Friday, November 23, 2007

Men Doing Feminsit Work: Ahmad Ghashmary

Hopefully you're all already reading Diary of a Black Male Feminist, but just in case you're not, you may not have seen the video of Ahmad Ghashmary, posted over at DoaBMF last week. Ghashmary is an interesting guy, doing feminist work in Jordan, where his views seem to be often met with either apathy or aggression.
First, check out the video:


A good deal of his blog is in English, and well worth reading. In a post about so-called honor killings, he says:
But the question remains, why are people doing so and thinking in such a backward way? Regardless of these accidents there are many indications that people in Arab societies are beginning to be more aware of the danger and barbarity of these rituals that say that whoever tends to defame the reputation of the family deserves to die. In a referendum done on the internet by www.alarabiya.net the results were hopeful. 62.96 % of the voters think that this crime is not justified, and it is not supported by any religion or law, but is another example of the domination of rituals and customs in our daily life. A minority of 12.36% think that it is the only resort to eradicate bad people from our society. 24.68% were neutral. What we are aiming at is to leave no single person in our society who might believe that killing innocent people might be a remedy to any problem.

And, when confronted by a friend about his feminism, Ghashmary has a succinct, practical approach to explaining his motivations:
I spent almost two years looking around me for men who might share me the same views, but it was all in vain; everyone believed I'm wasting my time. A friend of mine has recently blamed me for dedicating my efforts to fight for women's equality, and he called that "Lunacy"; I answered him saying, "The best person in my life is my sweetheart and she's a woman, my favorite Arab singer is Fayyrouz and she is a woman, my favorite non-Arab singer is Celine Dion and she is a woman, my favorite professor is called Fadia and she is a woman, my favorite athelet is Maria Sharapova and she is a woman, my favorite movie star is Julia Roberts and she is a woman, my favorite talk show presenter is Oprah Winfrey and she is a woman, my favorite novelist is Jane Austen and she is a woman, and so on. And still you wonder why I am fighting for their rights.
I like this guy so much that I'm willing to forgive him for the Celine Dion thing.
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