Thurs, March 12, 9-10 PM, Yanar Mohammed, reknowned Iraqi feminist will be guest on Joy of Resistance

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Reknowned Iraqi Women’s Rights activist Yanar Mohammed will be a guest on Joy of Resistance on Thursday, March 12 between 9 & 10 pm (EST). The show will also contain excerpts from one of the many forums surrounding the Beijing +20 Commission on the Status of Women, which is meeting at the UN this March.

About Yanar Mohammed: Yanar Mohammed was born in Baghdad. She is a co-founder and the director of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, and serves as the editor of the newspaper Al-Mousawat (Equality). She is one of the most prominent women’s rights campaigners in Iraq, and received the Gruber Foundation Women’s Rights Prize in 2008. Her organization has set up shelters–now five of them–for women in Iraq fleeing honor killings, gay men and women threatened with murder, and, recently, women who are survivors of ISIS.

While not being anti-religion, she is a strong believer in secular government and claims that women’s equality ‘can only be achieved through secular government because an Islamic government would hurt women’s rights.’ She cites the 2008 Human Rights Watch Report states that women have been ‘attacked on the street for what they consider “immoral” or “un-Islamic” behavior including not wearing a headscarf’, and that ‘the threat of these attacks keeps many Iraqi women at home.’

As a result of her work on women’s rights that essentially attacks what could be called ‘hard line’ interpretations of Islam, Yanar has had to receive personal security as a result of having received death threats. Jaish al Sahaba, part of the Iraqi Islamist group the Supreme Command for Jihad and Liberation, sent two death threats to Yanar Mohammed in 2004. These were quoted as being directly related to Yanar’s efforts to achieve gender equality in Iraqi law. As a result she has now been provided with armed protection. Yanar has been strongly critical of the US invasion of Iraq, suggesting that the ‘US occupation turned the streets of Iraq into a ‘no-women zone’.

She has also talked of a false choice existing between occupation and ‘political Islam’ (religion taking on State functions, i.e., theocracy) clearly preferring a third way between these two. The ‘choice’ in Iraq is between: ‘..the American occupation that is willing to do genocide, or..political Islam, that will make us live in a completely inhuman and unliberated way of life’. Speaking in an interview in 2007, she outlined her views in the US invasion and the effect it is having on Iraq:

‘..the suggestion is that the US troops should leave immediately, because we, the people of Iraq, do not agree that all the jihadists from around the world are coming to Iraq to fight this so-called US evil, and our cities are turning into an arena of fight, and all our lives are being devastated. The US troops need to leave immediately, with no conditions. And we do not accept the debate that there will be a bloodbath afterwards, because nothing is worse than the sectarian war that we are living right now, that is also a consequence of this war’.

Yanar believes that the US occupation of Iraq is fuelling the insurgency and violence prevalent in post-2003 Iraq, which is having a detrimental effect on women’s rights.

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Joy of Resistance recording of Feminist Flash Mob at Duane Reade on Tuesday, March 26 to demand the Morning After Pill without restrictions!

Click on triangle above to play sound

On Tuesday, March 26, the New York Chapter of National Women’s Liberation, along with feminist allies led a flash-mob inside of a busy pharmacy in NYC (Duane Reade at 14th Street and 7th Avenue) where more than 20 women defied regulations and placed the Morning-After Pill on the shelf, right next to the condoms in the ‘Family Planning’ section of the store..

Watch the video

For over 10 years, members of National Women’s Liberation have been fighting to make the Morning-After Pill available over-the-counter in the United States. This birth control is most effective when taken within 24 hours after sex. Having it at our fingertips would be a huge leap forward for women and girls.

Scientists at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agree that the Morning-After Pill is safe to be over-the-counter for women of all ages. But for years the Bush White house blocked access.

In 2006, because of a suit filed by NWL against the FDA, the prescription requirement was lifted. However, a medically unnecessary age restriction was put into place, making the pill physically inaccessible to everyone because it is kept “behind-the-counter” at pharmacies and an ID must be shown to buy it.

Currently, Health & Human Services (HHS), with the full support of the Obama Administration, is blocking over-the-counter access.

National Women’s Liberation members are part of a lawsuit against the FDA and HHS, Tummino v. Hamburg, which could remove all restrictions to the Morning-After Pill. The Judge in the case has indicated that he will make a decision by the end of the month. We are in the home stretch of a long battle – join us and send a message that women won’t accept any more compromises!

A video of the action on Tuesday is getting lots of views and organizers would like to make it “viral” to the point that word of it gets to the Obama Administration. This can be especially important as a verdict in the suit may be handed down any day. You can participate in this part of the action by passing on the link to the video.

Joy of Resistance is proud to have been one of the handful of media given advance notice of this “surprise” event. We are posting here the  sounds of the demo recorded inside of the Duane Reade store while the action was taking place, in the street afterwards and three interviews that explain the history and thinking behind this action–conducted by Fran Luck of Joy of Resistance and played on our show the next night–Wednesday, March 27 between 9 and 10 pm (@WBAI, 99.5 FM, airing 1st & 3rd Wednesdays).

Interview with feminist pioneer Kathie Sarachild and National Women’s Liberation members Alex Leader and Nicole Hardin on “Busting the Myth of America.” Program aired on July 4, 2012.

Here is the complete interview I conducted with femnist pioneer Kathie Sarachild and National Womens Liberation members Alex Leader and Nicole Hardin on “Busting the Myth of America,” which JOR aired on July 4, 2012.