Here’s Amina’s first interview with FEMEN’s Inna Shevchenko after her release from prison. She still awaits a trial for outstanding charges and isn’t completely safe or free so we need to remain vigilant: [Read more…]
Here’s Amina’s first interview with FEMEN’s Inna Shevchenko after her release from prison. She still awaits a trial for outstanding charges and isn’t completely safe or free so we need to remain vigilant: [Read more…]
Amina has been freed though she still faces charges. Her lawyer said:
“Amina is still on trial for desecrating the cemetery but the public indecency and forming an alliance to assault properties and individuals charges have been dropped.”
Congratulations to FEMEN and all those who fought to free her. We must continue the fight until all charges are dropped.
The Free Amina campaign sent this email about it (google translated from French):
“Amina is free. Thanks to you all. Those who donated to allow her to resume her studies, her lawyers, her supporters, including Tunisians and French, and of course FEMEN. Thanks to you all.
Her courage is a lesson. The severity of her detention has unveiled the injustice that prevails in Tunisia. We will continue to expose and fight whilst freedom of conscience is not being respected, whilst Jabeur Mejri is in prison (sentenced to seven years for blasphemy), whilst his friends Ghazi Beji or Nadia El Fani cannot return to Tunisia for fear of risking the same punishment, whilst democracy has not become a reality of the promised revolution. Amina is free; her name has become a promise. So will Tunisia!”
On another worrying note, three FEMEN activists and a journalist have been kidnapped by Ukrainian and Russian secret services and another FEMEN activist beaten and hospitalised. Here is more information on it. La lucha continua…
The three young German and French FEMEN activists who protested topless at a Tunisian court in defence of Amina have been sentenced to four months in prison! According to an interview with one of their lawyers:
We knew that the maximum sentence was six months. The court in Tunis has not gone so far but has chosen a very heavy penalty, widely disproportionate to the facts. How to explain it? They probably wanted to condemn freedom of expression. Last week, the hearing was postponed under pressure of fifteen highly virulent conservative and Islamic associations. It is this pressure that may explain the severity of this judgement, which is a form of witchcraft trials, the offence of blasphemy.
Another lawyer said:
Heavy sentences for three European FEMEN activists is a bad sign for Amina. She did nothing, yet she faces up to twelve years in prison.”
Could this be?
It cannot and must not.
We must stand with Pauline, Margarite, Josephine and Amina until they are free.
If there is any justice, the four would be free and the Islamists who threaten and kill with impunity would be in prison.
FEMEN is collecting donations for the legal appeal; to help the parents of the three meet their daughters in jail; a permanent FEMEN observer in Tunis; for clothes and food for the four; a public campaign against Tunisian authorities…
Support the campaign and please donate here.
Amina represents me and us.
Tunisian FEMEN activist Amina was brought back to court today in handcuffs and covered in a blanket.
The “secret hearing” under police supervision meant that the decision of the court is unknown, according to FEMEN.
Amina faces up to two years in prison for writing “FEMEN” on a mosque wall and carrying pepper spray for her own protection.
Whilst Islamists are free to roam the streets to kill and intimidate at will, our dissenters are locked up behind bars and threatened with imprisonment.
We must not leave Amina alone. She speaks for all of us.
Also, the three FEMEN activists – Marguerite, Josephine and Pauline – who staged a topless protest at the court in Tunisia at Amina’s first hearing and who are now in jail and face prison terms must be freed immediately. In the courtroom, the activists bags had been put over their heads and they were covered in blankets; the judge banned photos and videos. According to human rights activist Patrick Klugman, who came from Paris to represent the interests of the FEMEN said: “I am horrified. Without giving FEMEN activists permission to speak, the court listened only to Salafi organizations which are not even the defendants in this case! Fair trial did not take place because the accused have not been released from custody, and they were not even heard.” Pre-trial is set for June 12.
Any day the four spend in prison is a day too long. They have done nothing wrong.
