On Feminism, Fiction and the Illusion of Democracy – Dr. Nawal El Saadawi (Egypt)

Greetings.  In this post , we share several interviews with Dr. Nawal El Saadawi from Egypt.

Dr. Saadawi is a formidable medical doctor, author, campaigner and activist  and a leading Egyptian, Arab and Global feminist voice. She was born in 1931, in the village of Kafr Tahla, just north of Cairo, the second of nine children. She graduated from the University of Cairo in 1955, specialising in psychiatry, and returned to Kafr Tahla to work as a doctor, over the years becoming increasingly prominent.  She has written more than 50 books in Arabic and many of these have been translated to over 30 different languages.

Click here to read a powerful interview with her in the Guardian newspaper entitled: “Do you feel you are Liberated? I feel I am not.”

Dr. Saadawi is the subject of the film She Spoke the Unspeakable, directed by Jill Nicholls, broadcast in February 2017 in the BBC One television series Imagine.

 

 

 

Below is another interview she had with BBC Hard talk:

 

 

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International Albinism Awareness Day

For this post, we are celebrating International Albinism Awareness Day, 13th June.

People with albinism face multiple forms of discrimination worldwide. Albinism is still profoundly misunderstood, socially and medically. The physical appearance of persons with albinism is often the object of erroneous attitudes, beliefs and myths influenced by superstition, which foster their marginalisation and social exclusion. This leads to various forms and practices of stigma and discrimination, and endanger the security and lives of persons with albinism who are at constant risk. These beliefs and myths are centuries old and are present in cultural attitudes and practices around the world.

On 18 December 2014, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming, with effect from 2015, 13th June as International Albinism Awareness Day.

Please find below a few resources that shed more light on why this day is important for all of us.

  • GIZA (Darkness) is a beautiful short film made by Isack Abel from Tanzania who has albinism and in which he expresses his feelings about the Fight Against Albino Killings. Please watch this and share widely for awareness and action.
  • A BBC documentary on ‘living differently‘ that features Leo, a young man whose brother and sister also have albinism. Although he struggled to accept the condition as a child, Leo grew to be proud of his unique looks and has become a model. Leo’s high profile modelling career is a source of inspiration to other young people with albinism.
  • Salif Keita Global Foundation – Salif Keita is a world renowned musician from Mali. He is the first African to receive a Grammy nomination for his album “AMEN” and has been cited as “one of the greatest talents Africa has ever produced”.  Mr. Keita has raised awareness about the plight of albinos in Africa around the world to millions of people with the help of campaigns, albums, interviews, books, social media, and mainstream media. His foundation is the leading organisation in raising global awareness for the cause of albinism in Africa.
  • Under The Same Sun (UTTS) is an organisation that works support people with albinism become fully contributing members of an inclusive and equitable society.
  • UN resources on albinism. More resources about the UN Day are available here.

The “call to action” here is for all of us to learn, unlearn and challenge ourselves, our attitudes and behaviour. More on how you can be involved here

Happy International Albinism Awareness Day

Celebrating Black British History

For this post, we honour those who have dedicated their efforts towards documenting, sharing and hence bringing to light the often-hidden history of Black people in the UK.

Walter Tull
A photo of Walter Tull, one of the first professional Black  footballers (with  Tottenham Hotspur & Northampton Town, after which he became the first Black officer in the British Army. He was killed in 1918, one hundred years ago).  You can read more about him about here

Northamptonshire Black History Association (NBHA) is made up of volunteer historians who have committed over 30 years to researching, documenting and sharing the history of Black people in the East Midlands county and their story can be read here.  The NBHA Project was the first major attempt to put Black British History on the record outside big cities like London, Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool. It successfully combined the efforts of individual volunteers, local community organisations and local agencies including Northamptonshire’s Record Office and Library Services. Among the NBHA achievements are the development of educational resource packs and a course in Black British history in collaboration with the University of Northampton.  You can browse their website here and find some of their publications here

A similar but different story can be found in Exeter, in the West of the country, where a group of people came up with a project called “Telling our Stories, Finding our Roots”, which can be read about here

Historian David Olusoga developed an excellent TV series and book in 2016 entitled Black and British: A Forgotten History; some of the clips and episodes can be viewed here

