Thursday, April 1, 2010

Got Water? Do you see Water as a Radical Profeminist Issue Connected to Rape? Please Learn about the African Indigenous Women's Organisation and the Work it Does

 [image is from here]

Too often, the realities of most of the world's women are made invisible by men in the West. If Western men take up issues of gender justice, the lives, experiences, and challenges facing the majority of the world's women, and Indigenous women specifically, tend not to make the radar screen of compassionate concern and activist engagement. There are many challenges for Western men who wish to be responsible global citizens. De-centering our lives as typical examples of what "human life" entails is crucial, for most people on Earth are neither male nor Western. And the threats to life of women outside our communities are likely not to be reported on by the media, or to be reported on in ways that stereotype and further silence those women, replacing their voices with those of translators, Western anthropologists, and Western scholars who each bring their biases into their reporting.

The availability of clean water primarily impacts women living in poor countries, not rich ones. Poor countries are poor due to colonialism, Western capitalism's globalisation, the WTO, the INF, and white greed and consumption of the world's resources, all of which exists at the expense of all other people. Due to having had sustainable societies that were bound to the land in a symbiotic way, many Indigenous peoples are especially vulnerable to Western civilisation. Genocide is the consequence. Indigenous land, cultures, and people are routinely disregarded and destroyed by Western corporations' raids, violations, and theft of "natural resources". "The First World" (read: the Last World)--its policies, practices, politics, presumptions, and people, often work against the interests of Indigenous women. This is because Western civilisation's survival requires genocide and ecocide. The gendered reality of that is often hidden in the media. Most people killed in land and resource wars and genocide are women. Gynocide is A Radical Profeminist's preferred term for the genocide of women, by men, globally.

Land, water, preservation of culture, languages, and resistance to the misappropriation of all of it, are profeminist issues and ought to be centralised into any analysis of what it means to be an oppressed woman.

What follows is from *here* and *here*.


By Gemma Bulos of A Single Drop Posted 12 months ago
Hello sisters I'm so glad to see that you are ready to join us on PWX! I just wanted to ask a few questions about your work if I may. Can you tell me when you decided to focus on water projects and what was the catalyst that started you thinking about starting a water program? Also, I know you are in the early stages of developing your water program, but can you tell us briefly how you are going to roll out your strategy? Looking forward! In sisterhood Gemma

Reply to the questions by Gemma

By Lucy Mulenkei of African Indigenous Women's Organization Posted 12 months ago
Hi all, We decided to focus on water projects after the women and water conference held in Nairobi in the year 2008. During that conference several issues regarding water and women and water were brought out which we decided to address. Among these issues was that women are the ones who are most affected by the effects of climate change like water shortage. This is because women and moreso indigenous women have to travel over long distances to look for water. In the course of that search for water, they are prone to being raped and even to the conflicts among the pastoralist group of the indigenous peoples. This conflicts arise among these communities because you find that there is only a single source of water and so they have fight over it. In addition most water catchment areas in indigenous community areas are polluted because even animals use the same water and so the women end up fetching the same contaminated water which is unsafe for consumption. Therefore the need to separate the area for water access to people and animals made us think of starting a water program. Further, the need to reduce women's workload so that they don't have to waste a lot of time looking for water but to also focus on other income generating activities was a reason for us starting this program. Our strategy has been identifying water catchment areas in indigenous peoples areas that need to be conserved and protected and consulting communities on their water needs. We have also been working in consultation with women and other organised groups from communities that express the need for conserving their water sources. We also want to train women on harvesting rain water using gutters and planting of trees in each homestead. Thank you Yvonne and Georgina.

Organization Background

The African Indigenous Women’s Organization is a continental-wide NGO, whose members are composed of African Indigenous Women representing NGOs and CBOs from all over the continent. We work towards the promotion of women’s rights and indigenous rights throughout Africa.

