Archiv der Kategorie 'Women'

Nadia Murad

Im August 2014 überfallen Truppen des Islamischen Staats das jesidische irakische Dorf Kocho, die Heimat der heute 25-jährigen Nadia Murad. Nadia wird wie viele andere Frauen ihres Volkes verschleppt und Opfer von Demütigungen, Folter und Vergewaltigung. Heute ist sie die Stimme ihres Volkes. Als UN-Sonderbotschafterin kämpft sie für die Anerkennung des Völkermords an den Jesiden.

Nachdem sie 2014 den Völkermord an den Jesiden im Nordirak überlebt und der sexuellen Versklavung durch den IS entflohen war, legte Nadia Murad Zeugnis vor dem UN Sicherheitsrat ab. Ihre Aussagen bewegten die ganze Welt. Über Nacht wurde Nadia das Gesicht der Jesiden, einer über Jahrhunderte verfolgten und bis dahin stimmlosen religiösen Minderheit. Obwohl sie sich nach einem normalen Leben weit weg des Scheinwerferlichts sehnte, wuchs Nadia nach und nach in die Rolle einer Aktivistin, in der Hoffnung, den Genozid zu stoppen und die IS-Kommandeure vor Gericht zu bringen. Immer und immer wieder erzählte sie ihre entsetzliche Geschichte Journalisten, Politikern und Diplomaten – und wurde so Teil einer ihr fremden, global verstrickten Welt.
Mit intimem Zugang zu Nadias täglichem Leben und einen Blick hinter die Kulissen der oft absurden Konstellationen internationaler Politik, begleitet ARTE Nadia während ihrer Kampagne in ein Flüchtlingscamp in Griechenland, bei erschütternden Medien-Interviews, bewegenden Reden vor den Vereinten Nationen und Treffen mit hohen Regierungsvertretern. Der Film enthüllt das Ungleichgewicht zwischen dem Preis, den Nadia zahlt und der Erlösung, die sie mit ihrer Arbeit erfährt. Fernab von der Bühne blitzt hin und wieder die Nadia auf, die sie einst war: ein willensstarkes Mädchen, das davon träumte, einen eigenen Schönheitssalon in ihrem Dorf zu eröffnen.

Der Film enthüllt die immensen Hürden, die einer verwundeten Minderheit im Weg liegen, bevor sie gehört wird.

ARTE

YPJ: Wir werden die Revolution verteidigen

Die Generalkommandantur der YPJ hat anlässlich des Welt-Kobanê-Tages eine Erklärung abgegeben. Darin kündigen die Frauenverteidigungseinheiten an, „entschlossen und mit Eigenkraft die Revolution von Rojava und der Menschheit zu verteidigen“.

Als der sogenannte Islamische Staat (IS) am 13. September 2014 die nordsyrische Stadt Kobanê umzingelte und auf barbarische Weise angriff, trat der Name Kobanê plötzlich ins Zentrum der Weltöffentlichkeit. Gegen die „schwarze Pest“, leistete eine ganze Stadt mit all ihrer Existenz einen 134 Tage andauernden unbeugsamen Widerstand, an dessen Ende der Islamische Staat in Kobanê besiegt wurde.

Dass es in Kobanê um viel mehr als die Eroberung einer Stadt ging, wurde sehr schnell deutlich. Die Dialektik zwischen der Verteidigung Kobanês und dem Eintreten für universelle Werte der Menschheit verlieh dem Kampf sowohl einen globalen als auch symbolischen Charakter. Aus diesem Grund haben sich Menschen weltweit unter dem Motto ‚Überall ist Kobanê, überall ist Widerstand!‘ mit Kobanê solidarisiert und den 1. November zum Welt-Kobanê-Tag erklärt. Es waren Hunderttausende Menschen, die in allen fünf Kontinenten für die Revolution in Rojava und gegen den IS auf die Straßen gingen. Diese weltweite Solidaritätswelle leistete einen wichtigen Beitrag für die Befreiung der Stadt.

Anlässlich des heutigen Welt-Kobanê-Tages hat die Generalkommandantur der Frauenverteidigungseinheiten YPJ (Yekîneyên Parastina Jin) eine Grußbotschaft veröffentlicht. Diese lautet:

„Zum Welt-Kobanê-Tag am 1. November beglückwünschen wir die gesamte Menschheit, die Völker des Mittleren Ostens und das Rückgrat des Widerstandes in Nordsyrien und Kobanê; das kurdische Volk. Wir gedenken in tiefem Respekt Arîn Mîrkan, Rêvan Kobanê, der internationalistischen Gefallenen Ivana Hoffmann, Sibel Bulut, Rıfat Horoz und all derer, die ihr Leben für die Befreiung Kobanês und die Revolution Nordsyriens ließen.

