Jul 282008

Received via e-mail from The International Women’s Peace Service, Haris, Salfit, Palestine:

Women’s demonstration attacked with tear gas and sound bombs in Ni’lin

“On Wednesday 23rd, July IWPS volunteers attended a women’s demonstration in the village of Ni’lin in the Ramallah district of the West Bank. Over 150 women took part including Palestinians from Ni’lin, Ramallah and Tulkarm, and Israeli and international activists. The women were protesting against the construction of the Israeli segregation wall around the village and continued land confiscation, which has already resulted in a loss of over 80% of the village’s land since 1948.

The demonstrators set off from the centre of the village at around 11.30am and made their way to the construction site of the Wall, carrying banners that had been made by children in the village. Before the women reached the site, they were confronted by over a dozen Israeli soldiers. When the women tried to pass them, the soldiers threw sounds bombs and tear gas at them.

When the demonstrators reassembled, women from the village tried to speak to the soldiers to explain the impact that the wall and the land confiscation had on their lives. For over an hour the soldiers used tear gas and sound bombs to try and disperse the crowd, but every time, the women regrouped and attempted to reach the construction site. After approximately one hour, the soldiers began pushing the women and again used excessive amounts of tear gas and sound bombs in attempt to make the women leave the area. When a few men from the village who had been standing away from the demonstration came in to help the women, the soldiers became extremely violent and began beating a number of them. One Palestinian man sustained a head wound: medics made several attempts to treat him at the scene but each time they were prevented by soldiers firing tear gas at them.
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 July 28, 2008  Posted by on July 28, 2008 Comments Off on West Bank: Women’s Demonstration Attacked With Tear Gas And Sound Bombs
Jul 282008

From Equality Now:

Iran: Kobra Najjar Faces Imminent Execution by Stoning for Prostitution

Kobra NajjarEquality Now is urgently concerned about Kobra Najjar, an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery who lost her final appeal for amnesty. Iranian women’s rights activists working on her case report that Kobra has exhausted all domestic legal remedies and that her execution by stoning could happen any time.

Kobra is a victim of domestic violence who was forced into prostitution by her abusive husband in order to support his heroine addiction. He was murdered by one of Kobra’s “clients” who sympathized with her plight. Kobra has already served 8 years in prison as an accessory to her husband’s murder. The man who murdered her husband also served 8 years in prison and is now free after paying blood money and undergoing 100 lashes, while Kobra faces imminent stoning to death for adultery – the prostitution her husband forced upon her.

Equality Now is also concerned about recent reports of seven other women and one man, all accused of adultery sentenced to death by stoning, whose executions are also reported to be possible at any time. In Iran, adultery is the only crime punishable by stoning.

Stoning violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Iran is a state party. The ICCPR clearly prohibits torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment. It also limits the imposition of the death penalty “only for the most serious crimes.” No criminal or other act warrants violent and inhumane punishments such as flogging and stoning. Moreover, adultery is a private act and should not incur criminal punishment. Protection from arbitrary or unlawful interference under the ICCPR has been found by the United Nations Human Rights Committee to include consensual sexual activity between adults in private.

Please write to the Iranian officials below, calling for Kobra’s immediate release, the commutation of all sentences of death by stoning and the prohibition by law of all cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments in accordance with Iran’s obligations under the ICCPR. Urge the officials also to initiate a comprehensive review of the Civil and Penal Codes of Iran to remove all provisions that discriminate and perpetuate discrimination against women, including those regarding adultery and fornication, in accordance with Iran’s own constitutional provision for equality before the law.

His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Head of the Judiciary
c/o Ministry of Justice
Park-e Shahr
Islamic Republic of Iran
Email: iripr@iranjudiciary.org, irjpr@iranjudiciary.com and info@dadgostary-tehran.ir
Phone: +98 21 22741002, +98 21 22741003, +98 21 22741004, +98 21 22741005

Note: The contact information above may encounter delivery problems so please keep trying to send your message. Thank you for taking action!

Please also contact the Iranian embassy in your country. The following link may help you find the contact information: http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/Iran/Iran.html

Bahrain: Embassy of Iran in Manama
Tel: 722400, 722660
Fax: 722101

Canada: Embassy of Iran in Ottawa http://www.salamiran.org/
Tel: 613 2354726 Ext 225
Fax: 613 2325712

Denmark: Embassy of Iran in Copenhagen http://www.iran-embassy.dk
Tel: 39160071
Fax: 39160075

Finland: Embassy of Iran in Helsinki
Tel: (9) 6869240
Fax: (9) 6869241

Germany: Embassy of Iran in Frankfurt
Tel: (0) 695600070, (0) 695600730
Fax: (0) 6956000728

India: Embassy of Iran in New Delhi
Tel: (011) 3329600, (011) 3329601, (011) 3329602, (011) 3320491
Fax: (011) 3325493

Jordan: Embassy of Iran in Amman
Tel: (6) 4641281, (6) 4641282
Fax: (6) 4641383

Kenya: Embassy of Iran in Nairobi
Tel: (2) 720343, (2) 720796
Fax: (2) 713966

Lebanon: Embassy of Iran in Beirut
Tel: (1) 821224

Malaysia: Embassy of Iran in Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (3) 4514830, (3) 4514824
Fax: (3) 4562904

Norway: Embassy of Iran in Oslo http://home.eunet.no/%7Eiranamb/
Tel: 23 27 29 60
Fax: 22 55 49 19

