Global Roundup: Russian Woman interrupts Live TV Broadcast to Protest War, Plano Chamber of Commerce Elects First Black Woman to head Women’s Division, Lebanon’s first All-Female Metal Group
Curated by FG intern Sayge Urban
An anti-war protester ran behind a Russian news anchor and showed a sign protesting Russia’s war on Ukraine during the Russian state-run Channel One’s live broadcast on Monday via The Hill
On Monday, an anti-war protester ran behind a Russian News anchor, carrying a sign which protesting Russia’s war on Ukraine, stating “Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They’re lying to you here”. This occurred during a live broadcast on Russia’s most popular news channels, the state-run Channel One.
The protestor has been identified as Marina Ovsyannikova, who is an editor at Channel One. Before her nationwide act, Ovsyannikova recorded a video accusing the network of propaganda and apologizing for having worked there. The video has since gone viral.
Unfortunately, for the last few years I’ve been working for Channel One. I’ve been doing Kremlin propaganda and I’m very ashamed of it — that I let people lie from TV screens and allowed the Russian people to be zombified. - Marina Ovsyannikova
Ovsyannikova’s video was originally posted to a Russian human rights media project, OVD-Info, which aims to combat political persecution.
Noting that her father was Ukrainian, Ovsyannikova highlighted the cost of not speaking out.
We didn't say anything in 2014 when it only just began. We didn’t protest when the Kremlin poisoned Navalny. We just silently watched this inhuman regime. Now the whole world has turned away from us, and ten generations of our descendants won’t wash off this fratricidal war. - Marina Ovsyannikova
Ovsyannikova was fined 30,000 rubles, or around $270, by a Moscow court on Tuesday on charges of organizing unsanctioned actions.
Russia's Investigative Committee is also probing whether she might be charged with publicly spread false information, The Associated Press reported.
She could still be charged under the "fake news" law the Russian parliament passed after the invasion of Ukraine began, which can carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, according to the AP.
Photo via Local Profile
Cheryl Jackson has been elected the first Black woman to lead the women’s division of the Plano Chamber of Commerce in their 50-year history. Jackson, who has been a member of the Plano Chamber for the last 13 years, is well known as the founder of the nonprofit Minnie’s Food Pantry.
Minnie’s Food Pantry, a nonprofit organization that has fed many families across North Texas, has taken up a large portion of Jackson’s life. Though, as she has said, she felt her calling was to serve more.
This is a wonderful organization. I felt like this was a chance to use my voice on another platform so that more people can experience what we do for the metroplex. Then, I wanted to put [my] flavor on it. I felt like it could be a win-win. - Cheryl Jackson
Emily Zoog, the current Board of Directors Chair, said a large number of applicants were up for the top post on the women’s division, but Jackson stood out.
The Chambers women’s division, which started in 1972, began as a support system for the men who were members of the Chamber. Since then it has become more, as it is no longer just a support system, but rather women paving their own way, professionally and personally.
It was the supportive arm. They were supposed to be the support for their husbands and that group of men that were the leaders in our community. Now, it's such a powerful alliance of women who share experiences and goals. Women who serve as role models and mentors, providing a big network for other women. - Emily Zoog
Slave to Sirens via The National
This is the story of Slave to Sirens, one of the Middle East’s first metal bands, and the first female group in Lebanon to take on the genre. The group of five, consisting of guitarists Lilas Mayassi and Shery Bechara, bassist Alma Doumani, and drummers Tatyana Boughaba and Maya Khairallah, met and formed their band back in 2015 in the suburbs of Beirut.
The groups first EP, “Terminal Leeches” was released in 2018, with songs that forced perspective-invoking thoughts. Four of the singles on the EP tackle topics of animal abuse, murder, and war. Beyond the problems regarding the group's outspokenness, and those of being an all-female ensemble, they also had to fight against the social norms of the entire Arab world, which reject metal culture and everything it represents.
Metal music has never been accepted under Arab regimes, just as the Gay Pride parade couldn’t succeed in Egypt. The genre is characterized by black clothes, long hair, skulls, and band named related to death. The Authorities in Arab countries don’t quite understand it, and immediately interpret it as devil worship, heresy. - Kobi Farhi, a founder of the metal band Orphaned Land
Moroccan-American director Rita Baghdadi’s Sundance documentary Sirens about the ensemble has led to greater recognition for the band. After meeting Slave to Sirens, Baghdadi knew she had found the subjects she had been looking for: Arab women who defy all stereotypes, curse, scream and speak openly and powerfully about sexuality.
The film follows the band from its inception at a protest in 2015, through various performances, and up until the devastating explosion at the Beirut port in 2021. It details the band members' desire to make music, even during profound crisis in a society that does not appreciate metal – tracking not only their successes, but their failures as well.
The women of Slave to Sirens have not let the difficulties – both musical and gender-based – deter them in their aim to be professional and create thrash and death metal music.
This country has been fucked up since my grandparents were born. War, no stability, no work. - guitarist Lilas Mayassi says in the film
These women are determined and refuse to give up. The courage to take all their passion and anger on stage in a country that is so against everything they do would not be possible without the support from one another. In 2019, following a performance on one of Beirut’s main drags – Hamra Street – they were met with threats of violence, being ostracized by their families and pushed out of their close circles.
It was hard at first. I had to go through lots of arguments with the family in order for it to work out. But at the end of the day it’s not their decision. I’m not waiting for their approval. Wearing black was a big problem for my father. He said, ‘Black is the color of the devil. You have to wear red, white or pink.’ - Tatyana Boughaba
Farhi said it is time for the world to pay attention to Slaves to Sirens.
Those women have demonstrated great courage. Music is an outlet for expression and helps lots of women in the Middle East voice their protest, even more so when it comes to the world of metal in a conservative, patriarchal society. The world should listen to what they have to say. - Kobi Farhi
Sayge Urban (she/her) is a student at the University of Ottawa currently studying Psychology. She has a passion for writing and speaking out on issues she cares about and strongly believes in the power of words and the weight they hold. She is keen to use her voice and platform to bring awareness to the troubles and triumphs women face and is determined to use her voice to highlight those who cannot and do not have the resources to speak up.
Sayge is a firm believer in the unity of women across the world and the power they hold collectively and wants to use her time at FEMINIST GIANT to learn about the issues most pressing to women as well as they ways she can best be of help.