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lundi 11 septembre 2017

A TED MED RESEARCH SCHOLAR IN DOHA: HERE IS A GOOD TED TALK TO MAKE YOU THINK OF ARAB WOMEN DIFFERENTLY

For the past two years, I have been a TED MED Research Scholar, vetting the speakers to the annual TED MED conference. It is a very satisfying task, and the time consumed is looked at as pleasure rather than a chore.
I am in Qatar at the moment, thinking of what I have observed. 
Here is a TED talk by a dynamic woman from Qatar. Here is her introduction at TED website.
Sheikha Al Mayassa, a patron of artists, storytellers and filmmakers in Qatar, talks about how art and culture create a country's identity -- and allow every country to share its unique identity with the wider world. As she says: "We don't want to be all the same, but we do want to understand each other."
It gives yet another window into the Qatari character. She reminded me of Mariela Castro, daughter of the President Raul Castro of Cuba, who became an independent and powerful force in the Cuban Scene, not connected to the Politics of her father or his cronies.
I noticed with interest that Sheikha Al Mayassa studied at Sciences-Po, the college that creates a lot of intellectuals in France! 
She is impressive, eloquent and convincing. As she says about the Abaya, the tunic that Qatari women wear: it is the tradition that she wants to preserve, unlike the Indian women who want to eschew wearing Sari because they feel it is old fashioned and less western.
I have seen more moroccan women wearing hijabs in France or Belgium than in Morocco, which has the exact opposite meaning of what Sheikha al Mayassa said: these women who are living not in their country, are trying to make a statement not about their cultural identity but their religious affiliation. It is about freedom, or lack of freedom as in the case of Irani women in Iran or Malay women in Malaysia, where the Hijab serves as a symbol of separation. Difference is not Diversity, and hijab in Malaysia celebrates difference and not diversity, wish the women there could hear this TED talk by Sheikha al Mayassa.