Kobanê-Widerstand hat globale Dimensionen

Der weltweite Tag für Kobanê hat die Menschheitsgeschichte geprägt. Von Indien bis Japan, von Pakistan bis nach Ecuador, Peru, Argentinien, Italien und Spanien haben die Völker der Welt das Ende der Angriffe des sogenannten Islamischen Staates gefordert. Demokratie- und Friedensbewegungen glaubten fest daran, dass der Widerstand von Kobanê den Anfang des Weltfriedens markiert und gingen mit der Maxime ‚Überall ist Kobanê, überall ist Widerstand!‘ überall auf die Straßen. Insbesondere der Widerstand der Frauen war richtungsweisend und bewirkte, dass der Kampf um Kobanê globale Dimensionen angenommen hat. Die gesamte Menschheit realisierte, dass es sich beim „IS“ um eine große Gefahr für uns alle handelt und solidarisierte sich überall mit dem Widerstand. Mit dem globalen Ausmaß des Kampfes für Kobanê ist auch die Revolution von Rojava gewachsen und zu einer Schöpferin großer Errungenschaften geworden. Hunderte internationalistische Freiwillige haben sich den Reihen der YPJ und YPG angeschlossen und mit großer Hingabe in Kobanê und Efrîn an vorderster Front gekämpft. Für die Verteidigung menschlicher Werte wandten sie sich der Revolution in Nordsyrien zu, wo viele von ihnen ihr Leben gelassen haben.


Für den IS schlägt die letzte Stunde

Heute liegt der „IS“ in seinen letzten Zügen. Schritt für Schritt wird in Nordsyrien der Dreck der Dschihadisten beseitigt. Diese Schritte tätigen zu können war und ist jedoch nicht einfach. Die herrschenden Kräfte, allen voran die Türkei, agieren weiterhin als Unterstützer der Islamisten. Unter dem Scheingrund, für die Sicherheit Syriens zu handeln, werden schmutzige Pläne ausgehandelt, um den Dschihadisten Rückhalt zu bieten. Es hat sich gezeigt, dass diese Kräfte die Revolution in Syrien und Rojava entsprechend ihren eigenen Interessen lenken zu versuchen und den Willen der Völker zerschlagen wollen. Die letzten Angriffe des türkischen Staates auf Dörfer in Kobanê dienen als konkretes Beispiel für die Absichten in der Region. Obwohl die breite Öffentlichkeit über die Vorgänge bestens informiert ist, wird keine entsprechende Haltung eingenommen. Zweifellos stellt diese Tatsache eine Situation dar, die von den friedfertigen Völkern in Frage gestellt wird.

Entschlossen, die Revolution zu verteidigen

Wir Frauenverteidigungseinheiten leisten weiterhin entschlossen Widerstand gegen alle Angriffe. In diesem Sinne sind wir der Überzeugung, dass jede Person, die einen Kampf für die Freiheit leistet, seiner Verantwortung nachkommt. So wie die Welt im Kampf um Kobanê nicht schwieg und sich solidarisch zeigte, glauben wir, dass sie auch heute zur Verteidigung menschlicher Werte für die Revolution von Rojava und Syrien eintreten wird.

Mit dieser Überzeugung werden wir als YPJ alle Angriffe vereiteln. Mit Eigenkraft werden wir gemeinsam mit unserem Volk entschlossen die Revolution von Rojava und der gesamten Menschheit verteidigen. Unsere Verbundenheit gilt den Gefallenen von Kobanê, den Gefallenen Nordsyriens und den Gefallenen des Widerstandes von Efrîn. Wir gedenken ihrer mit tiefem Respekt und versprechen, zu siegen“.

ANF

Police attack Saturday Mothers at the 700th week of action

Turkish police did not allow the 700th week action of Saturday Mothers at IStanbul’s Galatasaray Square. Following an attack, police detained several people.

Today marks the 700th week of the action by Saturday Mothers, mothers and relatives of the victims of disappearances under the custody of state forces, who have been demanding justice and truth for their beloved ones at Istanbul’s central Galatasaray Square every Saturday.