The specific objectives of AIWO are:
• The defense and promotion of the rights and interests of African Indigenous Women.
• Provide assistance and support to the Indigenous Women of Africa who are victims of violence and genital mutilation.
• Supporting the Indigenous Women of Africa in the preservation of their Indigenous knowledge and natural resources.
• Making every effort to guarantee the property rights of Indigenous Women in order to enable them to live a decent life in their own territories.
• Monitoring the initiation of sustainable economic development in the areas inhabited by the Indigenous Peoples of Africa.
• Organizing training sessions for Indigenous Women in the field of Human Rights.

African Indigenous Women’s Organization (AIWO) was formed on 24th April, 1998, in Agadir, Morrocco. This was after the first African Indigenous Conference held on 20th to 24th the same year. The conference was initiated by Netherlands Center for Indigenous Peoples and hosted by Tamaynut of Morocco. The Theme of the conference was to “Clarify the role of the Indigenous Women as supporters of the Community and strengthen the Indigenous Cultures’ chances for persistence”. The organization was started by a number of Indigenous Women attending the conference, in response to the lack of recognition of Indigenous Women’s rights in Africa. Those who started AIWO are all members of Indigenous and/or women’s rights-focused NGOs and CBOs throughout Africa.

AIWO is a regional organization. We work in all regions of the Africa. AIWO has elected officials to represent Northern, Western, Eastern, Central and Southern Africa. We are connected with NGOs and CBOs throughout the continent, and carries out activities in each region.
Our target group is all African Indigenous Women throughout the continent, as well as non-governmental and community-based organizations run by and for the benefit of African Indigenous Women.

AIWO’s strength is in its diversity, extensive networks and the knowledge that each of the members bring to the group. As AIWO’s members are also members of women’s rights-focused and Indigenous organizations from all over Africa, each brings valuable experiences, contacts and ideas to the organization. The regionally-focused structure means that AIWO can run programs and activities in each region, as well as planning activities which bring all of the regional segments together.

Annual Water and Sanitation Budget
(in USD)
Annual Non-Water
(in USD)

Iraqi Women Forced into Sexual Slavery: US and UK Culpability

Please click on title just below to link back to where I found this post.

Iraqi Women Forced into Sexual Slavery
Thursday, 28 January 2010 18:40
Interview with Houzan Mahmoud: Iraq’s desperate economic and security situation is leading to the trafficking of hundreds of Iraqi women into prostitution and sexual slavery.  Rising numbers of Iraqi women are being sold into sexual slavery every year because of the waning economy and dire security situation.

Human rights organizations are highlighting the plight of Iraqi women and young girls, sometimes as young as twelve, exploited by criminal gangs for profit.  “The women trafficking trade is at its height,” Houzan Mahmoud, representative abroad of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq said. “There has never been a situation as extreme, and it’s frightening. Many of them have been trafficked to neighboring countries like Syria or the Gulf states or trafficked internally inside Iraq from one city to another.”

The Baghdad Women’s Organization estimates that at least 200 Iraqi women are sold into slavery every year, although the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch estimates that the numbers are in the thousands. The organization warns that the figures may be higher if Iraqi refugee women in neighboring countries such as Syria and Lebanon are also counted.

“The situation has become much worse since 2003, after the U.S. led invasion of Iraq,” Nadya Khalife, a women’s rights researcher for the Middle East and North Africa region at Human Rights Watch told The Media Line.

“More women have become widows and orphans and have turned to prostitution to simply make ends meet,” she said. “There are simply no other alternatives for women who head households to locate other sources of income. In Syria and Lebanon, for instance, Iraqi families have simply exhausted their financial savings and some of these families have forced their own wives and daughters into prostitution.”

Mahmoud said that since 2003 more than 70% of Iraqis have lost their jobs, a situation compounded by a lack of welfare provisions.

“We have more than four million widows in Iraq… who will provide for these women?” Mahmoud asked. “The situation created absolute poverty, particularly for women, and these women have virtually no other option but to turn to prostitution.”

“There’s nothing called choice in this,” she stressed. “They are either being forced into it because of the economic and political situation or because of a lack of security, whereby women and young girls are being kidnapped.”

