Tag Archives: Malala Yousafzai

5 Privileges I’m Thankful for on International Women’s Day (and That I Want All Women to Enjoy)

Today, on International Women’s Day, I’ve been reminded of how grateful I should be. Maybe it’s because I’ve been flipping through images of women’s protests around the world. Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching sentimental videos that make me feel inspired (even if they are marketing ploys by Google). Either way, I can’t help but feel grateful.

By the time this post goes up around midnight tonight, it will no longer be International Women’s Day. Before then, I’d like to take a moment to be thankful, and highlight ways we can support other women in their fight to win these privileges too.

1. Freedom and Safety

When I get up in the morning, I do not feel afraid. My country is not at war. My physical safety is not threatened. Throughout history, this was not something most women could take for granted. In many countries around the world this is still something women cannot take for granted.

There are many organizations working to ensure women’s safety. There are a variety of organizations that are working to help women (and men and children) from areas like Syria that have been affected by war. Unfortunately, in unstable situations like these, rape and sexual violence become weapons of war. The Stop Rape Now website highlights a variety of organizations that work with victims of sexual assault and promote rape prevention education. Continue reading

A Special Place In Hell For Madeleine Albright

madeleine-albright-and-hillary-clinton“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help women…”

That declaration was by former Secretary of State and (depending on the shift in public perception) former feminist icon Madeleine Albright, speaking at a rally for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

This comment follows close on the heels of feminist Gloria Steinem’s snide remark that the some 82% of millennial women supporting Bernie Sanders were doing so just so they could meet boys, and not long after DNC chairperson Debbie Wasserman-Schultz accused the same demographic of “complacency.

And the timing is hardly coincidental. Staggered by a Pyrrhic victory in Iowa and a resounding defeat in New Hampshire, the Clinton campaign has been desperately attempting to find a swift end to what will otherwise become a protracted and altogether too-close-for-comfort campaign, and securing the female vote has been the first place to start.

Or at least, such was the intention. Continue reading

Clarifying Charlie Hebdo

Let’s face it- there’s no way to avoid this topic. At this point, I don’t know that there’s anything I can say that hasn’t already been said in the past few days. What I’d like to do, if I can’t offer anything new, is at least offer some clarity. Here are the facts, folks:

On the 7th of this month Sayeed and Shareef Kouachi attacked satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for running cartoons deemed “insulting to Islam”. The Kouachi brothers, armed with AK-47s, a shotgun, and a grenade launcher, killed 12 individuals- most of them magazine staff and cartoonists- in addition to wounding several others. Two days later the Kouachis would be killed by French police after a protracted siege in a warehouse. Other suspects involved in the attack are currently being hunted down.

Since the 7th, we’ve seen an outpouring of indignant outrage over the killings, as well as solidarity marches, both for France and for freedom of speech. Despite the near universal solidarity behind Charlie Hebdo, a myriad of differing conclusions have been voiced in the past few days- some good, some bad, and many missing the point entirely (in spite of genuinely good intentions). Let me try to address a few of these below.

Not All Muslims Are Terrorists/Not All Terrorists Are Muslim

…But I shouldn’t have to tell you that.

At this point, parroting that line is starting to feel almost patronizing. It’s an obvious truth, and it shouldn’t need me to defend it. There are millions upon millions of Muslims in the world, the vast majority of whom want nothing more than to live their lives in peace- among them, Ahmed Merabet, a police officer and the first of the Kouachis victims. Whether the infamous 9/11 attacks (in which American Muslim Mohammad Hamdani died attempting to rescue people from the North Tower) or the thousands of Muslim Arabs and Kurds fighting against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Muslims shouldn’t have to be “rescued”. From Abdul Haji to Aitazaz Hassan Bangash to Malala Yousafzai– there are just as many heroic actions from Muslims as their are heinous ones.

But this is, again, obvious to anyone actually interested. I don’t know that there’s anybody out there who hasn’t already made up their mind about it (for better or for worse). Continue reading

Fame Day: Abdul Haji, WWII Vets, and These Other Guys

For everything that’s going on in the world, this actually hasn’t been such a bad week. The tragic murder of an anti-racist singer in Greece has, at long last, resulted in the hammer being brought down on upon the Neo-Nazi “Golden Dawn” party responsible for both his death and attacks on leftists, immigrants, and a 12-year-old girl. It’s been a long time coming, but at long last the Greek government is actually heeding calls from the public to respond to this fascist menace; other European countries, ya mind taking a hint?

Speaking of racists, did you know that the rally the Klu Klux Klan was planning on holding at Gettysburg was cancelled as a result of the shut-down of the US government?

Well it was.

If you can’t take joy at the collapse of a racist rally, what can you?

Continue reading

Let’s Talk About The Hijab

We make no pretension of being unbiased here at the CWR. We have our particular axes to grind and banners to wave. Evan, you’ll notice, often covers the place of Asians in culture- in no small part because Evan is a combo of a few Asian peoples himself, and more directly affected by that issue. I, alternatively, grew up in the Middle East, and after having spent pretty much the entirety of my life with Arabs and Muslims (not the same thing, shouldn’t have to explain that), I’m more sensitive to Middle Eastern issues- Islamophobia in particular.

I could spend all day railing on the treatment of the Middle East/Arabs/Occupied Palestine/Muslims/etc. The way Arabs/Muslims are singled out for scrutiny and criticism. Casting Indian actors to play Arabs, since Arabs don’t match their own stereotype. The lack of appreciation for the key role the Middle East played in preserving and advancing science and philosophy.