The mothers were traditionally set to gather at Galatasaray Square for their weekly sit-in action, wearing t-shirts with “Saturday Mothers” writing on them, holding red roses and carnations in their hands as well as banners demanding justice and photographs of their disappeared relatives.

Already deployed at the scene, Istanbul police blockaded the area and did not allow the mothers access to the square.

Amid a siege by the police and security forces from the Yapı Kredi Cultural Centre, even taking photographs has been banned.

Stating that access to Galatasaray Square will not be allowed, police said the action has been prohibited by the Ministry of Interior.

Members of the Human Rights Association (IHD) who are accompanying the mothers and insisted on entering the square, were attacked by the police. Several people have been taken into custody.

ANF


Live Stream in Istanbul / Galatasaray

Polizeiangriff auf Samstagsmütter in Istanbul

Die Polizei in Istanbul hat die 700. Aktion der Samstagsmütter verboten und die Teilnehmer*innen am Galatasaray Platz angegriffen. Es gibt viele Festnahmen.

Heute findet die 700. wöchentliche Aktion der Samstagsmütter statt. Die Frauen fragen nach ihren „verschwundenen“ Angehörigen und fordern die Verurteilung der Täter. Die Polizei verbot die Kundgebung und griff die Teilnehmer*innen an.

Die Aktivist*innen hatten sich zuvor in den Morgenstunden beim Menschenrechtsverein (IHD) getroffen. Sie kamen mit roten Rosen und Nelken zum Verein und trugen T-Shirts mit der Aufschrift „Samstagsmütter“. Dort wurden die Aufgaben, Plakate und Bilder der Verschwundenen verteilt. Anschließend gingen die Teilnehmer*innen zum Galatasaray-Platz. Die Polizei hatte den Platz umstellt und hinderte die Protestierenden am Betreten. Die Polizei untersagte das Fotografieren und erklärte, die Aktion sei vom Innenministerium verboten worden. Anschließend wurden die Teilnehmer*innen angegriffen, es kam zu vielen Festnahmen.

ANF


Live Stream in Istanbul / Galatasaray

For exiled novelist, Turkey ‚like 1930s Nazi Germany‘

Turkish novelist Asli Erdogan, living in exile in Germany as she risks a life sentence on terror charges at home, thinks the writing is on the wall: her country is sliding into fascism.

The award-winning author, still traumatised by the four months she spent in an Istanbul prison, warns that Turkey’s institutions are “in a state of total collapse”.

In President Recep Tayyip Erdogan—no relation—she sees a man tightening control over everyday Turkish life, emboldened by an outright victory in June elections, sweeping new powers and a crackdown on opponents.

“The extent of things in Turkey is like Nazi Germany,” the flame-haired 51-year-old told AFP in an interview in Frankfurt, her temporary home as she awaits the outcome of her court case in absentia.

“I think it is a fascist regime. It is not yet 1940s Germany, but 1930s,” said Asli.

“A crucial factor is the lack of a judicial system,” she added, describing a country of overcrowded prisons and pro-Erdogan judges in their twenties rushed in to replace ousted peers.

Asli herself was among the more than 70 000 people caught up in a wave of arrests under a state of emergency imposed after a failed 2016 coup against Erdogan.

She was held for 136 days over her links to a pro-Kurdish newspaper before being unexpectedly freed on bail.

The detention of the author of such novels as “The City in Crimson Cloak” and “The Stone Building and Other Places”, famed for their unflinching explorations of loss and trauma, drew international condemnation.

Turkey’s Nobel literature laureate Orhan Pamuk has called her “an exceptionally perceptive and sensitive writer.”

‚Pathetically funny‘

Turkey’s post-coup purge targeted not just alleged backers of preacher Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for the attempted putsch, but also opposition media and people accused of ties to Kurdish militants.

Turkish authorities reject accusations of widescale rights violations after the coup, and the state of emergency was lifted last month, after Erdogan was re-elected under a new executive-style presidency giving him direct control of ministries and public institutions.

“Erdogan is almost omnipotent,” Asli said.

“He decides on the price of medicine, on the future of classical ballet, his family members are in charge of the economy… Opera, which he hates, is also directly tied to him,” she added, chuckling.

“That’s the nice thing about fascism, it’s also pathetically funny sometimes.”

Turkish lawmakers have also approved new legislation giving authorities greater powers in detaining suspects and imposing public order, which officials say is necessary to combat multiple terror risks.

“It’s an emergency state made permanent,” said Asli.