The Black Presence in Britain is a website that has comprehensive material on the same and can be accessed here.  You may also enjoy reading up on 100 Great Black Britons here or on the Diversity Dashboard of Black History, which can be found here

Inclusive Leadership

The article entitled “The Six Signature Traits of Inclusive Leadership” by Juliet Bourke and Bernadette Dillon lists the following as critical traits for Inclusive Leadership:

  • Commitment
  • Courage
  • Cognisance of Bias
  • Curiosity
  • Cultural Intelligence
  • Collaboration

The article talks about each of these in depth; it also discusses the “new diversity of the world”, in terms of diversity of Markets, Customers, Ideas and Talent

To read this article in full, please click here

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Remembering Sivanandan

Ambalavaner Sivanandan (see picture below), who was a leading voice on race relations in UK and beyond for over 40 years, passed on earlier this year on January 3rd.  As Director of the Institute of Race Relations, he re-named their journal to “Race and Class” and was the editor for many years.  Gary Younge, Guardian editor-at-large,  described him as “a tireless and eloquent voice explaining the connections between race, class, imperialism and colonialism.”

To read the full obituary written by Younge, click here

For more about the work of the Institute of Race Relations, please see here

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Another excellent piece written by Gary Younge entitled “End all Immigration Controls – they’re a sign we value money more than people” can be read here.  The final paragraph, very much in the spirit of Sivanandan, follows:

Nation states are a relatively new concept; migration is as old as humanity. Borders seek to regulate and restrict that basic human custom for the distinct purpose of excluding some and privileging others. They discriminate between all people with the express intention of then being able to discriminate against some people. They do not simply set boundaries for countries, but are metaphors for the boundaries of how we might think about other human beings. Immigrants are not the problem. Borders are.

For more of Gary Younge’s writing please see here

 

Gender – Based Analysis Plus online course

Hello all,

It has been quite a while! This has been because of competing demands based on work exigencies and family commitment. We hope you are thriving!

We welcome you to undertake this Gender- Based Analysis Plus (GBA+) e course that has been developed by Status of Women Canada and which has been adopted by the Government of Canada.

GBA+ is an analytical tool used to assess how diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people may experience policies, programs and initiatives. The “plus” in GBA+ acknowledges that GBA goes beyond biological (sex) and socio-cultural (gender) differences. We all have multiple identity factors that intersect to make us who we are; GBA+ also considers many other identity factors, like race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability.

You can access the course on the below link:

http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/gba-acs/course-cours-2017/eng/mod00/mod00_01_01.html

“I think it is incumbent on all human beings to oppose injustice in every form.”

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In this post, we celebrate the life of a great South African musician and hero, Hugh Ramopolo Masekela, known to many as Bra Hugh, who passed on this year on January 23rd.  He would have been 79 this week on April 4th.  Bra Hugh was not only a musical legend but a social inclusion hero.

“My biggest obsession is to show Africans and the world who the people of Africa really are”

Bra Hugh certainly lived this out in his music, he produced over 40 albums during a career that lasted over 60 years.  If you don’t know his music, we recommend you go to you tube and discover his legendary sounds… here are a few recommendations:

 Stimela (the Coal train) a classic song that tells the real story of the coal mines in South Africa…

Bring him back Home – an anti-apartheid anthem…

Change – a political song calling on leaders who have over-stayed to step down…

Here also is his famous Homecoming Concert, after returning to South Africa in 1991 after 30 years in exile, where he had spent time in many countries in West and Central Africa, as well as USA and Botswana.  This was known as the Sekunjalo (“This is it”) concert.

So much was written about Bra Hugh when he passed on..

There is an excellent one from Robin Denselow writing in the Guardian here

Another great tribute from Charles Onyango-Obbo in the East African can be read here

For those who love Quotes, please have a look at some of Masakela’s great ones here

Masakela also started a Heritage Foundation which has the Mission “To unearth, preserve and promote Africa’s heritage and culture through arts and education and to restore Africa’s identity and share it with the world.”  More can be found out about the Foundation here

Please do also visit the official Hugh Masakela site here for more about his life and work.

Rest in Peace Bra Hugh… you are missed by many millions and your legacy will go on and on, as you continue to inspire future generations.