Bidding adieu to 2008 (and – inauguration day is coming!)

Change we can believe in. (Flickr / riverwatcher09)
Change we can believe in. (Flickr / riverwatcher09)

December 31, 2008 – a few hours before midnight,  I momentarily set my perpetually poor-performing laptop  down on the floor. Upon returning it to my lap, I am given nothing but the error message “operating system not found.”

Fluff post? It may sound that way.  The point is – 2008 was ending quite aptly: nothing sums it up better than “operating system not found.” In fact, technology references seem mighty appropriate for 2008 – someone get me a fire wire to rapidly send all useful data to a stable-state hard drive, please. Call in the geek squad for a full system restore.

2009 didn’t start much better. On a personal note, I began today by committing a major misfire in text-message communication.  In context, the message was innocent. Sent to the wrong person, less so.  Smooth, Saraswati. I’m blaming that snafu on the fog of sheer exhaustion I’ve been living in over the past few months.

On a global scale, we’re dealing with one of the least promising conflicts in human history. We are at a death toll of almost 400 – mainly Palestinian civilians.

Yesterday, January 1, marks the one-year anniversary of the deaths of Sarah and Amina Said. Honor killings take some 8,000+ lives per year. Read about the case of Afsaneh, a woman whose sentence – death by stoning – is being upheld despite opposition. We have seen an increase in honor killings in places like Pakistan.

Two women in Kuwait were attacked recently, allegedly for not wearing the hijab. “Morality police” in Iran, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere are stepping up their offensives against women.

The Taliban is threatening to blow up girls’ schools if they don’t shut down.

I could keep going – and the ladies at Muslimah Media Watch can provide you with links to even more stories like these.

As you can see, we have a lot of work to do in 2009 – and, despite the enormous magnitude of the problems presented in the stories above, we have reason to believe that women and men can continue to make change.

See these women, who are taking action to end the conflict in Gaza. Subservient? Submissive? Not a chance.

Salima Ebrahim, a Canadian of Kenyan descent, is confronting injustice and prejudice head on. Her mission of  “dignity for everyone” is one many big-time activists claim in order to get the big bucks – but few actually make human dignity a priority. It sounds like Salima’s voice is a sincere one. Congratulations to this up-and-coming sister!

A Saudi doctor was able to save two girls – one 5 years old, the other 11 – from forced marriage. Doctors like her deserve to be commended.

I hope you’ll join me in seeing the hope these last stories can provide. I’ll need your help to make a difference. Stay tuned to the links at right for organizations and people who are with us in the struggle for dignity, equity and justice for all.  Happy new year.

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Call on Iran’s leaders to release Kobra Najjar

August 9, 2008
August 9, 2008

I told you about Kobra Najjar in a previous entry. Thank you to one of my readers for sending along another way we can help her – and speak out against all stoning in Iran.

Consider signing this petition, written by Muslims and addressed to Iran’s leaders.

And, if you haven’t already – remember to check out the International Campaign Against Honour Killings – and sign up for their mailing list.

Iranian woman faces stoning – here’s what you can do

Kobra Najjar is an Iranian woman facing imminent execution by stoning. Why? She’s been charged with adultery – when what really happened is that her husband forced her into prostitution to support his heroin addiction. I mentioned her case in this post.

Iranian women’s rights groups report that Ms. Najjar has exhausted all legal remedies available to her domestically.

The only hope for her now is for Iranian leaders to be pressured into releasing her.

You can help. Here’s how. I join Equality Now and the International Campaign Against Honour Killings in asking you to do the following:

Please contact the Iranian officials below, calling for Kobra Najjar’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
Tehran
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: your message may bounce back to you. Please keep trying.

Please also contact the Iranian embassy in your country.

* United States: Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Washington, D.C.

Tel:   202-965-4990  
Fax: 202-965-1073

* United Kingdom: Embassy of Iran in London

Tel: +02072253000
Fax: +02075894440                                                                                     

* Canada: Embassy of Iran in Ottawa

Tel: 613-235-4726 Ext 225
Fax: 613-232-5712

A comprehensive list can be found by clicking the link above or by visiting this page.