Razan Khatib's commentary on life on/off the web

Archive for the 'Women & Human rights' Category

#FreeRazan Ghazzawi الحرية لرزان غزّاوي 0

My dear friend and respected human rights activist Razan Ghazzawi got arrested on Sunday Dec 4th as she was traveling through the Syrian Jordanian border. As our hears are holding her, we want to create as much noise to make her release sooner.

I am copying the exact post her friend Alia Gh posted on her Facebook account to help the situation.


Action Alert! FREE Razan Ghazzawi رزان الحرة

by Alia Gh


اللغة العربية في نهاية البريد الإلكتروني


A friend of mine and an endless advocate for human rights, Razan Ghazzawi, was arrested on Sunday, December 4th at the Syrian/Jordanian border – on her way to a conference for media activism in A’mman.  She is one of the many courageous bloggers and activists of Syria who risk their lives to get information out about the revolution and other prisoners of conscience.  Razan is an amazing person, a brilliant thinker, and one of the bravest, most steadfast people I know. No one can judge those who choose to hide behind koffiyeh’s and masks – but Razan did everything under her full family name – in pure defiance of this Oppressive Regime!  Her courage is an example to us all at this time of social revolutions.


You can read past writings at her blog:  http://razanghazzawi.com/


Please like this support page and share with you friends on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/freerazan


If you could all take 10 minutes to make some calls, write some emails, or tweet some information adding appropriate hashtags – please do so!  We have heard from other prisoners in Syria that phone calls really do help turn out information about where people are being held, and often times can aide them in getting released.  So, please, help spread the word and take some time to help our friend and comrade Razan.


Below are other steps you can take to help, and below that are phone numbers to call, email addresses to write, and appropriate scripts for each.  Arabic articles and a statement from Syrian Bloggers is at the end.


Thank you!



PS There is a rumor happening today (Monday the 5th) that Razan will be released tonight – but let’s keep the pressure on – as we can anticipate the lies of the Regime!



The most important thing : Keep Razan in your thoughts and prayers!


1. Write an email or send a fax to your local politician, Foreign Minister, members of parliament of congress. Use the internet to find their contact details or see this list of emails. Razan is an American Citizen – See here for a list of US Embassies to contact demanding they take urgent action.  (I have compiled important numbers and put them at the bottom of the email!)

2. Use your profile photo to draw attention to Razan’s arrest and the plight of all prisoners in Syria via Twibbon or you can use this image, or make your own


3. Use the tag #FreeRazan to share links, videos, news from #Syria – keep attention levels UP, don’t let this important news be overpowered by other stories and fade from view. Here’s some US Twitter users that you could message: @AlecJRoss @RobatState @KrisAtState @AnnatState @State_DRL @SlaughterAM @USEmbassySyria @USEmbassyJordan @StateDept

4. Post news and links to FaceBook, blog, forums, and in comments on videos and news posts about Syria. If you write, please write about this issue. Search FaceBook for other pages or groups where you can post messages or links to raise awareness.

5. Schedule tweets for when you can’t be online – use Dlvr IT for feeds or Buffer for individual tweets

6. Join the new Free Razan FaceBook page and share the page with all your friend

7. Continue Red’s work! She fought for the rights and freedom of all detained Syrians, you can help by doing the same. Don’t let Razan’s arrest remove all those other victims from the spotlight, too. Check the #Syria tag on Twitter – but watch out for trolls! Look at @Mar15Syria timeline or website for example, or see the latest Syria tweets here.

8. Learn from her example. Razan had a contingency plan shared with close trusted friends, of what to do in case of her arrest. They mobilizxed as soon as they heard the news, locking down her FaceBook page, securing her email, blog and Twitter, then posting messages explaining their actions. Should you or anyone you know do the same?



Contact the State Department!


US State Department : Eastern Affiars Richard Soler 571 345 3005

Office of Middle East Director Helene Kessler 202 776 8404

Middle East Team Leader Adam Bloomquist 202 776 8559


Contact Syrian Consulates!



Dr. Hazem Chehabi    Tel: (949) 640-9888 Fax: (949) 640 9292



Mr. Ayman Midani Tel: (713) 622-8860 Fax: (713) 622-8872




Dr. Naji Arwashan Tel: (248) 519-2496 Fax: (248) 519-2399


Embassy of Syria

(202) 232-6316


Phone Talking Points

  • That US-born Syrian blogger Razan Ghazzawi was arrested, and you urge she have immediate access to her family, legal counsel, medical care and that her whereabouts be known
  • She is a human rights advocate and a part of the brave people that practice Freedom of Media and Expression in a world that punishes those who dare to tell the Truth
  • It is known that the Syrian Regime regularly practices torture and that many people never come to trial, or are killed in detention
  • We need to build pressure for the release of all prisoners of conscience!