With relatively few rights, the ability of Iraqi women to reintegrate into society after prostitution is limited. The women are often ostracized, attacked by their community and harassed by the authorities with charges of immorality.

“These women lack confidence, lose faith in themselves and blame themselves,” Mahmoud said. “There are so many women who have been jailed for being involved in prostitution. They don’t target the ring leaders for women trafficking – they actually jail the women. If the family finds out, they might kill her, or the neighborhood will shun her and she’ll be stigmatized for her whole life.”

Mahmoud argued that the Iraqi government and political elite have a hand in forcing women into prostitution.

“We’re talking about party politicians who have numbers of women prostitutes in their mobile phones,” she said. “We have to bring this to light. People in the Iraqi parliament and government are basically promoting women’s prostitution and they won’t be punished. As always, it’s the woman paying the price because she’s a woman and in that society and political climate, women are victimized everywhere.”

While human rights organizations were working to expose the practice, Mahmoud said a more holistic approach was required.

“The Iraqi government is responsible for the lives and dignity of these women and children, who’ve been trafficked and forced into prostitution,” she said. “The U.S. and U.K. government [are also responsible] for occupying Iraq and creating such a miserable situation for the population, whose only crime is being Iraqi. They should be blamed and held responsible for this situation whereby people can easily kidnap you and sell you for money. It’s absolutely outrageous.”

Written by Rachelle Kliger
Published Wednesday, December 02, 2009


Get Copy of Yanar Mohammed's Speech, "Women's Struggle for Freedom in Iraq"

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International Campaign to End Rape, Abduction, and Killing of Women in Iraq
Monday, 21 April 2008 14:48
Buy your Copies of Yanar Mohammed's speech "Women's Struggle for Freedom in Iraq" at Pace University in NYC (10/23/03) are available in four different formats:
 1) a 15 minute edited "video-letter" of the speech. 
 2) the full length speech on video (unedited), which includes the question and answer period and runs approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes.
 3)  an edited audio CD of the speech (runs 78 minutes)
 4)  an audio CD of an in-depth interview with Yanar prior to the Pace event, that was conducted by the Joy of Resistance Feminist Radio host Fran Luck and Linda Freeman. (runs 58 minutes)
We're asking for a $10 dollar donation for each of the CDs and $20 dollars for each of  the video tapes (more if you can, less if you can't.)  These donations will go towards funding OWFI's work in Baghdad.  Checks can be made out to Defense of Iraqi Women's Rights and mailed to:
DIWR c/o Jennifer Fasulo  
 818 Pavonia Ave. #1                                                                                                    Jersey City, NJ 07306
For more info, contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text13157 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //-->

The School of Our Lorde Politics Unit: sessions in April coming right up!!!

School of Our Lorde Politics Promo from Alexis Gumbs on Vimeo.

Click on title below to link back to the source at Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind blog. Thanks Alexis!!!

Sign Up for the School of Our Lorde Politics Unit: April 14, 21, 28!

April 1, 2010

The politics unit (which will run on Wednesdays at 6:30-9:30 pm at the Inspiration Station on April 14, 21 and 28th) will draw on letters, meeting agendas, notes and published and unpublished essays by Audre Lorde that focus on her approach to organizational politics, responding to violence against women of color, and her approach to transnational solidarity work.   Of course I strongly believe that Audre Lorde’s work can provide a space for us to explore and gain clarity about our own approaches to these and other issues as we transform the world!

Exciting poetic childcare will be provided for every session by Beth Bruch!!!

Apply now!  (Applications due by Monday, April 12)
If you live near Durham!

School of Our Lorde Politics Application (pdf)

School of Our Lorde Politics Application (doc file)

Fill out an application and email it to or drop it by the Inspiration Station.

Anywhere else in the world? Sign up online:

World Human Rights Outcry Calling for Accountability from Amnesty International for their Sexist, Silencing Practices

[image is from here]

Press Release: World Wide Outcry To Make Amnesty International See Reason and Make Amends

March 22, 2010
People from across the world, including key human rights activists, public intellectuals and citizens groups have supported a global petition demanding public clarification and accountability from Amnesty International.

