Global Roundup: Palestinian Teen Telling her Story, Indonesian Art Exhibition, San Marino Legalizes Abortion, Pride to Continue in Kharkiv, Gardening Initiative in Guatemala
Curated by FG Contributor Inaara Merani
“They Called Me a Lioness” chronicles Ahed Tamimi’s life growing up under military occupation. Photo via CNN
In 2017, a video of Ahed Tamimi went viral after she slapped an Israeli soldier for injuring her younger cousin with a rubber bullet. Although this was not the first time she stood up to an armed soldier, this event sparked conversation around the world. After spending eight months in prison, Tamimi reflects on her experiences in her memoir They Called Me a Lioness: A Palestinian Girl’s Fight for Freedom.
While in prison, Tamimi was unaware of how large her story had become. Although she felt exhausted from her experiences, she knew that she had to use her platform to continue speaking out against the injustices committed against Palestinians and on behalf of other Palestinian political prisoners.
Tamimi, who is still relatively young, wanted to publish this memoir to talk about her everyday experiences. The book is co-authored with Dena Takruri, an award-winning journalist. They Called Me a Lioness is a coming-of-age story about a Palestinian girl whose life has been characterized by violence and injustice, but who believes that a peaceful and just society is possible for Palestinians.
This book had to be written now because as a Palestinian living under occupation, tomorrow is not guaranteed for me. I need to use my voice and talk about what my people are going through every day that I am alive. We could be killed or injured at any moment under occupation. I wanted to put something out there in the world in my name that talks about the Palestinian cause and educates people in a way that will live on long after I die. – Ahed Tamimi
Tamimi is a young changemaker who is amplifying the voices and experiences of Palestinian people who are subject to violence every day. Her memoir is a reminder of the resilience of Palestinians and their dedication to fighting for their rights.
FITRI DK, STRONG TOGETHER, 2018. WOODCUT PRINT ON PAPER, 40 X 30CM Photo via Gridlog News.
Indonesian artists Bulan Fi Sabilliah and Fitri DK created the art exhibition, Perempuan Merdeka, to expose societal norms and defy the structures that have contributed to Indonesian women’s lack of agency. The artists intentionally used print-making strategies to showcase their art, referencing the role of print-making in disseminating information against the New Order regime.
Fitri DK used graphic artwork to provoke discourse about social and environmental issues. After attending the Ladies' March in Yogyakarta in 2019, Fitri became hyper-aware of the violence and conflict that gendered minorities were facing. In their artwork, they showcase the importance of a wholesome approach to human rights.
I hope that by way of my artworks, I can unfold the message to the world that gender rights are an important a part of human rights. - Fitri DK
The second artist, Bulan Fi Sabilliah, created art that addressed the commentary on women’s bodies in Indonesian society. Bulan noted that violence against women, whether via comments on a woman’s body or sexual violence, has become normalized and that women have are covering up and concealing themselves, thinking that it will protect them. Bulan’s art showcases messages of body positivity and acceptance in a society where patriarchal values are imposed on girls at a young age.
Digital media usually reinforces this on a regular basis observe to remark and make comparisons on folks’s appearances. Typically folks don’t perceive the impression this seemingly meaningless ‘banter’ has on folks’s shallowness. - Bulan Fi Sabilliah
Bulan Fi Sabilliah, Scar(ed), 2021. Linocut discount on paper, 32cm x45cm. Photo via Gridlock News.
This art exhibition is challenging the discourse on women’s bodies and women’s empowerment and is calling for inclusivity and acceptance.
Women's rights activists celebrate in San Marino after a 2021 referendum approved legalising abortion. Photo via AP Photo/Antonio Calanni, Euro News.
Last year, citizens of San Marino voted to overturn the 150-year-old law which criminalized abortion. The micronation was one of the last countries in Europe which criminalized abortion under all circumstances. This week, the country’s parliament officially voted to legalize abortion.
Abortion procedures after 12 weeks will be legal in circumstances where the woman’s life is at risk, but no person can be denied an abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. The cost of the procedure will be covered by the public health system. Under the previous law, women had to pay for their abortions, and do it in secret. Many women also travelled from San Marino to Italy to have their abortions but were still liable for criminal prosecution.