On the eve of the hearing, FEMEN activists held a “prayer” on the road near the Tunisian embassy in Paris chanting “Amina Akbar!”
Amina is great indeed…
On 30 May, FEMEN activist Amina Tyler went on trial on charges of ”desecration of a grave” and “carrying harmful weapons”. She had scrawled the slogan FEMEN on a mosque wall and had pepper spray for her own protection with her. The judge decided to keep her jailed and added the charge of “attack on public morals”. The charges can carry from six months to five year imprisonment.
Nearly 200 Islamists protested against her saying she had sullied the image of the city and insulted Islam.
In condemnation of her trial, three FEMEN activists protested topless at the Tunisian courthouse and were arrested for attacking public decency and immoral behaviour. The two French and one German citizens are now in jail and could face up to one year in jail.
Clearly, the only attack on human decency is their arrests whilst Islamists roam free to murder and intimidate at will.
The four must be freed now.
Join FEMEN in calling for their immediate release. You can also donate to help support the four women. More information here.
Here’s an update from the campaign to defend Amina. FEMEN Tunisia activist Amina has been arrested and faces imprisonment. We must act to support her now. More details to follow. Here’s the letter:
Hello to all of you. Thanks to you, we were able to collect 4730-euro. We collected 5525 USD (less 442 USD of indiegogo expenses and exchange rate) is 3930 €. On this was added 800 € which were sent by several donors to Prochoix. That is 4700 €. Thanks to all.
We will inform you how this money is spent. Because as you know we wanted, at her request, to assure her a plane ticket, to live and to assure her security until September. Several NGO have found how she can continue her studies in France.
But today, Amina risks several months of prison. We are going to do everything to increase the mobilization so that she is released as quickly as possible and can study.
Amina was arrested on Sunday, further to an action against the salafi mob. She was questioned then charged with ridiculous motives including ” desecration of a grave” and “carrying harmful weapons” (mace). The salafis were released for the greater part in spite of the bearing of sabres and knives and the fact of having uttered the threats, she is still in detention.
Amina will be in court on May 30th in Kairouan. It is very important to act in solidarity and show our indignation against this injustice. In Tunisia, as abroad.
A support committee is being formed. Amina’s lawyer, Maitre Souhayb Bahri, has all our gratitude and our confidence.
We shall inform you of all our initiatives.
By the way, here is an act of solidarity with Amina Tyler, Imad Iddine Habib, Bangladesh’s bloggers and Alex Aan at the May 17-19, 2013 Women In Secularism conference in Washington DC:
Here is the latest photo from Amina Tyler of FEMEN Tunisia. No More Moral Lessons, indeed!
You can donate to support Amina here; I just did.
Amina continues her protests in Tunisia.
On 1 May, Amina and other activists protested against the representatives of the Congress Party for the Republic Moncef Marzouki, including against the Minister of Women’s Rights Sihem Badi. There were calls for Badi to resign with protesters chanting “Badi get out!” and “Government of terrorism, minister of rape.” You can see a video of Amina protesting here:
Long Live Amina!
Amina is asking for support! She is preparing to escape from Tunisia for her own safety. Please join the campaign to support Amina by donating here.
As has been previously reported, Amina was kidnapped by her family after posting a topless photo of herself for Femen Tunisia. On April 12, Amina managed to escape. She was able to get her papers. But they are outdated, and are being renewed. She is now safe. Thanks to all those who mobilised on her behalf. [More information can be found here.]
We now need her to look ahead with regards her safety. Applications for a scholarship for her have been made, and will be in place in September. In the meantime, we need 4,000 Euros ($5,200) to pay for travel and accommodation, food and security until September. If we raise more, we can meet Amina’s security needs beyond September.
The practicality of the call for donations will be managed by the organisation, Prochoix.
Upon receipt of the donations by Prochoix via the crowdfunding platform, Filmmaker Nadia El Fani who is in daily contact with Amina will be responsible for ensuring Amina’s needs are met.
