Friday, March 06, 2009

The Women I Celebrate on IWD 2009

On this International Women's Day 2009, when people worldwide unite to
celebrate Women, their struggles, achievements and contributions to Mankind,
the theme this year for the United Nations Organization has been chosen as
"Women and men united against violence against women and girls".

But's the UNO's theme from two years ago :

Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls

followed by the highlighted words :

"Violence against women has yet to receive the priority
attention and resources needed at all levels to tackle it
with the seriousness and visibility necessary."

Secretary-General’s in-depth study on
violence against women (2006)

From that same 2007 page, further down,
noble sentiments
and aspirations:

Eliminating violence against women remains one of the most
serious and urgent
challenges of our time. Every one has a
responsibility to act when confronted with
violence. Each one of
us has a duty to support and sustain a political and social

environment where violence against women and girls is not
tolerated; where friends,
family members, neighbors, men and
women, intervene to prevent perpetrators
to go unpunished.

Same old, same old, the fight goes on. The violence must stop !

Let's stop and think for a moment, folks. Will the violence against women
ever stop
during our
lifetime ? The answer is NO ! Not as long as women
are forced to live in those societies where their demands are made invalid
on the grounds of religious and political law.
The best of the best at the
UNO and its ilk may
have their say, hold a Day, hope and pray but the
violence will never stop.

Rape, Sexual Harassment, Domestic violence and other forms of abuse
occur everywhere all the time.
I have female friends and family members
whose stories of
humiliation and physical violence are forever etched in
my memory.
Now add to that the Internet Age and we see a whole new
era of violence emerging. The Free Speech that we so desire online
comes riddled with questions of just how much may be said without fear
of repercussion. I am thinking of the MySpace 'cyberbullying' case.
And of the unstoppable attacks being perpetrated on women daily by
Moral police and self-appointed Monarchs who are out to
lay down the law, create chaos and ruin via the 'Net.

Lately I was moved to comment after a memorable sentence made by
an Iranian lady, the victim of a
recent blinding acid atack
linked to NP coverage by Tina Kells ).

Speaking to Spain's principal Radio station, Cadena SER, and
seeking retribution from the courts of Iran, she
was granted a tiny iota
of their version of justice, the removal of
ONE of the assailant's eyes:

"They have told us that my two eyes are equal to one of his
because in my country each man is worth two women.
They are not the same," she told Cadena SER.
~ from Yahoo news

That one sentence reminded me that Iran, like all Islamic countries
will always follow its own laws as long as the religious leaders

have their way. Leaders who are laying down the law even in
Western countries.

Because many of the oppressed women do not have the resources
and the education to free themselves and are unwilling to give
up their
family and religious ties, they must find new means of
fighting back
. Unseen by the watchful eyes of society and the
knowing that they face public humiliation, disgrace,
slander, ex-communication,
violent beatings and possibly death,
these are the women I celebrate first on this day in March
designated International Women's Day. For with them, and the
others who support them in what must be their never-ending fight,
we are
forced to learn and share their stories, in the hope of
improving the lot of women everywhere.

Below, a photo and poem by Firoze Shakir, a friend who is
quite possibly the most extraordinary Blogger in the Universe.

Muslim Woman in a Mans World

Muslim Woman in a Mans World by firoze shakir photographerno1.
she begs
while they pray
her words
they wont hear anyway
muslim male dominated society
mullah powered
fatwa generated
fire and brimstone
a woman has no say
born in a cradle
to her grave
she will go by the way
triple talaq
a sword hanging on her head
either way they slay
a mother a sister
a daughter
an aunt
she is a woman
you dont
need to repay
a toy
made of blood sinews
and a bit of clay
her world stark
black and white
no shades of grey

used with kind permission from Firoze Shakir on Flickr

LINKS statement from 1995 on Blank Noise: challenging sexual harassment in India

The Plight of the Afghan Woman from

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a leader in the fight for Women's Rights. Amongst the
100 Most Influential Persons of the World, Time Magazine 2005. lists some Famous Victims of Domestic Violence


  1. Also posted at Now Public

  2. thank you fred i am honored sir