An email from our mutual friend Gita Sahgal informs me that Cassandra Balchin passed away peacefully this morning in London, barely a few months being diagnosed with cancer, too late to attempt a cure. I am so grateful for our friendship and our time together. Saw her in London just before the diagnosis, but I had no idea she was so ill until just a week ago. She leaves behind her mother, her sons Dani and Raul, brother Charles and a host of friends around the world, especially in Pakistan where she lived and worked for 17 years, based in Lahore as a journalist and activist, focusing on gender, religion and human rights issues. The funeral will be held around July 22nd or 23rd. Those wanting to send messages may email Cass.Friends@gmail.com. Continue reading
A collection of articles published around March 8, including mine for IPS and The News, plus articles by Kalpana Sharma, Cassandra Balchin, Zofeen Ebrahim, Ayesha Khan (study on Lady Health Workers in Pakistan), link to a documentary on a Swat schoolgirl and more. Another post pending on issues around the attack on Rahman Baba’s shrine near Peshawar, will compile and post soon.
‘A new political context for Juliet’ – my article for The News on Sunday, about women speaking out all over the country, attempting to exercise their rights to personal autonomy – in a post-colonial age that harks back to medieval times when women were considered family property
Women Defy Militancy, Patriarchy – story for IPS outlining the twin threats of militancy and patriarchy that women face in Pakistan
In both articles, I refer to a documentary ‘Class Dismissed in Swat Valley’ (NYT) that focuses on Malala, an 11-year-old Pakistani girl on the last day before the Taliban close down her school. A must see – very moving and informative – profiling the great courage of ordinary people under adversity
I learnt of this film through an article that Shabbir Imam in Peshawar forwarded from the Anchorage Daily News by Shehla Anjum, a Pakistan-born writer based in Alaska, ‘Taliban wages war against girls’ education in Pakistan’. The writer followed up the story in the documentary by contacting Malala and her father.
The IPS website – http://www.ipsnews.net – contains a link to the other articles around Women’s Day -
This link includes other articles worth looking up, from Palestine and Afghanistan, and ZOFEEN EBRAHIM’S article about child marriage in Pakistan
KALPANA SHARMA in her column `The Other Half’ in The Hindu, Sunday Magazine, March 8, 2008, writes about the attacks women in India are facing – a chilling account of what looks like an Indian version of the Vice & Virtue dept of the Taliban that we are facing here in Pakistan…
CASSANDRA BALCHIN – a three-part series on the challenges faced by Muslim women around the globe and the debates within the Muslim world to deal with these challenges, the demand for equality within the family, and more, in Open Democracy – http://www.opendemocracy.net – I’ve shortened the three URLs for easy reference here:
Home truths in the Muslim family – The global pressure to reform Muslim family law is mounting
Musawah: there cannot be justice without equality – Muslim scholars and activists from 48 countries launch a global initiative for justice with equality between men and women
Musawah: solidarity in diversity – a global initiative to reform Muslim Family Law finds solidarity in diversity and a growing convergence around human rights values.
AYESHA KHAN’s recent study on LHWs and Women’s Empowerment in Pakistan can be accessed through the Collective for Social Science Research website
The study is at this link: http://tinyurl.com/cssr-lhv
Filed under: Gender, Politics | Tagged: Afghanistan, Ayesha Khan, Cassandra Balchin, child marriage, democracy, Education, Gender, India, IPS, Kalpana Sharma, lady health workers (LHV), Malala, Musawah, Opendemocracy, Shehla Anjum, Swat, violence, women, Women and Muslim laws, Zofeen Ebrahim | Leave a comment »