‚Not bluffing‘

As for herself, Asli has given up hope of being acquitted and returning to Turkey anytime soon.

“They are not bluffing,” she said she realised after several journalists were sentenced to life terms.

She faces charges of spreading “terror propaganda” for her work as a literary adviser to the newspaper Ozgur Gundem.

The paper itself was shut down, accused by Turkish authorities of being a mouthpiece for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), considered a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

The next hearings in Asli’s case are scheduled for October and March.

The diminutive former physicist said the wait for the verdict was “almost unbearable”.

“One of the biggest tortures you can do to a human being is to keep his fate unknown.”

‘You write with blood’

Released from prison in late December 2016, it took Asli until last September to get her passport back from Turkish authorities.
She immediately left for Germany, following other Turkish artists and intellectuals into exile.

She now lives in Frankfurt, the recipient of a flat and a monthly stipend as part of the international Cities of Refuge project.

The scheme aims to provide persecuted writers with a safe haven from where they can continue working.

But Asli, who has written eight books translated into 20 languages, hasn’t been able to pick up a pen yet.

Struggling with insomnia, depression and health problems, it has been easier to “play the professional writer” in past months, travelling abroad for literary events and talks.

But slowly her nightmares about prison are becoming less frequent, she said, while a painful neck hernia has done her the unexpected favour of forcing her to slow down.

Asli said she was getting “more in the mood” to write, but her immediate focus remained on raising the plight of those still locked up in Turkey.

“I have been pushed into a political role, which I try to carry with grace.”

But when she is ready, she will put her own experiences of prison to paper, in what Asli predicts will be “a very heavy confrontation”.

“In literature, you have to be more than 200 percent honest,” she said. “You write with blood.”

The Local

Die letzten Tage von Afrin

Am 20. Januar startete der türkische Präsident Erdogan mit seinen Verbündeten die „Operation Olivenzweig“, den Angriff auf die Kurden in der Region um die Stadt Afrin, seit 2012 unter deren Kontrolle. Für Ankara sind die Kurden wegen ihrer angeblichen Nähe zur kurdischen Arbeiterpartei PKK nach wie vor Terroristen – obwohl die syrische Kurdenmiliz YPG zum wichtigsten Verbündeten der USA im Kampf gegen den IS geworden war. ARTE-Reporter Yuri Maldavsky war bei einer der internationalen Brigaden, die auf Seiten der kurdischen YPG eigentlich gegen den islamistischen Terror gekämpft hatten: darunter ein Italiener, ein Engländer und ein Amerikaner. Nach den Angriffen mit schwerer Artillerie, Bomben und Raketen fiel Afrin am 18. März. Damit endete wieder einmal der Traum der Kurden von einer eigenen autonomen Region an der Grenze zur Türkei. Die internationale Gemeinschaft, allen voran die USA, rührten sich nicht, als Erdogans Soldaten die Region Afrin eroberten.

ARTE

„Die Lage ist katastrophal“

In Afrin kämpfen türkische Soldaten gegen die kurdische YPG-Miliz – und das mit deutschen Waffen. Heuteplus hat mit einem Arzt gesprochen, der gerade dort war.

ZDF

8 adarê roja berxwedan û tolhildana hezar salane

Demonstrationen am internationalen Frauenkampftag

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Die kurdische Frauenbewegung in Europa (TJK-E) organisiert vom 2.-10. März Veranstaltungen und Demonstrationen zum internationalen Frauenkampftag.

Das Veranstaltungsprogramm der kurdischen Frauenbewegung in Europa (TJK-E) zum internationalen Frauenkampftag beginnt in diesem Jahr am 2. März und endet am 10. März. In zahlreichen europäischen Ländern finden rund um den 8. März Veranstaltungen, Feiern, Podiumsdiskussionen und Straßenaktionen statt.

In Deutschland sind neben vielen anderen Veranstaltungen folgende Demonstrationen und Kundgebungen geplant:


8. März

Essen: Demonstration, 17:00 Uhr, Hauptbahnhof

Duisburg: Demonstration, 16:00 Uhr, Hauptbahnhof

Bielefeld: Demonstration, 18:00 Uhr, Hauptbahnhof

Leverkusen: Demonstration, 18:00 Uhr, Rathaus

Gummersbach: Demonstration, 14:00 Uhr, Hindenburgstraße 4-8

Bonn: Demonstration, 18:00 Uhr, Kaiserplatz

Hildesheim: Demonstration, 17:00 Uhr, Hauptbahnhof

Berlin: Demonstration, 15:30 Uhr, Schlesisches Tor

Dresden: Demonstration, 16:00 Uhr, Pragerstraße

Magdeburg: Kundgebung, 16:00 Uhr, Alter Markt

Bremen: Demonstration, 16:00 Uhr, Ziegenmarkt

Frankfurt: Demonstration, 16:00 Uhr, Unicampus Bockenheim

Stuttgart: Demonstration, 15:00 Uhr, Hauptbahnhof

Reutlingen: Kundgebung, 17:00 Uhr

Freiburg: Demonstration, 18:00 Uhr, Platz der Alten Synagoge

Friedrichshafen: Kundgebung, 15:00 Uhr, Buchhornplatz

Hamburg: Demonstration, 17:30 Uhr, Gänsemarkt

Hannover: Demonstration, 17:00 Uhr, Ernst-August-Platz

Darmstadt: Demonstration, 18:00 Uhr, Luisenplatz

Ludwigshafen: Kundgebung, 16:00 Uhr, Rathaus

Saarbrücken: Kundgebung, 11:00 Uhr, Karstadt

München: Demonstration, 17:00 Uhr, Marienplatz

10. März

Düsseldorf: Demonstration, 14:00 Uhr, Hauptbahnhof

Köln: Kundgebung, 11:00 Uhr, Domplatz

Giessen: Demonstration, 13:00 Uhr, Kirchplatz

ANF

Women Are Free, and Armed, in Kurdish-Controlled Northern Syria

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Women marching this month on the outskirts of Kobani, Syria, during a protest against a Turkish military offensive in the country. Many are waving the Rojava flag of Kurdish-controlled northern Syria. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

MANBIJ, Syria — Radwan, a 30-year-old Arab man, came with four male witnesses and a grievance with an ex-wife to a place called the Women’s House here in Manbij, in northern Syria.

He had recently divorced his second wife, Amira, 17, and he wanted back the gold he had given her as a bride price, some three or four ounces at most — worth more than few goats but less than a car.

The five men sat down with Amira and her mother, Isra, in a circle of plastic chairs around a stove to discuss the matter, with the mediation of several officials from the Women’s House.

The conversation grew heated as Amira and her mother, who asked that the families’ last names be withheld to avoid a tribal backlash against them, refused to return the gold. When the Women’s House officials said that not only was Amira right to keep it, but that she was also entitled to a houseful of furniture in compensation for the divorce, Radwan began shouting.

Chairs were knocked over and voices raised, but the women officials escorted the men out of the building politely but firmly, warning that the police would be summoned if they didn’t go quietly.

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Ibrahim al-Wardy, talks to his wife, Zahida al-Jassim, in the office of Widat Hayat, center, at the Women’s House in Manbij, Syria, where they came to settle a property dispute between Mr. Jassim’s wife and another man. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Shilan Shermooz, the administrator of the Women’s House, said the matter was not yet over. Once Radwan made the reparations, she said, they would send his case to court and see him prosecuted for beating and abusing Amira for the two weeks they were married. Radwan was also guilty of fraud, she said, because Amira agreed to the wedding not knowing he already had a wife and children.
Continue reading the main story

“The patriarchy really is over,” Ms. Shermooz said, sharing a laugh with two colleagues.

In the Kurdish-controlled areas of northern Syria, a push for gender equality has given women like Ms. Shermooz significant power to enforce women’s rights. The authority wielded by women here — in the police, the courts and the militias — is patterned on the gender egalitarian philosophy of the Kurds’ ideological leader, Abdullah Ocalan.

The founder of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., Mr. Ocalan is serving a life sentence in Turkey on terrorism charges, and his organization is a designated terrorist organization according to the United States and the European Union. But his philosophy is widely popular among Kurds, particularly in northern Syria and eastern Turkey.

Six years of control of most of northern Syria have given the Kurds a chance to put into practice their gender reforms to an unprecedented degree, unhampered by interference from the Turkish government, which has cracked down on many of the women’s institutions in Kurdish-majority areas of Turkey.

By law, every government institution in Kurdish-controlled Syria has a co-president or co-chairman of each sex, and most government boards and committees have to be equally mixed by gender as well — except for women’s institutions, which are led by only women.

The Kurdish militias have separate Women’s Protection Units, or Y.P.J., which have been important partners with men’s units on the battlefield. When the Syrian Democratic Forces, an American-backed coalition, captured Raqqa from the Islamic State in October, the overall commander was a Y.P.J. woman, Rojda Felat.

