Samira Hamidi On The Need For People To People Interaction & Solidarity To Support South Asian Women
- IWB Post
- June 27, 2019
“Women in South Asia need to stand together and support each other. Afghan women are in most need of support and solidarity. We cannot go back and women across the world and in South Asia must advocate for us,” says Samira Hamidi, an Amnesty International regional campaigner in South Asia.
With no clue about what the peace talks might have in store, Afghanistan currently treads an unstable terrain. More than anyone else it is the Afghan women who lie suspended in anticipation as they fight for a non-partial inclusion in the peace deal discussions and decision making.
In a recent Twitter chat that she had with IWB, Samira threw light on the same point as she urged the entire South Asian women’s community to join them in this fight for peace and equality. During the chat, she talked about the kind of support that Afghan women seek from other South Asian nations, the role they hope to assume in the peace negotiations, and the untapped potential of women’s network across South Asia.
Here are the excerpts:
On her vision of peace in South Asia
@indianwomenblog Thank you @indianwomenblog for having me. It is great to share this platform where many other friends and colleagues have shared views. There is a lot we share in common in South Asia. There is love, understanding and shared culture. (1) #CrossBorderDialogues
@indianwomenblog Unfortunately our shared values is ruined by the politics and negative aspirations. My peace vision would be people to people interaction,love, understanding.I hope at least we women in South Asia proceed with our common vision which is women empowerment.(2) #CrossBorderDialugues
On the kind of support that Afghan women need from South Asia
@indianwomenblog This is a critical moment for #Afghanwomen. The ongoing #peace efforts is with a group that abandon women for six years for their basic social, economical, political and cultural rights. 1 #CrossBorderDialogues
On what Afghan women seek in the peace negotiations
@indianwomenblog #Afghanwomen are mediators/negotiators too at community level from their home to their communities. #Afghan women have made progress in various fields which are our NON-NEGOTIABLES. Any peace effort that will sideline our non-negotiables and #redlines wont be accepted.
@indianwomenblog #Afghanwomen would like continuous to be political leaders, teachers, nurses, ministers, ambassadors and so on. Any limitation on women’s engagement is not acceptable. #CrossBorderDialogues
@indianwomenblog #Afghanwomen fear their achievements & gains can be traded by politicians easily. They are vocal & strong actors saying #afghanwomenwillnotgoback however they need other women allies to share their voices, to put pressure & show that they are watching. #CrossBorderDialogues
@indianwomenblog And finally, #Afghanwomen contribution must be celebrated by #women in #SouthAsia. #Afghan politicians & international actors like United States must not deal on behalf of #Afghanwomen & compromise their rights for political power sharing & calling it peace. #CrossBorderDialogues
On the untapped potential of women’s network across South Asia
@indianwomenblog @AWNKabul There are women groups, networks and coalitions across #SouthAsia that focus on various women’s rights issues. I believe it is time for these networks to find joint ways to work together. They need to come together to learn from each others experiences also. #CrossBorderDialogues
@indianwomenblog @AWNKabul There is still a need for strategies, approaches and way to address the immediate and long term needs of women in our region. Every country in #SouthAisa has their own unique experiences that we can exchange, learn and implement in our countries. #CrossBorderDialogues
On bringing South Asian women together
@indianwomenblog @AWNKabul We need to engage more, interact with each other, expand our contacts and networks. We need to use our experience but also our expertise in different fields. We need lobby for common calls for women in #SouthAsia. #CrossBorderDialogues
On women’s misrepresentation by men
@indianwomenblog #Afghanwomen are advocating for their meaningful engagement daily where they still intimidation, discrimination and even harassment at times. How the same #men who see them as second citizen, will actually represent them meaningfully? #CrossBorderDialogues
@indianwomenblog Also they are half of the population. Even thinking that #women can sit back and #men can represent them is discrimination. Our Constitution has given us equal participation rights, we have our assessments, analysis and solutions for women & people. We must speak for ourselves.
On mobilising women across Afghanistan to make them active participants in policy making
@indianwomenblog Women are mobilized to some extent across the country however their are security and cultural restrictions that has made outreach impossible to the villages.Centrally based women are trying to expand their contacts and networks and so far it is working well. #CrossBorderDialogues
@indianwomenblog However reaching out to 50% of population is not easy especially when there are restrictions. Where possible social media has played a good rule in connecting with women.For examples through my facebook/twitter I am to engage with many women who (ofcourse) have access only.
@indianwomenblog Finally until and unless women are not involved meaningfully, they are not consulted in an inclusive manner & they are giving symbolic representation, they will not be able to shape policies and address their demands. #CrossBorderDialogues
On her message to the South Asian women’s community
@indianwomenblog My message is: Let us continuou the fight, let us stand with each other and let’s be each other’s voices. Together, we are stronger, louder and more impactful. Thank you @indianwomenblog for the opportunity. #CrossBorderDialogues
Owing to the diverse albeit rich cultural backdrop of the region, South Asian geopolitics remains unique in its own way. The culture, the religion, and the confusing international narratives have all amalgamated together to give birth to a politics unlike any other in South Asia.
While the social and political movements in the West might inspire us, we need a system of our own to incorporate them as per our surroundings. Our triggers are different, our catalysts are different, our methods are different, and therefore it becomes imperative that our understanding of it must be different too. We cannot see ourselves from the lens of the outsider like a narrative developed with only half-hearted efforts.
IWB recognises that the need right now is to take charge of the situation and facilitate a dialogue among women representatives from South Asian nations like Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, and Sri Lanka.
We have thus initiated a series of Twitter chats with women representatives from the South Asian countries mentioned above.