This Fall I attended an event for work where they were honoring female journalists from around the world. I was so impressed by these women and their ability to share with the world a truth that many governments do not want shown.
While the big draw was to promote a lifetime achievement award for Lesley Stahl, I have to say I was much more interested in hearing about some of the other women, such as Zehra Dogan, a Kurdish journalist. Zehra founded a feminist Kurdish news site called JINHA where she reported a series of articles about Yazidi women making their escape from ISIS captivity. I can't share the links as the site appears to have been taken down. Zehra is also a painter, and it was her art that landed her in jail by the Turkish government in July of 2016. The painting depicted a photograph (widely circulated on the internet) of a Turkish city bombed during a battle with Kurdish militants. What the government seemed to take issue with is her painting Turkish flags on buildings, which had been included in the photo.
What is so astounding about Zehra is her persistence to find, and tell the world the truth. From her jail cell, she founded yet another newspaper where she is reporting about the women political prisoners and human rights abuses in prison. She also continues to paint, even though the administration refuses to supply her with painting materials. She instead creates her own paint from food, drinks and menstrual blood and makes brushes from the feathers of birds that fall into the prison. Zehra's courage has inspired others to tell her story. A local New York mural in lower Manhattan, by Banksy, shows Zehra behind bars and counting days imprisoned. In the lower right are the words "Free Zehra Dogan."
I attended the event with my daughter, who is studying communications and human rights in college. I was inspired to see how she took it all in, and encouraged that she is the next generation of female voices in the world.
Thanks for telling Zehra's story -- she is an inspiration. May she be safe in jail and free soon.ReplyDelete
My fave woman journalist is Christiane Amanpour. And I also love Lisa Ling.ReplyDelete
What a story and an inspiration. It is so tragic when voices are shutdown like hers. I hope 2019 gives her freedom.ReplyDelete
Such a moving story! May she be safe in jail and get out soon!ReplyDelete
Cynthia, I really love all that you shared here but especially that you attended with your daughter ... so wonderful!ReplyDelete
I wish we could all send art supplies to Zehra or, better, yet, get her free!
That Zehra is still creating art in prison with no traditional art supplies gives me hope for this world in general, women in particular. Where there is a will.....ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing. How nice to have shared this experience with your daughter.ReplyDelete
With human rights being eroded in many places all over the world I am a staunch supporter of the free press and speech. I'm sure this was a moving experience both for you and your daughter.ReplyDelete