“There are always men thinking that women are slaves, but when women are an armed force, men are scared of them,” said Arzu Demir, the Turkish author of a book on the Y.P.J. militias.

The Kurdish effort to enact gender equality has really been put to the test in places like Manbij, which is overwhelmingly Arab, and also conservative and tribal. The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces took control here about 18 months ago, in a campaign supported by American Special Operations forces and air power. While the Manbij Military Council, which is now in charge, is a majority Arab force, the new government is organized on Mr. Ocalan’s revolutionary principles.

Women were immediately given the right to divorce, previously a right reserved to men; to inherit property on an equal basis with men; and to keep their children and their homes in a marital breakup. Gone were long-observed Shariah law provisions that gave a woman’s testimony in court only half the weight of a man’s.

Those changes were not without pushback. The Kurdish majority area of Kobani in Syria, for instance, outlawed the practice of men taking more than one wife. But when officials tried to apply that restriction to Manbij, anger from tribal leaders led to the granting of an exception here.

Still, the Women’s House in Manbij right away began aggressively counseling wives whose husbands married a second time that they could divorce, and walk away with the children, the house and half of any property. The result has been some 200 divorces in the past year, mostly in cases of polygamy and underage marriage, said Widat Hayat an Arab woman and a sociologist who heads the research department at the Women’s House. It is an unprecedented number.

Many local men have found it difficult to reconcile the prosperity and stability the new government has brought with their own traditions.

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A group of men in Amuda, in northern Syria. Many local men have found it difficult to reconcile the prosperity and stability the new government has brought with their own traditions. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Abdul Aziz al-Hassin, 45, an Arab shopkeeper who has 14 children, agrees that “a woman has the same rights as a man, she’s not a slave or a servant.” But he still intends to take a second wife, he said, because his current one, also 45, can no longer bear children. How will she react to that? “I won’t tell her,” he said. “It’s none of her business.”

Attitudes like that die hard.

“When we opened the Women’s House, even we didn’t believe this was going to work here,” said Jihan Mustafa, one of the counselors who coach women on their rights, and help them through divorce, spousal abuse prosecutions and legal actions to force their husbands to better provide for their children. “Now as you see, it is always busy here.”

At the Women’s House in Manbij, halls, waiting rooms and consultation rooms were crowded with men and women — with many of the men visibly angry.

Ms. Mustafa is a Kurd, as were the first women’s activists here, but now other members of the Women’s House are Arabs, and most of their clients are as well. Manbij is heavily Arab, with minorities of Kurds and others. “There is real acceptance for it, just 18 months after the liberation of Manbij,” she said.

Acceptance is hardly universal, however, and many of those who are critical are also afraid to speak out publicly.

“To understand the current situation, think of ISIS, but at the other end of the spectrum,” said Abdul, 37, a teacher who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions from Kurdish officials. “They never stop trying to impose codes and teachings that contradict our cultural norms and conservative views,” he said. “And they insist on having a female presence in everything, which has made them hire unqualified females in posts they don’t know how to handle.”

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Children play in a heavily bombed area in Kobani, in northern Syria. After Kurds took control of the area, women were immediately given the right to divorce, previously a right reserved to men; to inherit property on an equal basis with men; and to keep their children and their homes in a marital breakup. Credit Mauricio Lima for The New York Times

Kurdish leaders are aware of the discontent, but say the changes they are bringing are long overdue and are gaining acceptance, especially among younger Arab women.

“Most men don’t accept it, but we speak to women and try to make society understand why it is not good, for instance, to have more than one wife,” said Isam Abdul Qader, an Arab member of the Manbij Women’s Council, another organization that advocates women’s equality. It also sends teams of women door to door in neighborhoods and villages, where they ask to come in and explain to the women their new rights.

“Many men don’t let us in at first,” said Hana Sharif, a Kurdish council member. “We just go back two or three times. Little by little, it is working.”

Maja al-Ali, 25, is an Arab woman member of the council who said the new local government has changed her life. “Before I just stayed in the house and I couldn’t even wake up in the morning,” she said. “Now I have character and a role in society. Now I get up in the morning, I have meetings and do things, and I love life now.”

At the request of local women, the council has started a driving school for them. Recently, some women in Manbij have asked the women’s council to set up firearms courses to teach civilian women how to defend themselves.

“It is about time,” Ms. Sharif said, “that we have all of our rights.”

The New York Times




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