Double the oppression double the freedom: on being a woman in the arab world

Double the oppression double the freedom: on being a woman in the arab world


Women in the Arab world hold a unique position between two forms of oppression and liberation. On the one hand, they are fighting for basic rights to health, safety, education, justice, freedom of association, and freedom of expression in their home countries. On the other hand, they are fighting against the imposition of so-called freedom from external forces that take away their own sense of autonomy and agency to fight their own battles in their own way.

They are pitied and fetishized from one side, aggressed and demonised from another.

But the rise of the Arab woman comes from within. Only she can say what she stands for, what she fears, and what she longs for. Whether harassed under occupation in Palestine, or harassed during the revolution and subsequent coup in Egypt, she is gathering her strength while the rest of the world is busy dictating her state and her plight to her.

But she understands that the more oppression there is to be fought, the more freedom there is to be won.

In this panel, you will have the opportunity to hear from ordinary Arab women who have found themselves in extraordinary political and social circumstances in the past and until now. 

Amira Musallam (Bio)

Amira is a Palestinian activist, born and raised in Bethlehem. From a very young age, she experienced both personal abuse and the brutal abuse of the Israeli military violence. From that time she has committed her life to seeking a path of peace and justice instead of hatred and violence, on the political level, and became a leading figure and speaker on violence between genders - especially in Arab culture.

Amira is also a single mother and survivor, who faced violent abuse, and a person who lives in one of the most violent areas in the world. She has become a rare voice that speaks on behalf of many Arab women who fear to do so and connects personal and collective experiences of abuse to a greater vision of peace and reconciliation.

Mai Sirry (Bio)

Mai is an Egyptian writer currently based in Geneva, Switzerland. She participated in the Egyptian revolution of 2011 as a protester, and then later worked as a researcher and interpreter for a data project that examined at the role of digital media in the Arab Spring. She conducted over 1200 interviews with activists and protesters, and monitored different mass media and social media outlets for political trends.

This data project was later used by several international organizations and academic institutes.


Dara Silverman (Bio)

Dara was born and raised in New York City. Enraged by the injustices in the world, she became a seeker for something worth living for. her search took her to over 35 countries across the globe. An activist since her youth, she became dissatisfied with putting bandages on the symptomatic wounds of our civilisation – and took the decision to work for system change. Dara holds a BA in ‘Raising a Sustainable Community’ from The New School University.

She has lived in Tamera for the past 6 years, where she works as a networker in the Institute for Global Peacework, as a member of the Love School, and as a group facilitator.


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