Collectif Free Amina
Fiammetta Venner (Prochoix)
Nadia El Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker
Amina’s first talk with FEMEN’s Inna Shevchenko after her escape from detention. Amina was kidnapped, denied contact with friends and FEMEN, beaten, taken to a psychiatrist, drugged, forced to read the Koran and taken to imams though she is an atheist, taught “morals”, given a virginity test… all because she posted a topless photo of herself with the slogan “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour” and “fuck your morals”.
Amina says she will not leave Tunisia until she does another topless action; she will continue the struggle…
And we will stand with her.
Here is the wonderful Amina:
Long Live Amina!
Congratulations to all those who defended Amina on the International Day to Defend Amina and shame on those who chose to side with Islam and Islamism.
News Flash: 15 April 2013: There are reports that Amina has escaped from her detention but is still not fully safe or free. We await the day she is free and safe – hopefully soon. More information here.
13 April 2013: Today, FEMEN activists stormed a conference at which Tunisian president Marzouki was speaking at in Paris shouting “Free Amina”. They also chanted: “Who killed Chokri Belaid?” We continue to demand the freedom and safety of 19 year old Tunisian FEMEN activist Amina who is being detained by her family after receiving death threats for posting a topless photo of herself. Below is my response to criticism of topless activism in support of Amina:
The International day to defend 19 year old Tunisian FEMEN activist Amina was not “racism”, “colonialism”, or “cultural imperialism” as some have said.
It was just good old fashioned human solidarity – across borders and boundaries (many of them constructed).
Those who say otherwise have bought into the culturally-relativist notion that societies in the Middle East and North Africa (and even the “Muslim community” in the west) are “Islamic” and “conservative”.
Whilst those in power determine the dominant culture, there is no one homogeneous culture anywhere.
Those who consider nude protest as “foreign” and “culturally inappropriate” are only considering Islamism’s sensibilities and values, not that of the many who resist.
Clearly, in the same way that there are opponents of nude protest and supporters of the veil in the “west”, there are also supporters of nude protest and opponents of the veil in the “east”.
This shouldn’t be surprising. A large young population in many countries of the Middle East and North Africa brings with it challenges to the status quo as does the recent women-led revolutions and the backlash against Islamism. When one is faced with an Islamic movement that considers you to be worth half of a man and demands that you be bound, gagged, veiled, and segregated, then nudity becomes an important form of resistance and dissent as well as solidarity. Islamists want us covered up, hidden, and not seen and not heard; we refuse to comply.
Those who claim outrage at our nudity on behalf of all “Muslim women” are merely attempting to conflate Islamist with “Muslim” (who comprise of innumerable people with countless characteristics). They do it so that Islamism can feign representation, restrict dissent, and prescribe the limits of “acceptable” expression.
But no one speaks for everyone.
Amina speaks for me and us, and for a new women’s liberation movement that is confronting misogyny head on. It’s a movement where nudity is seen to be an important challenge to the veil and Islamism. And “Islamic feminists” speak for their movement; for the abomination that is Sharia law, gender apartheid, and the veil. They are deafeningly silent on the death fatwa against Amina and countless others. And they are more concerned with defending Islamism and Islam, than defending women’s rights and equality. One such critic of the nude protests, Shohana Khan, who is described as a “London based freelance writer” in the Huffington Post, is in fact the deputy media representative of Hizb ut Tahrir, a far-Right Islamist organisation. Another “journalist”, Yvonne Ridley, has worked for Press TV, the propaganda arm of the Islamic regime of Iran and is a patron of an Islamist-front organisation called Cage Prisoners.
The nude protest in support of Amina has nothing to do with “cultural imperialists” patronisingly “rescuing Muslim women” anymore than the fight for women’s suffrage was a rescue attempt and a form of cultural imperialism (after all the idea was “foreign” to begin with).
