Monthly Archives: September 2015

Satirical Indian Video Blames Women for Rape

Two young women created a video that went virtal, “It’s your fault” you got raped, no matter what you were wearing or who you were with.

Yemen War Kills Thousands of Civilians

It’s difficult to unite Yemen’s multiple political parties, tribal sheikhs, religious leaders, al Qaeda, revolutionary youth, and North and South. It’s also caught in power plays between Shite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia. Civil war killed over 4,500 people by September 2015 and over a million citizens were displaced from their homes. Saudi-led airstrikes devastated cities, killing over a thousand people by September 2015: “They are targeting the whole population,” reported a survivor of the strikes, age 20, with burns over two-thirds of his body.[i] American weapons were used in the war, including missiles for Saudi fighter jets. Women and children were caught in the crossfire, some women had to marry to protect themselves, others struggled to provide for their families while their husbands were fighting, others were displaced without social services. Yet women were left out of peace negotiations in Yemen and the Middle East: It’s the “male-controlled mentality of Saudi-inspired Salafism that has detached women from participation in building the peaceful Yemeni society.”[ii] Updates and resources are provided in Atiaf Alwazir’s blog “Woman from Yemen.[iii]

[i] Kareem Fahim, “Airstrikes Take Toll on Civilians in Yemen War,” New York Times, September 12, 2015.

[ii] Afouaiz, “The Forgotten Frontline: Women at War Zone: Yemen’s Case,” sanaafouaiz blog, July 9, 2015.


International Rap Protest Video

An international rap protest video titled “Multi_Viral” includes a Puerto Rican rap group singing in Spanish “The state fears us because we’re at once 132 and 15-M,” US guitarist Tom Morello, Arab-Israeli protest singer Kamilya Jubran (the only woman) and spoken word by Julian Assange, with video of a Palestine boy who chooses to play music over violence.[i] The video references uprisings in Spain, the Arab Spring, the Occupy Movement and Mexico’s yosoy132. Some of the lyrics were solicited from fan tweets. Assange says, “From Cairo to Quito a new world is forming, the power of people armed with the truth.”

[i] Sarah Doughterty, “Millions are Watching this Puerto Rican Rap Video,” Global Post, December 17, 2013.

Organizing against Neoliberal Education

Students from Mexico, the US and Canada met in the 11th Trinational Conference in Defense of Public Education to organize against neoliberal influence on education that lead to privatization of schools, standardized testing emphasis, attacks on teachers’ unions, school closures, and budget cuts.[i] They advocated early childhood education for all children, social services in schools, free college funded by taxing the wealthy, and closer partnerships between teacher unions and student groups.


[i] Roshan Bliss, “Teachers, Unions, Students Build Trinanational Movement Against Neoliberal Education, Popular Resistance, June 24, 2014.

Pakistani Heroine

When Mukhtaran Mai was gang raped by “wild beasts” on the command of a tribal assembly to avenge honor, instead of following tradition and committing suicide, she went to the police (to no avail), and set up a girls’ school and women’s crisis center in her village. When she was asked if change is occurring she reported, “It’s not just the girls who want to study but their parents are finally behind them. These were parents who were abusive about educating girls – they were frightened about its effects.” She receives death threats for her activism, but vows to keep fighting for women’s rights because “The women here are fighting for release from their pain.” Many projects aim to improve girls’ education: The Indus Resource center was founded by a woman, Dadiqa Salahuddin, to focus on improving women’s lives and girls’ education. Educated privileged Pakistani girls that I email with don’t wear hajib, go skiing, have fun, and wait until they’re ready to get married.

Samira Shackle, “Mukhtar Mai: The Gang Rape Victim who Defied Her Attackers,” New Statesman, 2012.

Engaging Girls in Leadership

When encouraging youth engagement and participation in their communities, adult leaders recognize that girls have specific issues such as safety, permission from their families to leave home for meetings, peer relationships, and loss of confidence in self-expression in adolescence. The latter is explored in “Girls Speak: A New Voice in Global Development” (2010). The researchers found girls know what they want but often lack the power to make their own decisions.  Adults who work with youth need training on how to empower them because engaged youth have better outcomes and self-confidence.  The most researched areas are how to involve girls in Participatory Action Research and media campaigns, by youth-serving organizations such as Youth on Board for high school students, founded in 1994 by student organizer Karen Young. Its publications include “15 Points to Successfully Involving Youth in Decision-Making.”  Other leadership programs for girls are the YWCA’s Young Women’s Leadership Alliance, Girls Incorporated, Girls Action Foundation in Canada, Advocates for Youth’s Girls Engagement Advisory Board, Youth United for Global Action and Awareness , The Girl Effect, and the UN’s Working Group on Girls. The Free Child Project gives many examples of youth activist programs and resources around the US, a useful site to learn about how to encourage youth activism  Cascading leadership trains older adolescent girls or young women to lead programs for younger girls. Another organizing tool is Hart’s ladder that diagrams the levels of youth participation from adult manipulation and tokenism to youth-led activities.

Click to access Girls-Speak-A-New-Voice-In-Global-Development.pdf

President Morales Says Women Smarter

Bolivian president Evo Morales said that women are honest, work harder and are more intelligent than men and therefore would be running the country “if they weren’t such capricious little creatures” and didn’t fight among themselves.[i])

[i] “Bolivia’s Evo Morales Says Women Smarter than Men,” Latino Fox News, February 3, 2015.