‘So Proud of You Mom’ by Shayla Dawn Szabo

Katheren Szabo, Woman of Courage, at Saturday’s celebration

So honoured to have attended the Women who Named the Unnamed tonight, and so proud to hear my mom speak and open the event- such powerful messages and inspiration throughout the entire event.

Shayla Dawn Szabo at ‘Women Who Named the Unnamed’

I can’t put the words together to tell you how amazing it was. I’m in complete agreement with our friend Teresa who spoke to us at the intermission of how this should be an event that should reach schools and be televised and reoccurring to reach, inspire and touch the hearts and minds of the many whom it would definitely impact.


Third and the last Sequence, Celebrate the (here) and Now, Guests and the Hosts

Thank-you Fauzia, and Mariam and all who brought together ‘The Women who Named the Unnamed’, thank you Mom, for you truly are The Woman of Courage and so much more in my heart and in many others’.

Thank you Teresa and Rella for the gift of your company and support for my mom.


Katheren’s voice reaches out as a Woman of Courage

Thank you Mom, you have given your all to lift and love. You make me so proud. You give me hope, community, courage, choice, empowerment, confidence, so much love and so much more, you are a leading example to me and you are the best mom I could ever have asked for. So deeply blessed to journey in life as your daughter… and to stand beside you as I grow and learn through experience. To follow your lead, and to take steps on my own with tools you have taught me and continue to teach. I love you.


Shayla on Centre Stage 

Based on Shayla’s Facebook post published on the evening of September 28

Read Katheren’s story
‘Katheren Szabo: The Heart of Newton’ by Zoë J. Dagneault

View our objectives and goals.

We gratefully acknowledge
that we are on the unceded Coast Salish territories of
the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen,
Qayqayt, Tsawwassen, Musqueam,
Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

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Canada’s Women Heroes : Harsha Walia

Women who Named the Unnamed
Celebrate the (here and) Now

Harsha Walia
author/activist/organizer

Community First, Movement Second:
A Short Bio of Harsha Walia

By Jessica Barratt

…the most important feature of powerful
social movements, is an affirmation of community
.’
– From ‘Young, Brown and Proud:
Personal purpose and political activism’ by Harsha Walia

Connection requires a crossing of boundaries. It requires seeing one thing in another without disturbance of difference: that old mean thing still snipping at the threads we THE PEOPLE weave when we breach the gap between ourselves and another, when we see ourselves as one. And it seems these days that those who are best at connecting were born to difference, too. With wide focus, they can see it for what it truly is and pass through as if there were no boundary at all—grasping at those other strands with ease and bringing the rest of us gratefully along.

Like Harsha Walia, who has taken up the threads of so many; who has brought us many times through the boundary of difference only to reveal that our causes (the things we want and strive for most) are more connected than we could have ever believed. That it doesn’t matter where we cross through, but rather, that we do it together.

Born in Bahrain and now living in Vancouver (unceded Coast Salish, Treaty 8 territories), British Columbia, Harsha bears a legacy of being both a part of a struggle, and an experiencer of it: both fighting for the rights of South Asian, Indigenous, and other marginalized communities, and against the vestiges of Canadian colonialism (and post-colonialism) through continued activism close to home. At the same time, she extends her critical views into controversial action, tackling the closely-related injustices still thriving all across Canada and even bravely addressing the United Nations—among other political bodies across the globe.

As she puts it in a 2013 interview: ‘…the drive for me around activism [is] really both of those things – wanting to be involved for struggles around freedom and liberation wherever they take place, and seeing that as part of a global system, and bearing witness to the impacts of borders and the ways in which they tear apart communities in real and violent ways.

Harsha has in fact been hailed as one of Canada’s most brilliant and effective organizers. In 2001, she co-founded one of Canada’s prolific anti-colonial, anti-racist, and anti-capitalist migrant justice movements, No One Is Illegal (NOII), and in 2003 began assisting with the Skwelkwek’welt Protection Centre toward land protection aims, among other related Indigenous-focused causes. She has further accumulated the interests of minority and marginalized communities through her work supporting Ide No More, the Defenders of the Land Network, and the South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy, forever cultivating her unique knack for drawing people together under a joint banner: equality.