Only those who see their rights and lives as separate and different from those deemed “other” and who have bought into (or are selling) Islamism’s narrative can see solidarity and the demand for equality in this warped way. [Read more…]
April 4 was our day to defend our Amina. The 19 year old Tunisian FEMEN activist whose only “crime” was to post a topless photo of herself saying: “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour” and “fuck your morals”.
Whilst she has done nothing wrong, she has been effectively detained incommunicado by her family with the help of the police, and the latest reports say she has been drugged and beaten.
Amina says though that she has no regrets.
Our beloved Amina, this day is for you…
Some of the actions taken and statements made in support of Amina have been posted below.
A group of women have set up a Facebook page called Muslim women against FEMEN…. Muslimah Pride Day.
They just don’t get it (or obviously choose not to).
On a day that has been set aside to defend a 19 year old woman who has been threatened by an Islamist with death by stoning, detained, drugged and restricted from communicating with her friends and FEMEN all for merely for expressing herself, they choose to mark the day by calling on women to oppose FEMEN and to veil.
As I have said before, nudity is the antithesis of veiling. Also it is clear that you cannot defend women’s rights and defend Islam and Islamism at the same time. You have to choose. FEMEN and we have chosen to side with women’s rights and equality; they have chose to side with the veil, Islam and Islamism no matter what it does to those who do not submit.
Long Live Amina!
On 4th April, actions will be held in Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Brussels, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Kiev, London, Malmo, Milan, Montreal, Paris, Rio De Janeiro, San Francisco, Stockholm, Vancouver, Warsaw and more to mark 4 April, the International Day to Defend Amina. (See actions listed below.)
These actions along with countless other activities including posting topless photos, writing letters of protest to the Tunisian government, and Tweeting #Amina will aim to stand with 19 year old Tunisian and FEMEN activist, Amina, who has been threatened to death for posting a topless photo of herself in support of women’s rights. Amina has since disappeared and is being held by her family against her will.
Many have already taken a stand in her defence. Over 106,000 people have signed a petition and a large number have posted topless photos in her defence.
In the last interview she gave before she was kidnapped, she said women in Tunisia are ready for change: “That women have reached the height of self-determination: we no longer obey any authority, neither family nor religious. We know what we want and we make our own decisions.”
This is the wonderful woman we stand up for and with on 4th April to call for her freedom and safety and demand the prosecution of those who threaten and detain her.
Islamist cleric Adel Almi called for Amina’s flogging and stoning to death because he said Amina’s revolutionary actions would bring misfortune by causing “epidemics and disasters” and “could be contagious and give ideas to other women…”
On 4 April 2013 – International Day to Defend Amina – we will remind him, the Islamists and the world that the real epidemic and disaster that must be challenged is misogyny – Islamic or otherwise.
On 4 April we will breast them! [Read more…]
Why an International Day to Defend Amina?
When I heard that 19 year old Tunisian Amina had been threatened with death for posting a topless photo of herself bearing the slogan “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour”, I knew we had to act.
Within 24 hours, a number of well known individuals and groups joined in a call to mark 4 April as an International Day to Defend Amina – both to unequivocally defend her and demand her safety and freedom whilst also demanding the prosecution of the Islamist who threatened her. Whilst Amina had done nothing wrong, the police aided her family in detaining her against her will and stopping all forms of communication with her friends and FEMEN rather than prosecuting those who detained and threatened her. She is still being held against her will and did not turn up at school this Monday as she was meant to. In a rare interview with a journalist, she said she was stressed but had no regrets.
In the last interview she gave before she was effectively kidnapped, she said women in Tunisia are ready for change:
“That women have reached the height of self-determination: we no longer obey any authority, neither family nor religious. We know what we want and we make our own decisions.”
This is the wonderful woman we stand up for and with on 4 April.