Email/Call the US Embassies in the Arab World


Telephone: (961) 4 542600 – 543600

Fax: (961) 4 544136




Telephone: 962-6-590-6000

Fax: 962-6-592-0163





Main switchboard:  +216 71 107 000

Fax:  +216 71 963 263




Telephone: 9661-4883800

Fax: 9661-4887360




Istanbul / Turkey

Phone: (90) 212-335 90 00




Email Script (make sure to change wording if you are emailing a Syrian Consulate representative or a US State Department rep)

To Whom it May Concern:


I am writing to you in order to express my concern over the arrest of Razan Ghazzawi.


On Sunday, December 4th, 2011, Razan Ghazzawi was arrested by border officers at the Jordon-Syrian border on her way to attend a conference on Freedom of Media in the Arab World, as a representative for the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression.


Razan Ghazzawi, a human rights activist and blogger, has not been charged with any crime and is thus a prisoner of conscience according to international law. Credible and internationally respected human rights organizations, such as Amnesty International, have voiced concerns about the use of torture and the abuse of human rights occurring in Syrian prisons and detention centres. These reports have prompted serious concerns for the safety of Razan and other Syrian prisoners of conscience.


I am calling on the (United States government to pressure the) Syrian government to order the immediate and unconditional release of Razan Ghazzawi.


I demand the Syrian government immediately clarify the reason, legal basis and place of detention of Razan Ghazzawi; to cease holding her incommunicado and allow her immediate access to her family, legal counsel of her own choosing, and any medical attention she may require; and to ensure that she is protected against torture or other ill-treatment.


I thank you for your urgent attention to this matter.




Your Name







الآن باللغة العربية….



بيان مشترك | مدونون سوريون | حول اعتقال المدونة السورية رزان غزاوي :

بالكاد تنفّسنا الصعداء بعد الإفراج عن زميلنا حسين غرير قبل أن يعود اختناق الغضب والحزن ليذكّر صدورنا بواقع القمع والكبت وعبادة الصّمت الذي نعيشه.. وردنا خبر اعتقال زميلتنا رزان غزّاوي.

رزان غزّاوي سوريّة بامتياز.. سوريّة بعملها المحموم للمرافعة عن القضية الفلسطينيّة وﻻجئيها في وسائط الإعلام اﻻجتماعي باللغتين العربيّة واﻻنكليزيّة، سوريّة بالتزامها بكل قضايا التقدّم والعدالة اﻻجتماعيّة والمساواة، سوريّة بوقوفها مع الأحرار في طريقهم لنيل الحرّية والكرامة.. رزان صوتٌ ﻻ يريد له الصمت إﻻ أعداء الحقّ والكرامة والعدالة والحرّية.

نطالب السلطات السوريّة بالإفراج الفوري عن رزان غزّاوي وعن كلّ معتقلات ومعتقلي الرأي والضمير والكرامة، ونحمّلها مسؤوليّة أي أذى قد تتعرّض له، كما نطالبها بكف سياسة القمع الإرهابي الرعناء بحق المواطنين السّوريين، وندعو جميع أنصار الحقّ والحرّية للتضامن مع رزان غزّاوي، معنا، مع سوريا..!

نرجو من الصديقات والأصدقاء المساهمة في نشر النص في المدوّنات والصفحات والشبكات اﻻجتماعيّةهاش تاغ

A call to blog/tweet about the upcoming Gaza Freedom March 2

The International Coalition to End the Illegal Siege of Gaza  an organization formed after the 22-day assault on Gaza in winter2008-2009 is holding and coordinating the Gaza Freedom March which will take place on Dec 31 to mark one year since the assault through mobilizing an international contingent for a nonviolent march alongside the people of Gaza to end the illegal blockade.

Though participation is now closed, this post is to call on everyone who supports this effort to blog about it on Dec 31st as well as to to tweet and try to make #GAZA a trending topic on Twitter on that day.G

For more information please add a comment to this blog post so I can arrange for us to meet one of the participants and activists who’s a fellow Jordanian. Together we can find the best way she can update us about the march as its happening.

AramramTV, behind the scenes 1

After listening and broadcasting us (Internet Entrepreneurs) for the past few months; Serene Al-Ahmad & Mohammad Khairy from AramramTV team get a chance to talk about their own creation this time around in a -very well done -video interview by Mohammad Azraq and Amahl Khouri.

They talk about some of their projects and their original approach that differentiates them within Jordan and the region. Moreover, they talk about their own take at bridging the divide between east and west Amman.


Charter of Compassion: a call to bring the world together 0

Karen Armstrong is purely brilliant. She knows what matters.

Her book “A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity and Islam” was one of those few books that did change the way I thought of the world and us humans not just religion.

After winning the TED Prize; Karen’s wish was a call to bring the world together…Charter of Compassion which if anything affirms her deep understanding of what we all know needs to happen yet we hide behind self preserved walls.