Dually involved with anti-poverty and feminist activism through her work as a project coordinator for the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre – where she facilitates a Power of Women group – Harsha has also actively been involved with several other Downtown Eastside housing justice coalitions, and continues to evoke the passions of those similarly drawn in supporting the struggles of other vulnerable, poverty-stricken groups searching for change.

For over a decade, Harsha has therefore contributed her voice and self to these and other often-neglected causes brought up by NOII—like deportation, incarceration, land claims, violence, privacy and consent, and education. She has been a fundamental force shaping long-standing events like the February 14th Women’s Memorial March, and the Annual Community March Against Racism. In 2010 alone, she not only stood her ground during the No Olympics on Stolen Native land convergence – later that year risking arrest and facing detention herself on behalf of her support during the G8 and G20 protests in Toronto – but again committed to an act of protest that saw her arrested during a national day of action for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

Harsha has of course received several accolades for her work – she is for instance a recipient of the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives Power of Youth Award and Westender’s Best of the City awards in Activism and Change-Making – but this hasn’t stoppered her motivation for pursuing still-needed change. Today, she continues to be an active board member with Shit Harper Did, and is a youth mentor for Check Your Head, where she passes on incredible insights on how to be a change-maker, and how to make sure one’s voice is heard in harmony with the cries of others.

While her preference for opening up conversations surrounding migrant solidarity and gender violence do take precedent through much of her activist work, Harsha has become more comfortable exploring her own perspectives as both a woman of colour and a successful organizer of large movements through writing. Credited with over 30 publications ranging in subject, Harsha has time and again highlighted the collective anti-imperialist struggles of minority peoples all across Canada.

It is perhaps her first full-length publication though – Undoing Border Imperialism – which best captures Harsha’s uniquely precise outlook on connection and movement-building.

Connected to this piece around undoing border imperialism is, as movements, how do we undo the bordered logic within our own movements,’ says Harsha of the work. ‘That really ended up being the inspiration for writing this book – hoping that it was in the service of something more collective.

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Jessica Barratt is a literary enthusiast, feminist, and creative writer. The proud owner of JB Editing, and manager of online blog wordsofhers.com, Barratt continues to captivate readers with fearsome short stories as she works toward the completion of her inaugural novel, Domingo.
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Women Who Named the Unnamed
Pakistan’s & Local Women Heroes

Saturday, September 28, 2019
6 – 9 PM
Centre Stage
Surrey City Hall
13450 – 104 Avenue
Surrey, BC, Canada V3T 1V8
Phone: 604-591-4011

Buy your ticket online at this link:
tickets.surrey.ca
Tickets $25
Box Office : 604-501-5566

More information
Women-who-named-the-unnamed
In-gratitude-we-celebrate-our-women-heroes
View our objectives and goals.

We gratefully acknowledge
that we are on the unceded Coast Salish territories of
the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen,
Qayqayt, Tsawwassen, Musqueam,
Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

..

Pakistan’s Women Heroes : Mukhtar Mai

Women who Named the Unnamed
Honor/Cherish the Continuity

Mukhtar Mai
leader/survivor/organizer

Reclaiming the Narrative
By Aamna Rashid

Today, we must remember and remind ourselves to be like her ~ fearless.’

There is power in speaking up against injustice, there is courage that comes through in standing up against an oppressive system. There is an indomitable resilience and the will to fight that carries forward such a struggle. It is all this and more that we see within the figure of Mukhtar Mai. In the backdrop of a country where honour is rooted in the woman’s body, where women are bartered as objects to settle disputes, where allegations of rape are swept away to protect the perpetrator and where vendetta rapes and honour killings are rampant, her story becomes an exceptionally powerful force.

She was born in the village of Meerwala, Muzaffargarh district, in the South Western region of the Punjab. Her family is from the Gujjar tribe, a ‘lower’ caste in the tribal system of her village, a place, which like most rural areas in Pakistan, follows a strictly demarcated hierarchal caste system. The politics of this system determines the everyday reality and customs of people upholding structural biases as it attempts to hold its power in place, the same politics that uses gendered violence against those who threaten it. It was under this that her story came to light when news of her attack ordered by this system, and her decision to fight it, were brought to public attention.