Signatories to the call include: Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, Egyptian Nude Photo Revolutionary; Caroline Fourest, Writer and Journalist; most recent film: “Our Breasts; Our Arms”; Darina Al-Joundi, Lebanese Actress and Author of “The Day Nina Simone Stopped Singing”; Deeyah, Music Composer and Filmmaker; most recent film “Banaz: A Love Story” about an honour killing; Elia Tabesh, Iranian Women in Support of Nude Photo Revolutionary Calendar; Inna Shevchenko, FEMEN Spokesperson; Kareem Amer, Egyptian Blogger; Kian Azar, Communist Youth Organisation; Marieme Helie Lucas, Algerian Sociologist and founder of Secularism is a Women’s Issue; Mina Ahadi, Spokesperson of International Committee against Stoning and International Committee against Execution; Nadia El-Fani, Tunisian Filmmaker; most recent films “Neither Allah nor Master” and “Our Breasts; Our Arms”; Richard Dawkins, Scientist; Safia Lebdi, Co-founder of Neither Whores nor Submissives; and Taslima Nasrin, Bangladeshi Writer.
Are nudity and Islam completely incompatible? Do you see a time in which women in North Africa and the Middle East will be more free to show their bodies? How do you see what she did in a country like Tunisia?
All religions have a disturbing view of the female body. Islam is no different. The perfect woman under Islam is invisible. Islam is only worse in many ways because of its access to political power via the far-Right Islamic movement. Sharia law and Islamic states legislate and impose misogyny and perpetrate the debased view of women.
Women in North Africa and the Middle East will be freer the more Islam is relegated to a private affair and Islamism is pushed back from the public space. Actions like Amina’s help to challenge Islamism at its very core.
Islamism’s obsession with women’s bodies and its insistence that women be veiled, bound, and gagged means that nudity breaks taboos and is an important form of resistance.
Nudity is the antithesis of veiling. Of course it is not the only way to resist Islamism and the veil but it is a very modern way of doing so. Islamists want us covered up, hidden, and not seen and not heard; we refuse to comply.
But nudity is not just a protest against Islamism and religious misogyny. It is fundamentally a protest against discrimination, the commodification of women, and the religious and chauvinistic culture built upon it – which is why it is on the increase and has been a part of the women’s liberation movement for some time.
Commodification relies on an objectified image that is separate from the reality of women’s bodies, minds and lives. This image is used to regulate, control and suppress. And this is what religion and pornography share, albeit in different forms. The actuality and frankness of women’s bodies as a form of protest challenges and upsets both.
Nudity is deeply humanising and revolutionary because it challenges the religious/pornographic view of women’s bodies and reclaims a tool used for women’s suppression. Nudity outrages and offends because of this very challenge. [Read more…]
Though she was meant to be back at school on Monday, she was not there and continues to be held by her family against her will and prevented from contacting friends and FEMEN.
That women have reached the height of self-determination: we no longer obey any authority, neither family nor religious. We know what we want and we make our own decisions.
This is the wonderful woman we stand up for and with on 4 April, the International Day to Defend Amina.
She represents me and us.
(News on Amina via Caroline Fourest).
(Photo by Cristina Mastrandrea. You can see more of her photos of Amina here.)
Even with the not very fluent google translation into English, what is clear from her article is that Amina’s detention within her family – with the assistance of the police – does not equate safety.
Caroline calls on the activists attending the World Social Forum in Tunisia right now to shout with us “Free Amina, Free Tunisia!” Because it is the same cry.
Indeed it is…
A reader wrote to the school and received the following response from the principal:
Please check your sources related to the news article stating I decided to remove Persepolis from my school. That is completely untrue and slanderous.
I only reported to my staff that I was informed the district was contemplating removing the book from CPS high schools. The day after I informed my staff, the district clarified their position and stated that no books were going to be removed from any high schools and it was a misunderstanding. That afternoon (after school) students held a rally in support of the book. I never ordered the removal of the book and not one book was ever removed from my school.
