arrested and went to prison. The fight for women’s rights and democracy are parallel. They are two sides of the same coin. And women who fight for equal rights are part of the fabric of democracy. Iranian men have understood that. They know that the victory of women’s rights is the beginning of democracy.

Deniz Kandiyoti: Women were mobilized during the protests in the Arab streets. They were out there in Bourgiba Avenue in Tunis and Tahrir Square in Cairo. But this has happened before. What guarantee is there that they will not be invited back into their homes after regime change?

Shirin Ebadi: There is no guarantee. This has been the experience of Iranian women who have been fighting for their rights for a century now. The only guarantee is the will of the people in their search for freedom.

Shirin Ebadi, 21 March 2011

About the author
Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian human rights lawyer who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003. In 1975–79 she served as president of Tehran’s city court, but was forced to resign after the 1979 revolution. In the 1980s, she founded the Association for Children’s Rights, and was briefly jailed for her exposure of plans to assassinate dissidents. Among her books are The Rights of the Child: a study of legal aspects of children's rights in Iran (1994), and The History and Documentation of Human Rights in Iran (2000).


lunes, 2 de enero de 2012

Marcela Lagarde cree que la violencia contra las mujeres “es posible erradicarla”



La antropóloga y etnóloga mexicana, “feminista a tiempo completo”, como ella se define, participó en los Encuentros que las asociaciones de Bizkaia y Gipuzkoa organizaron en torno a los usos del tiempo para la participación sociopolítica. Diputada en su país durante tres años, promovió la Ley General de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia y del Delito de Feminicidio en el Código Penal Federal. Aunque le han tentado para participar en el Senado, prefiere implicarse en otros proyectos y desde otros frentes, por ejemplo, desde la Red “Mujeres en plural” y desde sus conferencias, artículos y libros.
Marcela Lagarde asegura que la violencia contra las mujeres es uno de los temas que se ha logrado colocar en el ámbito público. “La hemos sacado del secreto, de la vergüenza, de la culpa, y hemos logrado colocarla como un problema de la sociedad”.
Se siente orgullosa al haber contribuido como diputada de su país a que saliera adelante la Ley General de Acceso de las Mujeres a una Vida Libre de Violencia y del Delito de Feminicidio en el Código Penal Federal: “Esta ley la hicimos después de la española y al contrario que ésta, que sólo trata la violencia en las parejas como violencia de género, la mexicana abarca la violencia de pareja, la familiar, la que pueden ejercer grupos comunitarios, la institucional y la feminicida. Distingue cinco tipos de violencia: física, sexual, económica, psicológica y patrimonial que pueden actuar simultáneamente. Donde no está garantizada la democracia ni el desarrollo para todas las personas, la situación de las mujeres es más arriesgada. Hicimos esa ley pensando en generar las condiciones para garantizar la seguridad de las mujeres en el ámbito privado y en el público y para prevenir cualquier circunstancia que conduzca a las mujeres a una situación de riesgo psicológico, sexual, económico, laboral, educativo o en cualquier espacio”.
Marcela Lagarde es optimista y cree que la violencia contra las mujeres “es posible erradicarla”, pero para ello –agrega– hay que exterminar las condiciones que se dan en sociedades que la promueven a través de la educación informal, de la convivencia cotidiana, del ejemplo que es brutal como recurso pedagógico de la violencia y de los medios masivos de comunicación, que tienen un impacto en el mundo entero impresionante”.