Mukhtar Mai was gang raped on 22 June, 2002, on the orders of the Panchayat or Jirga- the local village council. The decision was made to allow the members of the Mastoi tribe to ‘avenge’ the damage to their ‘honour’ caused by a supposed offence enacted by Mukhtar’s brother – an offence that proved to be false. They claimed he had an affair with a woman from their tribe who was of a higher caste, something which was not allowed by the stringent caste system as it would threaten its foundations, and so they took the case to the local village council. Keeping in mind both the position of the village tribunal as being outside the country’s judicial laws, and the prevalent customs where the female body was seen as a site to be conquered and violated to enact revenge, the verdict given to Mukhtar Mai protected both as she was ordered to go to the Mastois for punishment.

According to the dictates of the ‘tradition’, she had only two options – to live life in shame and never speak of it, or to commit suicide – but she refused to be silenced, instead she held back and forged a third one. She and her family reported the case to the police and went to pick up their son from jail only to find that he had committed no crime. The story reached national news when a sermon of the Imam of the local mosque critiquing the public gang rape was picked up by a journalist. Encouraged by the support she was receiving on a national level, she petitioned to have a case filed against her perpetrators, levying an attack against the same tradition that had resulted in the violence against her.

The cult of shame and silences that is forced upon a woman in Pakistan if they are raped or assaulted, was thrust off by Mukhtar Mai’s actions as she stood facing the village elders on one level and the entire hegemonic patriarchal force on another, fighting simultaneously on the social, legal and political battlegrounds. Each level tried to silence her. The court attempted to brush away her case by acquitting her attackers in 2005 and granting them complete exoneration in 2011. In addition to the troubles at court, she and her family received countless threats for following through with the case and she was even put on the Exit Control list by General Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorial regime to prevent her story from spreading to international level ‘tarnishing’ Pakistan’s image. But despite these attempts, she continued to press forward with unwavering determination, continuing her fight and remaining outspoken about the injustices in a system built to hinder retribution for women.

She became the first woman in Pakistan to put a tribunal justice system on trial and to advocate to have her rapists sentenced to death. This brought the news to the international media and garnered her support across the board, ensuring the government took notice of the case. The intricacies of power, caste and sexual politics all came to a head with her story, where through prosecuting her rapists, she levied a blow to all three when finally in 2019, 17 years after the event, the case was finally ruled in her favour.

Following the aftermath of the rape and the legal proceedings, she became an advocate for women’s rights and sought to improve conditions within the village. She used the money she had received through the settlement of the case to construct two schools for girls within her village setting up the Mukhtar Mai Girls Model School and established a crisis centre in her own home for women subjected to violence to provide them with shelter and legal counselling. She also set up the Mukhtar Mai Women’s Welfare Organisation to help support and educate women and girls. She was invited to numerous talks, both at a national and international level and became an important figure in raising awareness of the rights of women and in attempting to change the tribunal system borne through caste and gendered hierarchies.

She was accredited with the title of Woman of the Year by Glamour magazine in 2005, and she received Fatima Jinnah gold medal for bravery and courage in the same year. In 2006, her autobiography In The Name of Hon-our – A Memoir was released and reached number 3 in the best seller list in France. Her story was featured internationally in both the news, the media and the arts. It became the subject of a book Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, an opera Thumbprint, and a documentary Shame by Muhammad Naqvi.

Her continued presence and involvement in public and political events acts as a rebuttal against the stigma of rape and against the traditional mandate of hiding women away in the confines of the private sphere. It lays down a new precedent that breaks away from the many pronged patriarchal beast, putting a crack in its edifice, paving the path for more and more women to speak out and be heard.

We see in Mukhtar Mai’s story signs of struggle and resilience, of perseverance and retribution, of a reclaiming of narrative. We see through her story a subversion and attack against the oppressive norms of the society. But more than anything, we see through her story an alternate path to that of shame and silence laid out for women – we see the path of resistance.

And that is why we must speak of her, to highlight her power in breaking the silence, in breaking the bonds that shackle despite continued attempts to silence her. We seek to recognise and appreciate her strides for women and to hope through it all for a future where attacks against women would not go unpunished, a future where rather than elicit cries of shame, there would be cries of outrage against the injustice, a future where women will no longer be considered objects of men and a future where the judicial system isn’t borne of selective justice that benefits only the perpetrators.