Watch the video voicing the charter:

The case for being liberal 6

Over the years I’ve gone through the path from being a moderate religious conservative as a teen into a full fledged liberal as I like to call my self today. The journey was not an easy one and through which I came to learn that people around me understand liberalism in different ways, the ones who call themselves liberal that is.

From one side some think being open minded is equal to being liberal, others think that having a westernized-Arab mindset is liberal, while some think that the acceptance of other people’s religions is what makes them liberal.

You can read this Wikipedia article of what liberalism means and the history associated with it.

But what i want here is to share what I think being a liberal individual means (not to confuse this with political parties that call themselves that).

As a liberal it’s about really really believing in your individual freedom and of those around you and treating them as equals in their right to exist and be.

What they wear, where they want to go, where they live, what they do for a living, who they pray for, who they want to sleep with, who they want to love …

By freedom I mean everything that does not result in harming other individuals.

Yes those were BOLD. And those as many debates I’ve read, witnessed and participated in is where the confusion comes and where you hear stuff like this:

“I am generally a liberal person, but really someone sleeping around is something I am totally against, it’s harming for our society“.

“I am a liberal person, but really someone wearing an Islamic Hijab (scarf) is something I am totally against, she’s definitely oppressed”.

“I come from a liberal mindset, but really walking down the street wearing such tight short miniskirt and a transparent sleeveless shirt is definitely inappropriate! we are not in Europe!”

“Gosh this girl is wearing a scarf with such a tight jeans, she either wears a full hijab costume or take her scarf off and spare us her pathetically portrayed conservatism!”

“As a liberal, gays and lesbians can do what they want, but really I don’t think its my job or if it’s the right time and place to go defending their rights! there are more important things to fight for these days than that.”

“My wife and I are liberals, but you know how things are when you have kids, it’s the mom that has to stay home definitely not the dad.”

Those statements can not in any way, shape or form be statements coming from someone calling themselves a liberal. They can call themselves “moderates”, they can call themselves “cool”, “easy going”, “open minded” for all I care.

What do you think?

(If you are not a liberal or hate liberals and think they are the promoters of sin in society. I ask you gently to spare me your comments this post is not for discussing anti-liberalism. Thank you.)

Murder in the name of Honour, a book by Rana Husseini 8

Taken from a press release I received from Rana Husseini sent on April 8th, 2009.

Rana Husseini‘s long waited for book “Murder in the Name of Honour” is going to be released in the United Kingdom on May 28th and in the USA on June 26th of this year.  The Arabic version of the book is going to be released in October 2009.

Rana Husseini's Murder in the name of Honour

As you all know, Rana has been advocating against this brutal practice for the past 16 years.  The book is an accumulation of cases she covered in Jordan as well as a documentation of the efforts and events that took place in the long process of combating this murder. The book is also a documentation of worldwide cases and efforts that were exerted by many countries, organizations and individuals to end this practice mostly targeted against women and their right to life.

Furthermore, the book includes a section on the social and medical aspects of this murder, it concludes with recommendations as to what can be done to end these crimes worldwide. One part of the book describes Rana’s efforts, among others’, in exposing the hoax Jordanian-American writer Norma Khouri and the effects her book had on this part of the world.

Rana hopes that this book will be another tool for raising awareness as well as a reference for human rights advocates locally and internationally. It is also a source for anyone interested in learning more about this issue from a credible and objective source.

The book is available on Amazon.com and other websites for pre-order.

You can reach Rana Husseini on her email: honorcrimes@ranahusseini.com

Been a long time fan of Rana and her great work, really excited to read the book from cover to cover!

There will be a book launch and signing event in Jordan at Readers at somepoint, will post when I know the exact date.

Gaza, the Momentum 1

The following post is a result of several conversations I had first hand with friends, facebook status messages I read, twitter messages I received. News articles I read. YouTube videos I watched…

From calls for for bloody Zionist Israel to stop its genocide in Gaza, to calls to Egypt, Jordan to cut their ties with Zionist Israel, to calls to Arab states to open the borders for Jihad in reflection upon news reports of children murdered, to innocent civilian life butchered for 22 consecutive days (till date), after years of blockade over Gaza.

From hundred of rallies walked, all sorts of flags risen, all sort of chants cried, all sort of boycott calls, of strikes, of prayers.

The momentum created by this new Zionist Israeli massacre should be carried not for days or months or years.

But for as long as it takes.

To save this momentum, action needs to happen. This same obsession over the past three weeks should result in grassroots actions. Forget our governments, forget the US, European officials. We need to bring our message to the masses around the globe.

Those were the words of many people around me.

What’s happening today in Gaza is the new deir yassin, the new sabra and shatila and the world needs to know the details of what has been happening. The gory details. Every story should be told. Those who died. Those who were injured and those who got the shock of their lives.

