My voice is a revolution not a shame

Fotografies de les ponents de la xerrada Women and the Syrian Conflict

Two Syrian students from the UAB participated on April 27 in a talk about the role of women in the Syrian conflict and the relationship between feminism and environmentalism.



On April 27, the host program in collaboration with the School for the Culture of Peace and the Catalan Agency for Development Cooperation organized "Women and the Syrian Conflict", a round table with expert speakers to talk about the role of women during the war in Syria. The event was online and was held in English.

The event was moderated by Claudia Nadal, an FAS technician and counted with the participation of Angham Daiyoub, one of the beneficiaries of the Violent Extremism Prevention program who is doing a PhD at the UAB in ecofeminism and forest conservation in violent environments, and Bayan al Fadel, also a beneficiary of the PEV program and who is doing a PhD in Global Law and Human Security.

The table began with a quick introduction by Bayan Al Fadel on the current general situation after 10 years of conflict. Bayan explained that more than 90% of the population lives below the poverty line and that it is the largest humanitarian crisis with more than 13.4 million Syrians in need of humanitarian assistance, and around 6.7 million refugees in the world.

Angham introduced the issue of gender balance and Bayan continued with an intervention on the legal situation that women lived before 2011, with the intention of understanding how their circumstances have changed since the conflict. In this intervention, she pointed out that women could not make decisions about issues such as clothing, travel or work, that domestic violence was found in one out of every three houses, and that all these restrictions were made in the name of protecting them.

Next, the participation of women in social movements and their introduction to politics was put on the table. Bayan explained that after the start of the conflict, women took to the streets under the slogan "My voice is a revolution not a shame" to fight against gender discrimination and the will to silence them in public spaces. This revolution, however, also unleashed a reaction of disproportionate sexual violence that affected all the parties involved.

Angham then intervened to talk about his research, in which she exposed the three types of violence that can be identified in the Syrian conflict: direct violence, structural violence and cultural violence. In addition, she also explained the relationship between feminism and environmentalism and the importance of using positive experiences to rebuild the country.

Regarding the types of violence, Bayan explored with more depth the type of violence that women face both in Syria and in neighbouring countries or in exile. Among them is sexual violence by soldiers, disappearances or imprisonment,  forced marriage or sexual exploitation in countries like Lebanon. And she also pointed out that before the dictatorship, women had more civil rights and freedom.

The talk concluded with Angham Daiyoub, who exposed the environmental degradation facing Sirius and the destruction of forests. She warned of the consequences of losing the biosphere. On a more encouraging note, however, she spoke about the role of women in self-managed Kurdish communities as an example to move forward. And she also gave an example of the case of Khadija, a Syrian woman who empowers other women through the dissemination of knowledge of the medicinal effects of plants.

Finally, a question time was opened in which the attendees put on the table all the doubts or clarifications that had arisen during the talk.