Picture / Paul Estcourt, NZ Herald
The Tehran Times Reports, in Good News For Darfur, that Yvonne Ridley, a former British journalist captured by the Taliban in September 2001, while on assignment in Afghanistan for the conservative, middle-market British tabloid newspaper The Daily Express, who slightly over two years subsequent to her capture converted to Islam (writing an op-ed on the WAPO in October 2006, while while political editor of Islam Channel TV in London, How I Came to Love the Veil, and authoring the book In the Hands of the Taliban) is part of a Muslim only venture to sit down a talk to
Tribal leaders, and government opposition rivals, about the ongoing crisis in Darfur.
This effort, via a delegation which includes Lord Ahmed, is to listen not lecture, and the delegation has no personal or political agenda of their own. Something which Ridley feels can not be said of most of those working on these issues right now, including most of those working fro the West.
Without an agenda?
I’d like to think a Muslim woman, though Western, would at least have some agenda related to the rape of her Muslim sisters in Darfur.
The fate of a raped woman in an Islamic fundamentalist society such as that in Sudan is already sealed. Rape survivors are more often than not rejected for being a visible reminder of the shame inflicted on the community by the rape act. The women will be inhibited from acting as full and honored members of society; their prospects for marriage or a happy home life effectively erased forever. Compounding the trauma of the physical abuse of rape is the loss of identity and the imposition of a new, dishonored identity. Ironically, the act of freeing themselves from the burden of shame and perhaps starting the process of healing by naming the offense is guaranteed to cement their rejected status in their societies.
According to Lord Ahmed, this is a grassroots initiative propelled by those who have nothing to gain.
Grassroots initiatives. Why did it take so long?