You get the idea.

So rather than trying to tackle a single issue that could be (should be, and has been) covered by an entire academic book, I’m going to hit up super-specific issue.

The hijab. Continue reading

“White Washed Tombs” or “Shame and Social Pressure”

Yours truly is not one to shy away from railing on things I doesn’t like. Or people, I dislike, for that matter. Over the past few months I’ve offered the middle finger to TLC and NBC for their exploitative and repellent shows, ISPs, nationalism, the British monarchy, and one especially vile lobbyist group dubbing itself “Concerned Women for America.” In fact, that last group was so downright nasty I straight up likened them to cancer in the form of a social movement.

And you know what?

I stand by that.

Continue reading

Shame Day: Concerned Women for America

“Concerned Women for America.”

It sounds almost like a cartoonish satire of the kind of people who storm into PTA meetings demanding to know why their children have been
“exposed to filth” after discovering a copy of Catcher in the Rye, Slaughterhouse Five, or Harry Potter in their kids’ assigned reading list. The kind of people who warn about the corrosive and unwholesome messages hidden in rock songs, or who sit horrified in front of the TV as some sensationalist dead-inside “journalist” warns about the latest secret teenager trend that’s sure to kill them/get them pregnant.

And as much as it sounds like something that’s ripped out of Footloose, Concerned Women for America is very real.

And that is an absolute shame.

Let’s take a look at some of the bilge that these guys are producing.

What caught my eye was a recent article of theirs on Malala Yousafzai, a heroic Pakistani girl and women’s rights and peace activist. In this post, the authors launch a vicious attack on Islam as being an inherently barbarous and misogynistic religion with a murderous agenda for any who dare oppose it. As the article states

“Malala questioned the station of women under Islam’s oppressive thumb, and the Taliban tried to put her six feet under the ground.”

This, quite simply, is a lie.

Yes the Taliban tried to kill Malala, and yes, Malala questioned the station of women-but what the authors of the article neglect to mention is that Malala Yousafzai is a Muslim herself.

Apparently it’s not enough that this fifteen year old girl (and she is fifteen, not fourteen, as the CWA article wrongly states) has to deal with the threat of violence and murder- she now has to endure her activism being hijacked by the “Concerned Women for America” bent on turning her sacrifice into a smear campaign against her own religion, which they claim is both “false” and “hate-filled.”

But why stop there?

The “Concerned Women for America” are also turning their ignorant ire against the “Slut Walks,” which for those of you who may be unaware, are parades of women wearing clothes of different degrees of modesty or exposure to make the point that it doesn’t matter how you’re dressed- one’s wardrobe is never an “invitation to rape” as some sex-offenders have tried claiming.

Being the moral, upstanding people that they are, CWA has sent up a howl of protest against these walks, declaring:

“The latest desperate bid for attention by the publicity-starved feminists is to sponsor SlutWalks — events where scantily clad women take to the streets en masse to claim their “right” to dress and behave however they want or to go anywhere at any time without the risk of being sexually assaulted or deemed streetwalkers.”

“They propose somehow to make the point that even if what they wear, their drunken state, or their presence alone in a very vulnerable place might indicate their willingness to participate in a sexual free-for-all, women should not be subject to lewd propositions or be at risk of being raped.”

Now I could leave it right there- those two statements alone are enough to demonstrate without a shred of doubt just what vile, reprehensible misogynistic scum the CWA is made of, but just to hammer in a few more nails for safe measure, here are some of there other quotes.

Here’s a lovely little comment regarding the Russian punk-rock protest group “Pussy Riot,” recently sentenced to two years in prison for singing an anti-government song in a cathedral.

Their formal statements about the incident reveal their utter lack of morality, embrace of a “blame-everyone-but-us” ideology, and disdain for capitalism and individual responsibility. Like their U.S. counterparts, they want “human rights, civil and political freedoms” for themselves but not for Christian believers or anyone else with different beliefs… Christians around the world are facing intolerance of their beliefs and sometimes violence as well. In spite of the Constitution, religious liberty is under attack in the United States, with the federal government telling religious institutions that they must violate their beliefs and support homosexual “marriage,” homosexual adoptions, contraception, and abortion or face penalties.

Really? A handful of women sing a song in a church decrying the increasingly totalitarian state, get the ridiculous sentence of two years prison for doing so (the same action in the US would merit a fine, if that) and it’s you who are the persecuted ones.

Here’s another good one- outrage that a Macy’s employee was fired for confronting a transgender person for using the women’s dressing room.

Transgender?  Give me a break!  First of all, there is no such thing; it is a choice of behavior.  And hope as we might, our desire to behave in a certain way does not legitimize a chosen behavior.  It certainly does not entitle them to circumvent the rights of society and our moral tenets in order for them to “have their way.”  Natalie Johnson, the employee in question, was quoted in an ABC interview, “I refuse to comply with this policy,” and “There are no transgenders in the world.  A guy can dress up as a woman all he wants.  That’s still not going to make you a woman.”

An easy call? Certainly not, but this self-righteous outrage is just plain stupid. What if the person in question had been born a hermaphrodite? How would he or she be treated then? Would that kind of ambiguity have justified the guy/gal being denied service? If that’s our logic, why not deny service to people in wheelchairs for not conforming to the societal norm? That logic just doesn’t hold up.

End of the day, “Concerned Women for America” is what cancer would look like if it were an social movement. Shame on this vile organization.