Dec. 14, 2009
NIR BOMS and NOAM IVRI , THE JERUSALEM POST
‘I am writing from the other side of the ocean to inform you that after my graduation I won’t be returning” wrote Saudi student Layla (a pseudonym) to her family, in a letter published in the Saudi newspaper Okaz.
“I’ve been freed from my apprehensions and dismays and enjoy being separated from the [Middle] Eastern man; do I surprise you with the audacity to stop keeping tribal customs?”
Her voice, the voice of a free woman in an adopted country, joins a growing group of brave Saudi women activists who dare to dissent against one of the world’s most repressive regimes.
Layla describes her journey through literature that focused on a question seemingly trivial to readers on this side of the ocean: What value, if any, do I have in this world as a woman? Books banned in her native Saudi Arabia helped provide her with some answers. Al-Neehum, a Libyan exile and critic of Arab culture, was adopted to be Layla’s first teacher: “Equality between men and women is impossible in any society that doesn’t allow for equal earning opportunities,” he wrote. “Arab society adopts a predetermined system where the man’s earning power is independent of the woman, while a woman’s earning power is dependent on the man.”
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Friday, December 12, 2003
By: Nir Boms and Erick Stakelbeck
In his three-and-a-half years as Syrian President, 38-year-old Bashar al-Assad has been called many things by U.S. officials. Misunderstood is not one of them.
Yet, if Assad’s recent comments to the New York Times are any indication, the U.S. has it all wrong when it comes to the Syrian dictator. In a wide-ranging interview published in the November 30th edition of the Times, Assad ‘in what undoubtedly came as a great surprise to the hundreds of political dissidents languishing in Syrian prisons’ spoke of taking ‘better steps towards democracy.’ View full post…
Article published Mar 7, 2008
By Nir Boms
An important, yet underreported, summit took place recently in Riyadh. Turki K. Al Sudairy, a Saudi minister and president of the Saudi Supreme Human Rights Commission and Pakistan’s federal minister for human rights, Ansar Burney, conducted a series of high level meetings to discuss human rights in their respective countries.
According to a Pakistani News agency, the ministers, who also represent two member-states in the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, discussed human trafficking, slavery, women’s issues and other human rights topics at length.. After a series of meetings, pleasantries, and several fancy dinners, they even agreed to work together to improve a few human rights issues in the region. View full post…