Orange Orange: 16-Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

Can we really “orange the world”? Can the world be free from violence that strips humans of their humanity? This was the goal of the “16-Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” campaign, which since 2013 called women, men and children to color the world orange to symbolize a brighter and more positive future free from violence against women. The campaign starts on November 25th and ends on December 10th which marks Human Rights Day.

Despite the fact that the orange color dominates the Palestinian, Arab and international political scene, it has nevertheless been smudged with black since 2002 (when it was associated with the uniform worn by Guantanamo detainees), then 2004 (when it was associated with Al Qaeda Organization), and then 2014 (when it was associated with ISIS). Nevertheless, I will add my efforts to the efforts of other women who fight against violence, oppression, injustice and discrimination. Let’s return orange to its original shade, without any blackness. Let’s turn it back to “orange orange”.

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The international campaign’s message did not reach Hadeel Wajeeh Awwad (16 years), or her cousin Nourhan Awwad (15 years) who lived in Qalandiya refugee camp. They left on November 23rd, 2015 to fight the world’s darkness with a pair of scissors. Martyr Hadeel was executed in the field, and Nourhan suffered serious injuries.

The message also never reached Ashraqat Qatanani (16 years) who lived in Askar refugee camp. She left on November 22nd, 2015 to fight the world’s darkness with the white pages of her notebook, and her white and green-striped school uniform. She was run over by a settler, and shot by Occupation soldiers, and then ambulance cars were prevented from reaching her. She bled until she died and became a martyr.

And “Rahaf Hassan” (2 years) – the baby who was killed along with her pregnant mother (35 years) in Gaza on November 10th, 2015 by a missile that destroyed their home in south east Gaza. She could not fight the world’s darkness except with her little body and her mother’s.

How can we “orange the world” and fight violence that the Occupation army subjects women and girls to on daily basis if we do not end this hateful Occupation first?

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The “16-Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” campaign started in 1991 with 23 women from different parts of the world, who strived to build awareness about the importance of fighting gender-based violence. The campaign started locally, and then expanded to become a major one. Since its launch, over 5,478 organizations, governments and UN agencies from 172 countries have participated in the campaign, in addition to countless numbers of individuals from over 180 countries around the world.

As for November 25th, it was officially designated as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999, and is observed every year as part of other activities and events that aim to combat violence against women. It was chosen to commemorate the political and social struggle against violence led by the Mirabal sisters who were assassinated on that date in 1960 by the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic.

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What does the campaign focus on this year?

This year’s theme is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World: Make Education Safe for All”. “The 16 Days campaign will focus specifically on the relationship between militarism and the right to education in situations of violent conflict, in relative peace, and variety of education settings, while continuing to make the links with militarism, as an encompassing patriarchal system of discrimination and inequality based on our relationships to power.”

In Palestine, the Palestinian NGO Forum to Combat Violence Against Women launched the National Campaign to Combat Violence Against Women for the year 2015 under the theme “End the Occupation…End Violence”, which is in line with the global theme which connects between militarism, the right to education and increase in violence. The Forum called on the Palestinian Authority to fulfill their obligations and commit to international conventions that the Authority signed, most important of which is CIDAW, and endorse laws that are compatible with those conventions, starting with the Penal Code, which has been pushed back for around ten years, as well as the Personal Status Law, and the Family Violence Protection Act.

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Orange is the incandescence of passion

Orange is a blend

Orange is fire of the soul/ the color of apricots

The warmth of winter/ the golden rays of the sun

Regeneration/ beauty/ creativity

Times of butterflies

Love/ joy/ collaboration

The magic of sunset/ the beauty of the universe

Water of life/ secret of life

Orange is woman

Orange is human

 

faihaab@gmail.comA

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