Yes I am a whore

Throughout the ages, dissenting women have always been called whores. I know I have many times.

My response? “Yes, yes, I am a whore…”

Read below Taslima Nasrin’s poem called “You go Girl”, which she read out during her speech at Atheist Ireland’s Dublin conference “Empowering Women Through Secularism” (and which by the way made me sob uncontrollably…)

You Go Girl!
Taslima Nasrin

They said—take it easy…
Said—calm down…
Said—stop talkin’…
Said—shut up….
They said—sit down….
Said—bow your head…
Said—keep on cryin’, let the tears roll…

What should you do in response?

You should stand up now
Should stand right up
Hold your back straight
Hold your head high…
You should speak
Speak your mind
Speak it loudly
Scream!

You should scream so loud that they must run for cover.
They will say—’You are shameless!’
When you hear that, just laugh…

They will say— ‘You have a loose character!’
When you hear that, just laugh louder…

They will say—’You are rotten!’
So just laugh, laugh even louder…

Hearing you laugh, they will shout,
‘You are a whore!’

When they say that,
just put your hands on your hips,
stand firm and say,
“Yes, yes, I am a whore!”

They will be shocked.
They will stare in disbelief.
They will wait for you to say more, much more…

The men amongst them will turn red and sweat.
The women amongst them will dream to be a whore like you.

Hands off our freethinkers!

fazilsayCelebrated Turkish pianist and atheist Fazil Say has been given a 10-month suspended sentence for Twitter comments “insulting Islam”. He will face imprisonment if he “re-offends” and has shut down his Twitter account.

His Tweets included a verse from a poem by Omar Khayyám in which the 11th-century Persian poet attacks pious hypocrisy: “You say rivers of wine flow in heaven, is heaven a tavern to you? You say two huris [companions] await each believer there, is heaven a brothel to you?” In other Tweets, he made fun of a call to prayer that lasted only 22 seconds. Say tweeted: “Why such haste? Have you got a mistress waiting or a raki on the table?”

Emre Bukagili, a “citizen” (read Islamist) who filed the initial complaint against Say, said that the musician had used “a disrespectful, offensive and impertinent tone toward religious concepts such as heaven and the call to prayer.”

taslimaIn other news, Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasrin who has faced numerous threats to her life has also been dragged into an Indian court and prevented from leaving the country by an Islamist because her Tweet on Muslim women “hurt his religious sentiments”.

Her Tweet?

“Muslim women deserve to have sex with 72 virgin men on the earth as they won’t get these things in heaven.”

And of course everyone knows about the threats of death against atheist, secularist and freethinking Bangladeshi bloggers. Islamists have called for the execution of 84.

Rather than arresting the Islamists, the Bangladeshi government has arrested four bloggers, namely Subrata Adhikari Shuvo, Mashiur Rahman Biplob, Rasel Parvez, and Asif Mohiuddin, who was brutally attacked in January. The four are still in detention and their bail applications refused. In the meantime, two more have been arrested from another district, one for ‘liking’ a Facebook page, the other for liking his ‘like’!  There are reports that the government is now planning to arrest 7 or 11 more bloggers, An International Day to Defend Bangladesh’s bloggers has been called in order to stand with and support them.

Of course many Muslims also face attacks from Islamists and their supporters for questioning and challenging the status quo.

niqab

Canadian Muslim art student Sooraya Graham is one such case. She has had to leave her university and city of residence due to threats following an art work on women and the niqab.

As I have said many times, no society is homogeneous. Those who try to muzzle our freethinkers by claiming “offence” forget that we too are offended daily by their medievalism and barbarity. But freedom of expression does not include the right not to be offended.

Rather than being a question of offence, however, such charges and threats are further attempts at silencing criticism of Islam and/or Islamism by the powers that be.

Despite the threats, what is becoming very clear is that nothing will stop this wave of dissent.

Hands off and long live our freethinkers!

We are not free until all women are free

taslima

I’m back from Germany. The International Women’s Day event in Frankfurt was wonderful!

Here are some photos of the event.

You can find my speech here.

Videos of the speeches will follow.

Unfortunately Taslima Nasrin and Nawal El-Sadaawi couldn’t make it. Below are their messages to the conference:

Dear friends! My Iranian sisters. You are so brave ! I am so proud of you. Sometimes I wish I could gather Bengali women who left Islam and who are ready to fight for our rights and freedom. It is still a dream.

When I am with you, I do not really feel I am an outsider. I feel we know each other so well. Our languages are not the same. We were born in different countries. But our stories are the same; our pains are equally blue.

I am so extremely sorry for not being able to come to Frankfurt to join you on the 8th of March. Muslim fundamentalists have been running after me for 25 years. They have been issuing fatwas, setting prices on my head, attacking me physically, filling cases against me, banning my books, burning my books, shutting the doors of the cities and countries so that I can’t enter. A fundamentalist has filed a case against me a few months ago for writing the truth. An arrest warrant has been issued. Until the case gets quashed, I am not allowed to exit India. This is the reason that I could not come to join the great meeting of secular women.

My sisters, I am with you always, all the time. Your fight is my fight. It is our fight. We need to fight against political Islam, Sharia laws, oppression of women; we need to fight traditions, cultures, customs that are anti-women. We must fight for the dignity and rights of women. We must fight for human rights, humanism, secularism. We will continue our fight until death. I, for one, will never be silenced.

We know that Islam should not be exempt from the critical scrutiny that applies to other religions as well. Islam has to go through an enlightenment process similar to what other world religions have already gone through, by questioning the inhuman, unequal, unscientific and irrational aspects of religion. We want equality and justice for everyone. We want to be treated as equal human beings.

We are not free until all women are free.

Sisterhood is forever.

Here’s Nawal El Sadaawi’s messages to the conference:

 

Taslima and the Burqa

Taslima Nasrin has joined us on Freethoughtblogs!

Can things get any better?

If you haven’t visited her blog yet, please do.

Her post today is called ‘Let’s Burn the Burqa’. Oh, yes please.

And while we are at it can we ban it too?

Oh and before the post-modernist left and defenders of multi-culturalism and religion over women’s lives and rights start crying outrage and totalitarianism and the right to choose or what have you let me just say this: far from being liberating, the burqa is a strait-jacket for women; a mobile prison. And no more a real choice than the chastity belt or foot-binding (where women’s feet broken to keep them from wandering away from their male ‘guardians’)…

But I have a lot more to say on this of course. Here’s a debate I had with a burqa-clad woman on Newstalk Ireland.

Enjoy.