عربي

Nobel laureate salutes Youth of Arab Spring in its new version at Munich gender equality conference

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights activist Tawakkol Karman has paid tribute to the youth of the Arab Spring in its second version in Iraq, Lebanon and Algeria, describing “the world’s silence and ignorance” over oppression and abuses against peaceful protests as shameful and painful.

Her remarks were at a conference on gender equality held in Munich by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. 

Tawakkol Karman said that the youth of the second Arab Spring version in Iraq, Lebanon and Algeria are engaged in a legendary struggle for equality and a free and dignified life, criticizing “the world’s shameful and painful silence” over barbaric abuses against peaceful demonstrations there.

“All attempts to bring our Arab societies to their knees by the means of all-out wars have been thwarted in 2019; after eight years of open warfare, during which strongholds of counter-revolutions in Riyadh and Tehran backed by their major international allies have spared no effort or means of tricks to wipe out peaceful revolutions,” she said.

“Hundreds of thousands of men and women in Beirut and Baghdad are writing our future with their peacefulness, determination and belief in the human right to a decent life at home and to reject sectarianism, corruption, discrimination and tyranny.”

She continued to say: “In the second wave of the Arab Spring 2019, our peoples are repeating what they chanted for during the first wave in 2011.”

Mrs. Karman noted that the feminist movement for equality is facing a legacy of a culture of ignorance, puritanism and extremism that the medieval kingdom of Saudi Arabia has contributed to spread over the past decades for political reasons and in order to prevent transformations and awareness about rights, freedoms and change in general in those parts of the world where wealth has become a curse for its peoples. 

“A culture of puritanism, contempt for women and justification for total exclusion and oppression of women has been fueled since the end of the 1970s, by the rise of the revolution of Khomeini and mullahs and their extremist doctrines in Iran,” the Nobel laureate said, adding that this culture was also fostered by Saudi Arabia, which for decades worked to spread religious extremism and extremist ideas in Arab societies in conjunction with the Afghan-Soviet war. Saudi Arabia and Iran are two sides of the same coin. 

The second Arab Spring wave, Karman continued, is shining in our sky, announcing that history is not going backwards, stressing that freedom in the Arab Spring countries has rekindled, and women and their issues, emancipation and role are at the heart of these great peaceful revolutions.