Russia: Embassy of Iran in Moscow
Tel: (95) 9177282, (95) 9170039, (95) 9178440
Fax: (95) 2302897

Sweden: Embassy of Iran in Stockholm
Tel: (80) 7650829, (80) 7653174
Fax: (80) 7653119

Switzerland: Embassy of Iran in Berne
Tel: (31) 3510801, (31) 3510802
Fax: (31) 3515652

United Arab Emirates: Embassy of Iran in Abu Dhabi http://www.iranembassy.org.ae
Tel: (12) 4447618
Fax: (12) 4448714

United Kingdom: Embassy of Iran in London http://www.iran-embassy.org.uk/
Tel: 02072253000
Fax: 02075894440

United States: Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Washington, D.C. http://www.daftar.org/
Tel: 202 9654990
Fax: 202 9651073

Please keep Equality Now updated on your efforts and send copies of any replies you receive to:

Equality Now P.O. Box 20646, Columbus Circle Station, New York NY 10023, USA
Equality Now Africa Regional Office, P.O. Box 2018, KNH 00202, Nairobi, KENYA
Equality Now P.O. Box 48822, London WC2N 6ZW, UNITED KINGDOM

 July 28, 2008  Posted by on July 28, 2008 Comments Off on Action Alert: Iran: Kobra Najjar Faces Imminent Execution by Stoning for Prostitution
Jul 272008

As some of you may have noted, several weeks ago I added a button to the sidebar of the blog that allows you to donate to the Feminist Peace Network. I have always run both FPN and this blog as what I call a No Profit–we don’t have income to speak of and very minimal expenses. Nonetheless, there are some costs–webhosting, printing, phone, computer costs, etc. While I donate my time, there is also the cost of attending workshops and conferences and so on. Be that as it may, I do not feel it is appropriate to go the route of using Google ads for revenue let alone corporate sponsorship that would perhaps be advertising something that does not fit with the ethical leanings of FPN and this blog. And I’m not wild about monthly fundraising drives like some sites use.

All of which leads to the conundrum of funding feminist media. Yes, there are grant opportunities but they are limited. A lot of excellent feminist publications really struggle with staying afloat, as illustrated by the recent fundraising letter from off our backs.

I’ve seen a couple of thought-provoking posts on the subject of funding recently–Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff has an excellent piece on her blog about the negative feedback she got when she asked for financial help on her blog. But then WIMN’s Voices blogger Diane Farsetta takes the Silicon Valley Moms Group to task for accepting corporate sponsorship, writing:

“Maybe the moms are just being savvy about how to get their message out. But I can’t help but think that commodification of a community cheapens it somehow. Plus — as fellow WIMN’s Voices blogger Anne Elizabeth Moore has pointed out — people who participate in these type of deals do the work of corporate marketers, without getting the pay that “real” corporate marketers do.”

So just how is feminist media and women’s media in general supposed to stay afloat? Clearly there are no easy answers. As I wrote last week, the Hot Flash Fan–a phenomenal piece of feminist art–is still searching for a wall of its own. Judy Chicago has an excellent discussion of the difficulty of getting women to fund women’s work in her autobiographical work, “Beyond The Flower.” The bottom line basically comes down to if you go after money, however you do it, you are likely to get bad-mouthed for it and if you don’t, then you are going to be running on empty.

So why you ask am I writing this. Sure it would be great if you can donate to FPN but the real issue here is that feminist media, feminist thinking, art and works of all kinds are critical to the discourse of this society. We need to commit to providing the necessary funding to continue this urgently important work.

 July 27, 2008  Posted by on July 27, 2008 Comments Off on Funding Feminist Media
Jul 272008

During the last week, the FPN blog has been under siege from spammers, which wastes a mega amount of my time. In order to halt that, I’ve added a few hurdles to posting comments. We of course welcome all legit comments  and I hate to add the additional level of complication, but doing this has significantly slowed the spam attack.  In a few days hopefully we can go back to the old system although if the spam continues, it is possible that I will have to turn comments off altogether for awhile. Apologies for the inconvenience, but trust me, it’s necessary.

 July 27, 2008  Posted by on July 27, 2008 Comments Off on About Blog Comments
Jul 272008

Before I took off for vacation last week, I left you with the awe-inspiring Hot Flash Fan and before I ease back into the usual muck that graces these pages, I thought we’d start out with this fabulous quote via Janie Rezner from Dr. Grace Lee Boggs, activist, writer and philosopher and oh yes, age 93:

“We are at a stage in human history that is as monumental as changing from a hunter/gatherer society to an agricultural society and from an agricultural society to and industrial society. Where we’re headed now will be different because we have exhausted planetary space and human space for us to continue to look at things through the Cartesian measurement of material things.

We need to face the way we used the world for our gains, pleasures, satisfactions. This is the way we evolve to a higher stage of humanity. And unless we want to live in terror for the rest of our lives, we need to change our view about acquiring things.

We have the opportunity to take a great leap forward in these very challenging times. We need to change our institutions and ourselves. We need to seize opportunities. We need to launch our imaginations beyond the thinking of the past. We need to discern who we are and expand on our humanness and sacredness. That’s how we change the world, which happens because WE will be the change.”

 July 27, 2008  Posted by on July 27, 2008 Comments Off on Grace Lee Boggs: “We Have The Opportunity To Take A Great Leap Forward”