Friday, November 30, 2012

South Asian women demand deepening democracy and human rights in the region


Celebrating South Asian Women's Day in Sri Lanka

South Asian Women’s Day celebrates the voices of South Asian women, their rights and belief in peace, justice, human rights and democracy. Following the declaration of this day by SANGAT ~ A South Asian Feminist Network ~ in 2002, every year, several organisations have come together as part of the 16 Days of Activism against Violence (25th of November to 10th of December) to express South Asian women’s solidarity for peace, justice, human rights and democracy. This year's South Asian Women's day marks the 11th anniversary.
We South Asians believe that the people of South Asia can bring peace and prosperity for all through friendship and cooperation. This can be done if we create and strengthen a South Asian identity across borders. Discussions, poetry, song and dance and so on mark the evening. This year South Asian Women’s Day is celebrated in several places in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka by people who are committed to South Asian-ness, peace, democracy, justice, human rights, secularism and pluralism.

We in South Asia have a lot in common from our religions, languages, arts and trade. Many of us in South Asia have our roots and connections to other countries in the region in one way or another. Also as women we face similar concerns for our safety, security, freedom and access to resources in the private and public sphere. As feminists our sister spirit goes beyond borders to support each other and create deeper bonds of friendship. As women with shared stories of oppressions it is easier for us to connect with each other. As South Asian feminists we welcome our Governments commitments at the recently held SAARC meeting for easing the visa regimes to increase mobility between the countries and encourage people to people contact. We do hope this will translate into reality to create a South Asian community. We believe that as a South Asian community we can bring peace and prosperity for all through friendship and cooperation.
To strengthen the bonds of friendship and peace with people from South Asia, Sangat celebrates the day South Asian Women's Day on 30th November each year from 2002 with its usual spirit of solidarity with friends and partners in many towns and cities of South Asia. Initiated by Sangat and its network of women and men in the year 2002 as part of the International Fortnight against Violence against Women (25th November ~ 10th December), the South Asian Women’s Day is being marked by an increasing number of students, activists and civil society members all over the region.

Resource Notebook 2013 launched by Forum Against Gender Based Violence

Every year, men and women of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Tibet gather to speak in one firm voice about the need to reinforce democracy, peace, human rights and dialogue in the region. We gather in different cities across the region to light candles at the same time (between 5.30. p.m. and 6.30 pm.) to express solidarity with the people of the region, and demand democracy and peace.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's Time to RISE UP and SPEAK UP Together

Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

"Real MEN Help HEAL The Wounds, They Never CAUSE Them!"

It’s Time to RISE UP and SPEAK UP Together”  ~ 25th November 2012 marked the Commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is also the beginning of 16 days Activism Against Gender Based Violence. Women In Need organised “Walk A Mile In Her SHOES”.  The walk was themed “Real Men’s Walk to end Violence against Women”. Women and men took part in a mile long walk, which ended at Galle Face Green. 

Nearly 30 Non Profit Organisations gathered at the Galle Face Green to commemorate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, 16 days Activism Against Gender Based Violence and the launch of One Billion Rising in Sri Lanka. Forum Against Gender Based Violence and One Billion Rising organised the event at Galle Face Green, where songs, dance and dramas were performed.

"Her SHOE" on display at Galle Face
"Are you man enough to stop the violence against women?"
Men walking in her SHOES in an attempt to understand what it is to be a woman especially a victim of violence
"I acknowledge SHE is NOT an object; SHE is HUMAN as much as I am!"
Crossing the Galle Road
"Be A Role Model to Other MEN! Walk with Us"
Walk to end violence against women
"Be A MAN! Take A Stand Against Domestic Violence!"
"Women are a country's Eyes" ~ placard in Tamil
Jaffna men in women's slippers during the "Walk A Mile in Her SHOES"
Police officers join the "Walk A Mile in her SHOES"
Walking in hot sun to end violence against women
"Break the Silence; WIN Against Violence"
It's Time.......... To Talk About It!
"Let's See Humanity in Women as well" ~ placard in Tamil
Youth from Jaffna at "Walk a Mile in Her SHOES"
Placard at Walk a Mile to end violence against women
Singing and walking for a cause
Walking on Galle Road
"Third Eye" from Batticaloa singing women's liberation songs
Drama depicting the violence in a displaced family in the north, performed by Women's Development Centre in Vavuniya
Police officers raising a kite against violence against women and children
Kite is raised against violence against women and children
Young women's group performing at Galle Face Green at "RISE UP and SPEAK UP 

 Pictorial on Ceylon Today of 29th November 2012

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Living Free

Text and Pix by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Bicycle is a common mode of transport in Christiania

You are warmly welcome to Christiania”, hospitable Christianians welcome visitors. Christiania is known as “Free Town” and is situated in the middle of Denmark’s capital Copenhagen. The concept of Christiania is “Peace, Love and Understanding”. It’s depicted in their flag, which has three yellow circles on dark orange background. It’s believed that, a lot of red and yellow paints were found at the time, when the original squatters took over the former military barracks, and as a result these colours were used to make their flag. A self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood covers more than 85 acres, and has more than 1,000 inhabitants. More than one million people visit Christiania each year to explore its arts, crafts and progressive Danish lifestyle.

Visitors are attracted by free town’s magic mixture of anarchy and love. Christiania is also known as “Losers’ Paradise”, because of its rare creativity (graffiti and murals) and recreational values.

We say no to hard drugs, weapons and violence. We welcome all from Denmark and other parts of the world. We don’t treat others differently. The people of Christiania want to lead a simple life. The government wants to build apartments in Christiania, but we oppose the idea. We want to live in peace” says Ole Lykke, the spokesperson for Christiania, and one of the initial occupants of the place.

Christiania was founded in 1971 by the squatters. They knocked down the fence, and used the unused former military barracks as a playground for their children.
The use of hash is criminal, and possession is punishable in Denmark. But, hard drugs such as cocaine, heroin, speed and so on are brought into Christiania from Balkans. It’s a big business in the free town, and we do routine raids and arrests” according to Copenhagen Police.

A dream of a life in freedom, communal living and an idea of a city ruled by its inhabitants is still alive. Homeless, jobless, Greenlanders and vagabonds find refuge in Christiania.

Make LOVE, not war in Christiania
Flag of Christiania depicts "Peace, Love and Understanding"

 View of a gallery
Stone painting to convey the message
"You Are Now Entering The EU", it means Christiania is not part of the European Union
Creative painting from across the street
Winter view
Buddhist cum Hindu shrine
Arts unfolds in many forms
Writing about Mahathma Gandhi placed at a notice board
Colourful graffiti depicts love
Scene during a stroll
Metal craft made in Christiania
Baby girl at play
Christiania is a place for creativity
Graffiti is found everywhere
Ducks braving snow
Creative Graffiti at a toilet
An overview of Christiania

 Today's pictorial on Ceylon Toady