People resist oppression and that spirit of resistance won’t die until a courageous people are free again in their own homes, on their own land. Meanwhile, Never underestimate the strength of women in resistance and struggle.
Here is an interview with one of those women involved in resistance; the unconventional girl next door who is known in the twitter and blogosphere as iRevolt.
You can read Farsi translation of the interview here.
Tell us about yourself. What do you do? Where are you from? What’s your origin? What’s your level of education and what approach you have in your life.
My name is Roqayah ; I am a 21 year old Southern Lebanese student living in the United States – I am currently a University Senior, double majoring in Political Science/Pre-Law and Journalism.
I aim to become a human rights activist and International Criminal Attorney; I hope to work in places such as Occupied Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine wherein I will be able to provide what I can in terms of writing about the imperialist occupations, aiding families and/or using my education to coordinate projects and tasks with Human Rights Organizations so that I may help in improving the lives and well being of others.
You are a woman who does activities for Resistance. What are you resisting against? How much women like you are involved in Resistance? What they usually do to help the cause? Is gender a case?
I do not consider myself a rarity in any case – women of all ages, all races and all faiths have resisted against tyranny and oppression far longer than many of us are aware. My sole mission in life is to fight corruption, tyranny and subjugation; so long as one human being is being oppressed it is our duty to aid them in whatever way we can – be it physically, monetarily or mentally.
I believe that more women, especially Muslim women, should be more involved in politics and Resistance movements; Allah subhana w’ ta’alla did not prescribe that we remain housewives or confine ourselves to the roles dictated to us by our culture; no. Allah subhana w’ ta’ala has given us the task of upholding His deen and His objectives – all of us, men and women. I strongly believe that women can raise a family, follow the commandments of Allah subhana w’ ta’ala while committing themselves to aiding their brothers and sisters.
I run an entire website, Political Theatrics on my own – with no help from anyone. Also, I do it anonymously. A majority of those who visit my site assume that I am a male; this is only because their culture has dictated this long and corrupt tale that women cannot have such booming voices – that women are timid creatures. I was not raised this way, Alhamdulillah. I know that I am more than capable of holding my own ground as well as (and if not better than) a man.
What are the issues that Muslim women face in the west particularly in the US, your country?
Muslim women are not as free as they are made out to be in the United States – regardless of what the mainstream media tells you, regardless of what you are being fed by your friends etc. There is a type of oppression present here that is rarely spoken of and that is xenophobia; the fear of what is foreign.
My mother,mashaAllah, wears the hijab and though she has not come under attack from non-Muslims I know many who have been – simply for wearing the attire which brands them ‘Muslim’.
Women,in general, are pushed around by Western culture and abhorrent sexist propaganda – on one side you have the ignorant masses who are afraid and hateful towards the Muslims and on the other side you have those who are trying to ‘liberate us’ by means of perversion; They wish to make us choose between the comforts of the West and Allah subhana w’ ta’ala. The jihad (struggle) for Muslim women in the West is to maintain their dignity while facing the continuous curtain of xenophobia.
How about western activists who work for resistance? What are your struggles if you be against policy of your governments?
I had the great honor of joining the Gaza Freedom March, being head of the Student and Media committee and trying to get into Gaza. I met a plethora of men and women from the United States, Muslim – Non-Muslim – Atheist etc, who joined over 1300 others in order to provide aid to the blockaded people of Gaza.
Men and women from all walks of life left their families, their work just so they may break the siege on Gaza.
I was raised in the States – I lived under a brutal regime which occupied and subjugated people from all across the globe. The United States is an imperialistic regime and so long as I have any breath left in my body I shall resist against it. Allah subhana w’ ta’ala does not give us what we cannot handle; if my brother and sister in Gaza can manage to go without food, water, electricity and shelter then I can face whatever the oppressive US regime can pressure me with.
Since you’re originally Lebanese, Is it true that Lebanese women use Islamic Hijab to show off their political attitudes?
Imam Jafar Sadiq (AS) said that “…modesty is the symbol of faith” – in Lebanon the hijab carries a great weight, especially in the South where my family is from.
The hijab is not worn to show political affiliation but in the literal sense there are times, during anniversaries of the war etc, that pins are worn and other adornments in order to show solidarity with certain Resistance groups (i.e. Hezb’Allah, Haraket Amal etc)
What’s role of Hijab in Lebanon’s resistance movement?
