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Women fighting back - always a good news story

burqasWhen I opened up the papers today I immediately spotted two stories that made me happy in the daily litany of grief.

One is the story of Mai Jori – who I’d talked about earlier in this blog.
Surprise surprise;  this peasant woman from the small village of Ghulam Muhammed Jamali in Baluchistan didn’t win the seat she ran for in the district elections.  The winner was her opponent, Nasir Khan Jamali, a member of the local feudal family.  And again, it’s no surprise that the elections were publicly decried as hugely rigged.

Of course, its not a matter of elation that Mai Jori lost – but it is something big don’t you think, that this poor woman, mother of nine, who comes from an area most famous for burying its dissenting women alive, even gathered the strength to raise her head and her fist and stepped forward to run in the first place?  And that this woman, who ran her campaign from a wooden donkey cart, so frightened her landcruiser driven elite opponents that they dared not run a fair campaign?

Mai Jori occupies the lowest rung of a long ladder in one of the most backward areas of a country riddled with corrupt fat cats.  But she’s made international news – a full page in a Dutch national daily at least -  she has her own Facebook site, and her name calls up 171,000 entries on Google.

It’s a step in the right direction.

And the other story that I read this morning with a glad heart:  in Abu Dhabi, a competition called The Millions’ Poet, where poets from all over the Arab world battle it out in front of a vast TV audience a Saudi woman called Hissa Hilal has also made the international news.
Covered completely in a burqa she delivered a poem called The Chaos of Fatwas, that was a blistering attack on extremist Islamic fatwas.

The audience love which came her way after she sonorously delivered the poem has shot her through to the finals on 31 March.  If she wins, she’s going to be more than a million dollars richer.   Meanwhile of course the death threats are flying her way like flies to honey.

Hissa Hilal and Mai Jori – two women  who deserve our vote.

Photo by Yan Boechat

1 Comment on “Women fighting back - always a good news story”

  1. #1 Dev Narayan
    on Mar 26th, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Actually in this situation we see women struggling not fighting back. She is struggling to reach out and gain some foothold in the society. Did she make any progress for us to rejoice? Its a struggle for basic human expressions!

    When women have to fight back for basic human existence then it is never a good story. Because it is simply cruel to force a women to such an extent for her to attempt fighting back. It only shows how very much degenerated such a society is which pushes its women back to the walls so she has no other option but to fight. So it is never good news to see women fighting back for the basics of life, it is simply ugly and cruel to make them fight for the bare necessities. Mai Jori ran for election and lost against Nasir Khan Jamali. In a society where the women folk is forced to walk around with portable prisons, how could they ever express their free will. When the social structure itself is hugely rigged what does an election matter?!.

    May be we could celebrate Mai Jori’s guts which too might have come as a form of her survival instinct. Other than that what is there for us to celebrate about her? The news she makes internationally? Her Facebook site run by someone else? the 171,000 Google entries? Others make news out of Mai Jori, but poor Mai Jori, what is her gain? We can rejoice only when we can see Mai Jori enjoy her freedom and live her life like any other normal human being.

    Hissa Hilal in Millions’ Poet is a wonderful information. Covered completely in a burqa she delivered a poem. Here too we see a woman appearing before us with her personality obliterated by her complete cover. We rejoice here trusting our firm belief that it is Hissa Hilal before us and she has read her poem which delivers a blistering attack on extremist Islamic fatwas. In this instance too we can rejoice only when one woman named Hissa Hilal live her life freely like any other normal human being.

    Mai Jori and Hissa Hilal - two women who deserve a normal life like any other human being! They are now in sumptuary imprisonment, how could we rejoice when they are so?! Let’s not rejoice in frivolities. It’s painful!

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