Writing this post on the International Women’s Day, I thought of speaking about stateless women. I feel obligated to make the disclaimer that those ‘international days’ are indeed problematic to practice as they further ‘other’ all those ‘celebrated’ groups. In other words: Why would we discuss women issues and celebrate their struggle, if we do so every day?
Those days highlight the irony of our realities in relation to gender issues. However, I will use this ‘ritual day’ to speak of stateless women. By stateless women, I do not only mean women I grew up around as a stateless person from Kuwait, but also other stateless women around the world. This includes Kurdish and Palestinian women in the region, and also women in refugee camps around the world.
Around the Arab world, the middle class women leading women rights movements are still obsessed with integrating themselves into the body of citizenhood. Considering how most of women rights movements started with fighting for voting rights, women issues have been centered on the system and regulations.
|This is an anti-sexual harassment artwork made by Egyptian graffiti artist Ganzeer. The artwork represents a typical male narrative of sexual violence. The sentence reads: “Are you a man or an assaulting animal?”|
Two years after the start of the Arab Spring, the political battle in Kuwait is growing increasingly more tense over Twitter. At the current rate, Kuwait will soon be able to compete with neighboring Bahrain in the number of prosecutions brought against Twitter users. Within weeks of the February 2011 uprising, Bahrain had arrested large numbers of people using Twitter and Facebook to spread their messages. Meanwhile, Kuwaiti authorities also apparently decided to intimidate their critics and others through the arrest and trolling of influential Twitter users. In addition, tens of protesters have been arrested during the opposition’s dignity marches and in demonstrations by the country’s stateless community. The government, it seems, is no longer interested in defending Kuwait's reputation as the ‘most democratic’ state in the Gulf.