Among the prominent signatories figure: Salman Rushdie, Michael Walzer; Amitav Ghosh; Malalai Joya, (MP Afghan Parliament, suspended for criticizing warlords).; Dr. Nawal El Sadaawi (Writer and former political prisoner) Egypt.; Martha Nussbaum (Professor of Law and Ethnics, University of Chicago; co-founder of the Human Development and Capabilities Association with Amartya Sen) US.; Dr. Yakin Erturk (Former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and board Member of UNRISD). Turkey,: I. A. Rehman and Iqbal Haidar (the most senior members of Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission); Farida Shaheed (UN Independent Expert on Cultural Rights and Director of Research at Shirkat Gah) Pakistan; Jodie Evans (Environmental activist and founder member of CODEPINK, Women for Peace) US; Nayantara Sahgal (Celebrated writer, and former Indian Ambassador to Italy) India; Romila Thapar (Eminent Historian of Ancient India) India; Madanjeet Singh (UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and founder of South Asia Foundation) Ramachandra Guha (historian, and a regular columnist with The Telegraph of Calcutta.) [See below wider list of notable signatories]
  • On Feburary 7, 2010 Amnesty International’s controversial alliance with Moazzem Begg and his organization, Cageprisoners, who have an ambiguous position on the Taliban, was publicly questioned by Gita Sahgal, Head of the Gender Unit at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, London.
  • Sahgal raised a fundamental point of principle, which is “about the importance of the human rights movement maintaining an objective distance from groups and ideas that are committed to systematic discrimination.”
  • This principle in no way contradicts or negates the Amnesty International campaign against the fundamental human rights abuses that have occurred at Guantanamo and elsewhere.
  • Rather than responding to the seriousness of her concerns with an investigation of the issues and/or having a democratic debate both internally and in the public domain, Amnesty International suspended Gita Sahgal and publicly reiterated its alliance with Begg. This is a compromise of its own core values.
  • In response to the petition, as well as in a recent public statement, Amnesty has quoted the concept of defensive jihad as justification for its support of Begg.
Full text of the The Global petition to Amnesty International: Restoring the Integrity of Human Rights
The above petition is open for public signatures
Selected list of the notable signatories includes :
Rhonda Copelon (Director of IWHR (International Women’s Human Rights Law Clinic, City University of NY) US
Meredith Tax (Writer and feminist organizer; President of Women’s WORLD). US.
Michael Walzer (Political scientist at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, and editor of Dissent magazine). US.
Salman Rushdie (Internationally known writer; winner of the Booker Prize).
Amitav Ghosh (Writer and Professor of Comparative Literature at Queens College, NY; awarded the Padma Sri prize awarded by the Indian government). US and India.
Malalai Joya, (MP Afghani Parliament, suspended for criticizing warlords), Afghanistan.
Dr. Nawal El Sadaawi (Physician, writer, and former political prisoner) Egypt.
Martha Nussbaum (Professor of Law and Ethnics, University of Chicago; c-founder of the Human Development and Capabilities Association with Amartya Sen) US.
Dr. Yakin Erturk (Former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and board Member of UNRISD). Turkey
I. A. Rehman and Iqbal Haidar (the most senior members of Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission) Pakistan
Farida Shaheed (UN Independent Expert on Cultural Rights and Director of Research at Shirkat Gah). Pakistan
Gayatri Chakravorti Spivak (Literary theorist and University Professor at Columbia, visiting faculty at Center for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta) US and India.
Marieme Helie-Lucas (Algerian sociologist and founder of Women Living Under Muslim Laws and coordinator of Secularism is a Women’s Issue, Algeria and France.
Charlotte Bunch (Founder of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University, NJ). US.