We are satisfied…Before the new law legalizing it, women not only had to pay for it, you had to do it in secret. – Elena D’Amelio, advocate for the bill
The new law will also provide sex education in schools, as well as compensation for any person who needs to travel outside of San Marino for an abortion when there is a shortage of medical staff in the country. It is possible that healthcare workers and public hospitals could opt out of providing abortions, which is why this reimbursement option exists.
The legalization of abortion is a big step forward for San Marino, a predominantly Catholic nation. It is a crucial step in the fight for women’s rights in San Marino.
A KharkivPride volunteer and her partner, seen in this undated photo, stand in front of a damaged building in Kharkiv, Ukraine, wearing the Ukrainian flag, on the left, and the lesbian Pride flag, on the right. (Submitted by KharkivPride/Sphere). Photo via CBC.
In the midst of the war, the LGBTQ+ community in Ukraine’s second-largest city is preparing for pride. KharkivPride 2022 will be for celebrating and mourning, and it will act as a symbol of the community’s resilience.
Since February, Kharkiv has been under constant attack, but Russian forces were forced to pull back from the area. Although the war is not over, KharkivPride 2022 will be a show of unity, equality, and diversity.
Pride is not a holiday. Yes, it’s a celebration of identity and it’s pride in who we are but … [It’s] about struggle, [it’s] about resistance. – Ruslana Hnatchenko, member of the feminist lesbian organization Sphere
Many queer people have fought on the front lines against Russian forces, and many have been killed during this invasion. However, same-sex partnerships are not recognized in Ukraine, and this has created additional obstacles for members of the Ukrainian LGBTQ+ community during the ongoing conflict.
This Pride will act as a renewed call for marriage equality – partners of queer people fighting on the front lines cannot legally or financially support their spouses. During Pride this week, there will be a memorial for the lives of queer people lost during the war.
It's something for us to pay tribute to the LGBT people fallen during the war … because we all know that Russia doesn't only threaten Ukraine as a state, but also specifically the vulnerable groups in Ukraine. – Ruslana Hnatchenko
Throughout the war, KharkivPride has organized mental health support groups and has provided assistance to people affected by power and water outages, which some believe is breaking down some barriers in Ukrainian society.
The attitudes toward LGBT people have only improved during the war because of the sense of unity and belonging together. We're all in this together. Everyone is fighting and everyone is resisting and hopefully persevering in the end. – Ruslana Hnatchenko
Marisol, 17, teaches a family how to construct a garden, in Sololá, Guatemala, in 2020. Photo courtesy of MAIA Impact School. Photo via Think Global Health.
A decades-long civil war in Guatemala, poverty, malnutrition, and gender inequality have created challenges for Indigenous girls in that country. In light of this, a young Maya woman is creating change using a gardening initiative to help reduce malnutrition in her community, as well as many others.
There are still several stereotypes about women in my village. People here say that education is a waste of time, you must stay at home helping your mother and sisters, and women only exist to get married and raise a family. – Marisol, 17-year-old working on this project
After receiving a scholarship at the secondary school for girls in Sololá, MAIA Impact school, Marisol began to realize her passion for supporting and empowering women. During the pandemic, Marisol came up with the idea “Huertos Familiares”, which translates to “family gardens”. It involves constructing small spaces for planting seeds and plants to be used for cooking. This initiative was created with mothers and stay-at-home women in mind.
Since 2020, Marisol has supported women by holding workshops to strengthen their farming practices by learning about diets that can support their livelihoods. Although she has faced backlash from men who believe her duties should remain within the domestic setting, Marisol is committed to combatting malnutrition and gender inequality, by equipping women with the skills and tools they need to support their families through farming practices.
Inaara Merani (she/her) recently completed her Masters degree at the University of Western Ontario, studying Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies with a specialization in Transitional Justice. In the upcoming years, she hopes to attend law school, focusing her career in human rights law.
Inaara is deeply passionate about dismantling patriarchal institutions to ensure women and other marginalized populations have safe and equal access to their rights. She believes in the power of knowledge and learning from others, and hopes to continue to learn from others throughout her career.