Southern Lebanon is home to the Resistance; Our women, as Sayyed Hassan has stated, are our pride and joy. They carry the weight of the Resistance movement on their shoulders by aiding their brothers and providing the light by which the entire movement is able to progress. The hijab is like a badge of honor for many of our women; It should be known that the hijab strengthens our women, it does not degrade them or make them inferior.
How much the resistance affected Arab society? What was its influence on culture and literature? Give me some examples
Being an Arab I take no issue in saying that, in general, my people are apathetic – During Operation Cast Lead, The July War of 2006 in Lebanon (among others) there was a sense of awakening in the Arab world. It was as if someone injected a serum of life into their bloodstream; they reflected upon the victories of the resistance against Apartheid “Israel” and saw their own reflection in the victories.
Books were published about Hezb’Allah, trying to analyze how such a seemingly small group could bring down a heavily funded State. Authors wanted to know how the men of Hezb’Allah could defeat Israel and until now, they are in a state of total shock.
Do you think resistance is just a Muslim cause or a universal movement?
Being a part of a vast array of political and humanitarian organizations I know that resistance is a universal message, carried by men and women from all walks of life. As a human being it is our duty to resist. As Muslims it is our duty and our right.
Are there any organisations in Lebanon especially for women and girls? If there’re any, what services they offer usually? What’s name of the famous ones?
There are an array of groups for women in Lebanon:
Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World, The Lebanese Women Democratic Gathering, Lebanese Women’s Association, The National Council of Lebanese Women, etc.
Most of these groups promote the education and advancement of women in all fields but primarily in the societal aspects of our communities. They do projects and work with young women so they may harness their natural potential.
Where were you at the time of 2006 Lebanon-Israel war? How did you feel? What did you do to help to promote the truth and reality of the Israeli aggression?
In 2006 I was 16 years old, going on 17. I was in High School at that time and I remember every moment of those horrid days as if they occurred yesterday; My family would stay up for days praying and trying to comfort one another. This is where my attitude towards imperialism began to change into something more powerful – I felt helpless and needed to do something, anything. So, I decided to send an email to Al Wa3ed – a branch of Al Manar’s media group which wrote in support of the Resistance and against Israeli occupation. My first article was called “Letter from an American Teenager”, soon after the article gained steady ground on the internet I was asked to write once more and this lead, ultimately, to me opening a website.
Though I could not help my people physically I knew that I could enlighten those around me to the plight of my people; My closest friends who were once ignorant about international politics were now asking me questions and I had all the answers.
Muslim women hold the power to help their people, through their wisdom, their brilliance, their intellectual might and their strength.
What did the Lebanese women do to help their country during and after war?
During the war in Lebanon there were women who refused to leave their homes as Israel bombed relentlessly – they provided moral support for the fighters and protected/sheltered their families – comforting them.
I have yet to meet women like those in the most subjugated places and areas like Lebanon,which has faced trials and tribulations which people will speak of for centuries to come.
War is not new to Lebanon and my own parents have lost loved one to it; the way the women in Lebanon face it is what is most redeeming. They put everything in Allah’s knowledgeable hands and they are stronger because of it.
How much you know about Iran and Iranian women? Have you ever been to Iran? Is there anything about Iran that you’ve been interested in, for example, the culture, language, politics etc?
I have always had an affinity for Iran – my father used to tell me how beautiful it is and I’ve wanted and inshaAllah I shall when I am financially able.
I am proud of the people of Iran, especially those who have disengaged from the West in order to promote unity and dignity within their own communities. What interested me the most about Iran, especially during the wars in Palestine and Lebanon, is how the Iranians sided with their brothers and sisters overseas; I recall a video on Al Manar of the protests and how many there chanted their devotion and support of the resistance.
I want to learn Farsi, as I find it an exquisite language; I am friends with a few Iranian women and their mentality is just as strong and unwavering as mine, thus I wish to be acquainted with more women who are just as passionate and dignified.
Tell us about your thoughts and goals in life! What are your wishes and your concerns?
I want to make a difference in this world before I pass, inshaAllah one that may better the life of another human being – man or woman. I want to live long enough to see the total liberation of Palestine and the vanquishing of the illegal apartheid state of “Israel”. Also, I want to start a family and raise my children to have only one fear – Allah – and raise them with devotion to righteousness.
What’s your final message for Iranian women?
Nothing I may say will change the current state of affairs for the women of Iran. They are as strong as they wish to be; so long as they stop fearing man and place their trust in Allah then all things for them are possible.
In the heart of every women there is a candle, one which has a small flame that grows as their devotion to Allah pushes forward. Do not let the flame go out; safeguard it and make it grow.
* Cross-posted on MEY