Rosalind Petchesky (Professor of Women’s Studies and Political Science, Hunter College and the Graduate Center at the City University of New York and MacArthur Fellow) US.
Katha Pollitt (Poet and columnist for The Nation magazine) US
Judy Norsigian (Cofounder and Executive Director of theBoston Women’s Health Collective which publishes Our Bodies Ourselves) US
Jodie Evans (Environmental activist and founder member of CODEPINK, Women for Peace) US
Kum-Kum Bhavnani (Filmmaker) US
Gila Svirsky (Feminist peace activist, cofounder of Women in Black and the Coalition of Women for a Just Peace) Israel
Sonia Correa (Research associate at ABIA - Brazilian Interdisciplinary Association for AIDS,and DAWN coordinator for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health Research) Brazil
Carole Vance (Associate Clinical Professor of Sociomedical Sciences, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University) US
Steven Lukes (Professor of Politics and Sociology, New York University) US
Tom Harrison (Co-Director, Campaign for Peace and Democracy) US
Patricia McFadden (Editor of SAFERE, Southern African Feminist Review) Zimbabwe
Cynthia Fuchs Epstein (Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of NY) US
Kristen Booth Glen (Surrogate Court judge in Manhattan; former Dean of the Law School of the City University of New York). US.
Mariella Sala (Writer and former director of RELAT, a Latin American network of women writers; the Latin American Press Agency; and Flora Tristan women’s association) Peru
Virginia Vargas (Sociologist; founder of the Flora Tristan women’s association, and former Latin Amerian coordinator for the 1995 UN Conference on Women in Beijing). Peru.
Dubravka Ugresic (Internationally known writer, formerly from Croatia; winner of many European prizes). Netherlands.
Wanda Nowicka (Polish feminist organizer; co-founder and Director of the Federation for Women and Family Planning, and and co-founder of ASTRA, the Central and Eastern European Women’s Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights) Poland
Dan Connell (Distinguished Lecturer in Journalism and African Politics, Simmons College, Boston) US
Lynne Segal (Socialist feminist writer and activist; Anniversary Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies, Birkbeck College, London.) UK.
Doug Ireland (Well known investigative journalist and defender of gay rights). US
Nayantara Sahgal (Celebrated writer, and former Indian Ambassador to Italy) India
Romila Thapar (Eminent Historian of Ancient India) India
Lilian Halls-French, President, European Feminist Initiative (IFE-EFI) France
J. Sri Raman (Senior journalist and Peace campaigner) India
Jean-Marie Matagne (Former presidential candidate, President of Action des Citoyens pour le Désarmement Nucléaire –ACDN) France
Madanjeet Singh (UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and Founder of the South Asia Foundation) India
Kamla Bhasin (Co-President, PeaceWomen Across the Globe) India
Hameeda Hossain (South Asians For Human Rights) and ASK (Ain O Salish Kendra) a women’s rights organization, Bangladesh
Yvonne Deutsch (co founder of Women in Black Jerusalem and founder Feminist Center in Jerusalem) Israel
Shabnam Hashmi (founder of Act Now for Harmony and Democacy -Anhad) India
Kushi Kabir (Feminist and founder of Nijrera Kori, women’s mass organistaion) Bangladesh
Harsh Mander (former state official and founder of Aman Biradari) India
Andrej Grubacic (Associated with Global Balkans Network) USA
Sunanda Sen (renowned economist) India
Kumudini Samuel (Women and Media Collective) Sri Lanka
Uma Chakravarti (Feminist Historian, and human rights activist, India)
Amit Bhaduri (Professor Emeritus at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi) India
Caroline Fourest (Writer and journalist, Editor of the Journal Prochoix) France
Anand Patwardhan (documentary filmmaker and peace activist) India
Sooni Taraporevala (widely acclaimed film scenarist) India
Bruce Portugal Amoroto (Diversity and Equality) Philippines
Sonia Jay Wright (Rede Mulher & Democracia) Brazil
Houzan Mahmoud (Kurdish women’s rights and peace activist and co-founder of the Iraqi Women’s Rights Coalition) Iraq
Martha Villanueva /
Rina Nissim (Women’s Health Activist, Publisher) Switzerland
Stasa Zajovic (founder of Women in Black-Belgrade) Serbia
Ramachandra Guha (historian, and a regular columnist with The Telegraph of Calcutta.) India
