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Connection Point

Women and men express their viewpoints and share their perspectives in a weekly column. These columns form the groundwork for a discourse across cultural and religious boundaries.

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[23 Aug 2012 | 2 Comments | ]
Revisiting the Western Harem and the Pursuit of Beauty

Yasmina Mrabet
Washington, D.C. USA
“Here I am, in a precarious condition. I struggle to maintain the standard of ‘beauty’ society demands and my authentic presence is inhibited. A focus on the external renders my internal being invisible. “
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“Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.” – John Berger
In Scheherazade Goes West: Different Cultures, Different Harems, Fatema Mernissi describes the reactions of Westerners upon learning that she was born in a ‘harem.’ Westerners described and thought of this word as some kind of “…voluptuous wonderland drenched with heavy sex …

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[16 Aug 2012 | 3 Comments | ]
Nablus Women Organize to Challenge Gender Divides

“The way most of the world’s women are raised is to think they are not equals to men and therefore unable to make any of the changes they would like to incorporate into their lives. They did not grow up with encouragement to seize their goals, let alone were they told that they are deserving of achieving them. It is instilled in them that they are second-class citizens.” 
–Suhad Jabi Masri, Psychosocial Program Manager at Tomorrow’s Youth Organization
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In Palestine, as in much of the developing world, women are still more likely …

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[31 Jul 2012 | One Comment | ]
Breaking Barriers: Humanitarian Aid to Palestine and Cuba

By Yifat Susskind
New York, New York USA

“They are among the most marginalized people, suffering at the hands of governments playing political games with their lives. In my travels to Cuba and Palestine, I have seen this firsthand.”
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“Blockade” and “embargo” are just words, bureaucratic jargon. But they represent very real policies being enacted and supported by the US that are devastating the lives of women, children, and families in Palestine and Cuba.
The suffering caused by these blockades and embargoes is often invisible to many—but not to me, nor to any of …

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[26 Jul 2012 | One Comment | ]
Mexican-Lebanese Ramadan Food

Eren, Muslimah Media Watch
Mexico City, Mexico
Growing up in Mexico City, one of my first interactions with Arabs and Muslims was through the Lebanese community in Mexico. Although Mexico is a largely multicultural country and its cuisine has been recognized as a mix of different cultures, the dominant identity discourse these days is the mix between Indigenous peoples and the Spanish colonizers (mestizaje).
The term mestizaje has constantly been challenged for a number of reasons, including the fact that it selectively highlights some identities (i.e. Aztec and Spanish) over others. In addition, …