Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Waris Dirie - campaigning against genital mutilation

'My mother held me down'
Waris had operations to try to correct the damage

Police in the UK are offering a reward for information leading to the prosecution of anyone involved in the practice of female genital mutilation. Here the Somali-born model Waris Dirie describes her experience.

Click here to read the BBC article

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Caged birds sing in Iran

Here is an excerpt from BBC correspondent Frances Harrison's moving farewell essay about Iran:

Subtle opposition

But let me tell you about the subtle ways in which Iranians articulate their opposition.

This is not a culture where anyone says anything directly - and it can sometimes be infuriating for a foreigner.

But it has nuance, subtlety and a playfulness that is lost in the one-dimensional views you see in news reports.

The other night I was at a private party and two young Iranian women performed a song about a bird. It was indescribably sad and beautiful and had many of the women in the audience in tears.

Women are not allowed to sing in public in Iran - it is considered un-Islamic for men to hear them.

These women - who in today's Iran can only perform in houses of friends - sang about a bird, a crane, whose wings had been clipped and whose mouth had been covered.

It was a poetic symbol of censorship and the restrictions imposed on women. It moved the audience far more than any feminist speech or political agitation because it drew on their tradition and the Iranian love of poetry.

Click here to read the article in full

Friday, July 06, 2007

Nepalese women train to join Gurkhas

The Gurkhas are one of the bravest, most highly decorated Army brigades in the world, but up till now, they've been an all-male outfit.

Read all about it in the Guardian

Or listen to BBC radio

Six-year old Connie charms Simon Cowell

On a lighter note...

Modern-day Godiva

Indian woman strips in dowry row
A woman in western India has stripped to her underwear in public to protest over alleged abuses from her husband's family for not providing a dowry.