Six Days

I want to change the normal!

Do you think it is normal for a woman not to have any education what so ever, resulting in no job and not being able to provide for herself nor her children?

Do you think it is normal to, as a young girl, be afraid when walking to school because you might end up being pulled in to a car by men, locked in to a house and eventually forced into marriage?

Do you think it is normal, that if you as a woman are considered not to be behaving correctly in your own home, a suitable punishment is to be lit on fire or beaten or even killed?

Do you think it is normal to, as a woman, overhear your husband on the phone talking about how he will go about killing you?

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Värdighet är ordet

Bara en timme bort från den fridfulla strandpromenaden i Tripoli ligger konfliktdrabbade Damaskus. Foto: Kvinna till Kvinna // Annika Flensburg

Det är som att gå in i silke, kvällen är så ljum, luften så mjuk, havet doftar så gott. Människor strosar längs strandpromenaden, bänkarna är fulla av picknickande par och fiskarna svänger sina milslånga spön. Kontrasterna är totala här i Libanon. En timme bort ligger Damaskus, bussen dit går fortfarande, men man får räkna med en sju timmars färd med alla vägspärrar. Blickarna från de människor som jag mött som flytt kriget sitter fastnaglade inom mig. Libanon är på ett sätt som ett stort flyktingläger. Enligt FN har ca en miljon människor från Syrien flytt till detta lilla land på 4 miljoner invånare. Kriget är i allra högsta grad närvarande.

Libanon var redan innan en skör stat där folkgrupper splittras och diskrimineras av landets lagar. Ekonomin var svag, arbetslösheten hög, fattigdomen stor och siffrorna pekar nu åt helt fel håll. Olyckskorparna trodde inte att Libanon skulle palla trycket så länge som det gjort, men här finns ett starkt motstånd till att på nytt fångas i en våldsspiral. Minnena från inbördeskriget är fortfarande starka.

Värdighet. Det ordet återkommer i alla möten med flyktingar från Syrien som jag möter. Värdighet, att leva ett liv som en hel människa. Vad händer när denna värdighet mals sönder?
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The Green Mountain

“Gendering the Egyptian Revolution” was not an easy subject to talk about. We had to tell the stories of women who fought before the revolution, who paved the way to things to happen” Doa Abdelaal Mohamed Mostafa. Photo: CURE

When I first got the invitation from Marija to attend PitchWise 2013 in Sarajevo I sat for 10 minutes starring at my screen. I had millions of thoughts in my head, which included of course issuing the visa, taking days off from work, but what topped my thoughts was how come I still feel this pain when I hear or read the name of the city.

Back in the 1990’s when I was an undergraduate student in Cairo University, the war in what is known then as Yugoslavia was one of the preferable topics for our professors to discuss. I remembered the endless discussions, the papers and the exams but mostly the pain.

What we were discussing was WAR, people dying, tortured and raped. The fear that thousands of women lived in and faced was scary for me. In a war, you are a killing machine or a victim nothing in between and either this or that you seize to be a human and your instinct to survive suppress any other feelings.

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“Violence against women – not a problem here in Kamza”

Stop violence against women

Picture in Women Forum’s office Elbasan, Albania saying “Stop violence against women”. Photo: Kvinna till Kvinna/Anna Sundén

The afternoon breeze is hot as we arrive in Kamza area in the outskirts of Tirana. I am in Albania together with Kvinna till Kvinna colleagues to participate in the annual International Human Rights Film Festival. This event brings together human rights activists, students, cineastes, as well as public officials from Albania and abroad. We are here to discuss and reflect on the theme of “violence against women” throughout a few intense days.

We enter a tall, but surprisingly empty building, where our panel discussion on “Violence against women – a men’s issue?” is soon to begin. I see a few men hanging around by the entrance and I invite them to join us. As the panelists start talking I notice that there are both men and women in the audience. A sigh of relief runs through me. The worst case scenario would be that we are here to talk about the role of men – without any men in the audience.

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