“I don’t want to forget what’s happening and how it made me feel a year from now…” – Ola

“We need to continue to donate to save more lives over there…” – Diala

“we need lawyers to start preparing a law suit against the murderous Israeli government.” – Ahmad

We need people to better brand this massacre, we need to launch hundreds of  websites to  put faces to all those who were killed & injured and collect each and every story, with any kind of media we can use.

Let’s have an action plan…

Who stole your cheese? 3

To Al Ghad editorial team and co; I totally feel with you as soon enough you will question the fact that you can’t find your cheese anymore.

Because it’s really tough to wake up one day and suddenly find no cheese. Especially if you happen to live in a box located right in the middle of the jungle called life and you eat one type of cheese everyday. There are lots of dangerous people out there in the jungle. You know what I mean, those adventurous folk that go discover new types of cheese everyday to feed from. Crazy crazy people they are. Who needs new cheese when you have your great cheese recipe that has been passed on to you for generations? You know the one that lead you to write such a lousy article and state such scientifically (mental health) erroneous claims by all professional standards.

I say get out of your box into the jungle, and stop being afraid of what you may see and find. Have a new perspective. Because really who wants to be ignorant in this time and age? Get your facts straight. Put more opinions, catch a larger audience, be a positive instrument of change, of delivering a good message that is tolerant in its essence. Be bolder, be controversial, bring something new to the table and start a healthier conversation where we can definitely disagree yet with utter respect to our brains.

The only constant is change, and no matter how much you scream out now you can’t fight it when it has strong foundations like the issue of sexuality in general and homosexuality in specific.  Soon enough people are going to look-up your article as an example of what newspapers used to write during Jordan’s dark ages by then your type of cheese will be the minority.

A saudi woman protests driving ban on women 0

Here is the video she posted on YouTube:


over 18 female in Jordan?…sorry you are half an adult! 7

I was shocked and scared the other day when a friend of mine told me that a 25 year old woman who was hanging out with friends at Books@Cafe; was forced against her will by the police to go back to her parents place which it seems she fled few weeks ago!

Seemingly, if you are a woman in Jordan, your father OWNS you until he transfers the ownership to your future husband. Care to have a life of your own? Nope. You are not an adult, there will always be some male in your family responsible for you. No sorry, if you kill someone, steal something you still will go to Jail, your male family friend can’t be responsible about those actions.


We don’t know anything about the girl in question, only that against all tries of the owners of the cafe, the police still took her while she was screaming and saying “I don’t want to live with you” to her family. Destination of course is a hospital to check her virginity. Failed attempts to check if they killed her or not. As it seems there is nothing anyone can do.

SAD SAD people are Jordanians, me included. Here I am a 33 year old, a career woman, a business owner but no, according to the Jordanian law, i have to have, “waly amer” to control my life. Where was my “waly amer” when I registered my company? or applied for a new passport? What the hell is this?


A good day for the Jordanian woman 0

Last Wednesday, my longtime friend and a community icon, Rana Hussieni received a royal medal for her contributions to the advancement of human rights in Jordan. http://www.jordantimes.com/index.php?news=3117

Though recognizing Rana in Jordan took years to happen, she is the proud holder of many international awards and a worldwide feminist icon referred to in conferences and women studies programs worldwide.

Rana makes me and lots of people I know proud. Her determination and dedication to reporting the so called “honor crimes” cannot be described but courageous and daring. Two very important characteristics every reporter should have, thus she shines amongst the Jordanian and Arab journalists for that.

Being recognized with a royal medal only signifies the level of support Rana is getting in Jordan. The highest possible. And that gives us hope that change will be forced sooner than later where those criminals are thought of as murderers and not as defending their so called honor.

For the past two years, Rana was busy writing her book “Murder in the Name of Honor” which is to be published next year. All of us are waiting anxiously to buy it and read through it!!

Congratulations Rana and good luck :-)

Rana Husseini

Another "brick in the wall" of freedom of expression in Jordan 0

I just got the news that the Jordanian government represented by the Print & Publishing Department will extend its sad and frustrating laws onto online websites, most probably the vast amount of web-based blogs and press sites. Very frustrating, I don’t know if my blog on hosted on WordPress will be included as well but it doesn’t look like it. So this is a downer for all Jordanian blog based services like Maktoob and others.

From reading the article in today’s Al Dustoor, a number of people are threatening legal action if the government starts to actually implement this.

In my opinion, this is a weak ‘s man try at controlling something that is obviously out of their control. Insecure and totally ridiculous to even talk about. How will Jordan be able to actually advance economically, socially and technologically ever if we prohibit people to think and express freely!

From not allowing atv to air yet, to this. I think we have two big forces fighting for our future, one wants to take us back to stone ages and one wants to take us forward.

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