Lino Veljak, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Asghar Ali Engineer (Director, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism) India
Sultana Kamal (Director of Ain O Salish Kendra and former advisor the Bangladesh Govt.) Bangladesh
Tanvir Mokammel (film maker) Bangladesh
Mazher Hussain (Director, Confederation of Voluntary Agencies –COVA) India
Jameela Nishat (Hyderabad-based feminist and poet) India
Gautam Navlakha (Editorial Consultant, Economic and Political Weekly, Bombay and a senior member of People’s Union for Democratic rights)
Ruth Vanita (Feminist and Writer, former co-editor of the journal Manushi)
Kavita Srivastava (General Secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties) India
Deniz Kandiyoti (Reader at the Department of Development Studies and Chair of the Centre of Contemporary Central Asia and the Caucasus at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.) UK
Pierre Pradervand (writer and founder of vivre autrement) Switzerland
Mohammad Tahseen (Executive Director, South Asia Partnership-Pakistan) Pakistan
Sheema Kermani (Dancer, and Feminist. Founder of the group Tehrik e Niswan) Pakistan
Sheba Chhachhi (artist, photographer, feminist activist, and writer) India
Zoya Hasan (Professor of Political Science at Jawaharlal Nehru University) India
Dr Abid Suleri (Executive Director Sustainable Development Policy Institute -SDPI Islamabad (Pakistan)
Sonia Jabbar (writer, journalist, photographer, filmmaker) India
NiraYuval-Davis (Director of the Research Centre on Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London) UK
Babu Gogineni (International Director of the International Humanist and Ethical Union) India
Tarek Fatah (political activist, writer and broadcaster) Canada and Pakistan
Kumudini Samuel (Women and Media Collective) Sri Lanka
Sumit Sarkar, was Professor of History at the University of Delhi and founding member of the Subaltern Studies Collective (India)
Tanika Sarkar (Professor of History at Jawaharlal Nehru University) India
Dilip Simeon (Labour Historian and founder of Aman Trust) India
Githa Hariharan (writer, and editor) India
Urvashi Butalia (Feminist Activist and founder of Zubaan Books) India
Deepa Dhanraj (Feminist and documentary Film Maker) India
Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters, UK
Farooq Tariq / Labour Party Pakistan
Jessica Almy-Pagán, Universidad de Puerto Rico en Arecibo
Pamela Philipose (Journalist and Director of Women’s Feature Service) India
Meghna Guhathakurta, Academic, Dhaka (Bangladesh)
Subhashini Ali, President, (All India Democratic Women’s Association - AIDWA), India
Javed Anand (General Secretary, Muslims for Secular Democracy and Co-editor, Communalism Combat; Founding Trustee, Citizens for Justice and Peace , Mumbai) India
Karamat Ali (Co Director, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research and founding Member of Pakistan Peace Coalition) Pakistan
Ruchir Joshi (writer and film maker) India
Prof. Kamal Chenoy (Chairperson, Centre for Comparative Politics & Political Theory, Jawaharlal Nehru University) India
Dr John Dayal (former journalist and is Secretary General of All India Christian Council) India
Nick Cohen (journalist, author, and political commentator) UK
Kalpana Kannabiran (Asmita Collective) India
Tahir Mahmood (Jurist and Member, Law Commission of India) India
Peter Waterman (writer, scholar, initiator of a Global Labour Charter) Netherlands
Cherifa Kheddar (President "Djazairouna" association of familles of victimes of islamist, terrorism) Algeria
Harsh Kapoor (Founder South Asia Citizens Web) France and India
Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), International
Baobab for Women’s Human Rights, Nigeria
Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), US
Fundacion Arcoiris por el respeto a la diversidad sexual, Mexico
I-NFORM, Sri Lanka
Marea (Feminist journal), Italy
Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), Afghanistan/Pakistan
Secularism is A Women’s Issue (SIAWI), International
Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights, US
Women Against Fundamentalism, UK
Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), International
and 1500 more signatories
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