The article you read is stating I did something I would never do. I also understand your passion behind the topic but please check several news sources or simply google the topic if you are not sure about me. Something got twisted in the story you read because that is not what happened.
Christopher A. Dignam, Ed. D., Principal, Lane Tech College Prep High School, 2501 West Addison, Chicago, Illinois
Thanks to Piotr for clarifying this and good to know that Persepolis was not banned.
It has been reported that a Chicago public school has banned Marjane Satrapi’s brilliant autobiographical book Persepolis (about her life as a girl growing up under the Islamic regime of Iran) after deeming it Islamophobic; this ban follows in the “proud” footsteps of Iran, UAE and Lebanon.
The charge of Islamophobia has always been a very useful political tool in the hands of those in power to scaremonger people into silence and ban criticism of Islam and political Islam. As I have mentioned before, it aids and abets Islamists in silencing dissent as a sort of “secular” fatwa.
This culturally relativist perspective will do anything to silence dissent – even to the extent of banning books. It is like the perspective that is opposed to the likes of Amina and Aliaa out of “respect” for people’s culture.
But there is no one homogeneous culture. Defending a ban of Persepolis is defending Islamism’s culture at the expense of the many dissenters. Just as opposing Amina’s topless act of defiance in the face of Islamist threats is a defence of Islamism’s culture and all that it brings with it.
The ban in Chicago makes it very clear that Amina’s protest and demand to be free from religious misogyny is as relevant in Chicago as it is to societies in the Middle East and North Africa…
Onwards to 4 April, International Day to Defend Amina.
There have been reports in the media that “Amina’s lawyer” has said she is safe at home.
If she is so safe, why is she no longer able to speak to anyone or be in contact with others? And is this Amina’s lawyer or her family’s? Clearly, it’s the family’s!
According to FEMEN’s (edited) statement:
The latest news about Amina has been shared by a woman calling herself Amina’s lawyer. The woman says that she has met Amina and that Amina is with her family.
This information is one of those rumours shared by strangers who have never been in contact with us before.
Amina’s telephone is still off. Someone else replies to Amina’s Skype; when we asked to speak via video, all contact was stopped.
From our point of view, the lawyer is representing the interests of the family and not Amina’s. By saying she is safe, they aim to stop the vast public mobilisation in her defence. Even if Amina was detained by her family, there would be no reason to speak of safety.
We have still not heard Amina’s voice nor seen her face. Until we do, we will continue to search for her and call for her defence!
Jenya Kraizman from Femen Ukraine
Onwards towards 4 April: International Day to Defend Amina!
Demonstrations and actions are now being held in Brussels, Rio, Montreal, Vancouver, Paris, Berlin, Bremen, Bonn, Frankfurt, Malmo, Gotenburg, Stockholm, Milan, Kiev, London, San Francisco, Warsaw and more. See below for more details.
The 19 year old Tunisian Amina who posted a topless photo of herself with the slogan “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour” has disappeared. Most likely her family have kidnapped her and taken her to an unknown location, (earlier reports mentioned a psychiatric hospital). What’s clear is that they have removed all forms of communication from her so that she can no longer be reached.
Filmmaker Caroline Fourest says:
One of the people who kidnapped Amina has been boasting that they did it for “her own good”. It is unclear though whether she has been hospitalised or held somewhere else. Her phone has been taken from her and communication with her has stopped so we are no longer in contact with her.
Recently, someone posing as “Amina’s lawyer” has said she is safe and at home. The lawyer seems to be representing the family’s interests rather than Amina’s in order to stop the public mobilisation in her defence. There has been no contact whatsoever with Amina so we need to keep fighting for her! Read FEMEN’s statement here.
Clearly, there is nothing wrong with Amina; it is society, the lack of women’s rights, the second class citizenship of women, the debased view of women’s bodies, the vile concept of honour and religious morality, misogyny and Islamism and its Sharia law that are wrong.
In fact Amina’s is the voice of sanity, reason, protest and resistance. [Read more…]