Today, we must remember and remind ourselves to be like her ~ fearless.

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Aamna Rashid recently finished her BA Honours in Literature from the Lahore University of Management Sciences with a focus on feminist politics, questions of identity and resistance. She pursues photography and art in her free time and has a keen interest in art history and film.
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Women Who Named the Unnamed
Pakistan’s & Local Women Heroes

Saturday, September 28, 2019
6 – 9 PM
Centre Stage
Surrey City Hall
13450 – 104 Avenue
Surrey, BC, Canada V3T 1V8
Phone: 604-591-4011

Buy your ticket online at this link:
tickets.surrey.ca
Tickets $25
Box Office : 604-501-5566

More information
Women-who-named-the-unnamed
In-gratitude-we-celebrate-our-women-heroes
View our objectives and goals.

We gratefully acknowledge
that we are on the unceded Coast Salish territories of
the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen,
Qayqayt, Tsawwassen, Musqueam,
Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

..

Meet the Women hosting Women Heroes on September 28-2019

Meet this group of bright and talented women who have come together to bring us the stage show ‘Women Who named the Unnamed: Pakistan’s & Local Women Heroes’: Sana Janjua, Hafsah Umar Durrani, Sameena Siddiqui, Hina Imam and Mariam Zohra D. View the Program here.

Sana is a poet, playwright and performer who works as a psych nurse and pursues her higher education goals, Hafsah is a homemaker, a Scouts Leader who is interested in performance and martial arts. Sameena is a Muslim from India pursuing her PhD in India’s art history, and she’s a compulsive reader, researcher and writer. Hina is a journalist born in Pakistan, raised in Saudi Arabia and living and studying in Canada as a student of journalism at UBC. Mariam is a vocalist and a multi-disciplinary artist combining music, video, drama, painting and poetry. View more about our amazing hosts: creative-content/hosts

Women Who Named the Unnamed
Pakistan’s & Local Women Heroes

Saturday, September 28, 2019
6 – 9 PM
Centre Stage
Surrey City Hall
13450 – 104 Avenue
Surrey, BC, Canada V3T 1V8
Phone: 604-591-4011

Buy your ticket online at this link:
tickets.surrey.ca
Tickets $25
Box Office : 604-501-5566

More information
Women-who-named-the-unnamed
In-gratitude-we-celebrate-our-women-heroes
View our objectives and goals.

We gratefully acknowledge
that we are on the unceded Coast Salish territories of
the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen,
Qayqayt, Tsawwassen, Musqueam,
Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations.

..

Buy Your Ticket for ‘Women Who Named the Unnamed – Pakistani & Local Women Heroes’


We are happy to announce that the Box Office at the Surrey City Hall is now open for this celebration of women. Your participation will allow us to express our gratitude to Sabeen Mahmud (1975-2015), Fahmida Riaz (1946-2018), Asma Jahangir (1952-2018), Madeeha Gauhar (1956-2018), Sarah Suhail, Sheema Kermani, Kishwar Naheed, Hina Jilani, Huma Safdar, Mukhtar Mai from Pakistan, and, Sunera Thobani, Surjeet Kalsey, Harsha Walia, Darshan Mann, Deanna Reder, and Katheren Szabo, a Surrey Woman of Courage.

Buy your ticket online at this link:
tickets.surrey.ca
Tickets $25
Box Office : 604-501-5566

Women Who Named the Unnamed
Pakistani & Local Women Heroes

Saturday, September 28, 2019
6 – 9 PM
Centre Stage
Surrey City Hall
13450 – 104 Avenue
Surrey, BC, Canada V3T 1V8
Phone: 604-591-4011

More information
Women-who-named-the-unnamed
In-gratitude-we-celebrate-our-women-heroes
View our objectives and goals

Project funded by
City of Surrey Cultural Grants, Hari Sharma Foundation, Dhahan Prize for Punjabi Literature, Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia (UBC), South Asian Studies Institute, University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), Centre for India and South Asia Research, University of British Columbia (UBC), Fraser Valley Peace Council (FVPC), Department of Language and Cultures, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU)

Presented by
Surrey Muse Arts Society (SMAS), South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC)

More information
pakistanswomenheroes.wordpress.com
pakistanswomenheroes@gmail.com

LIKE our Facebook page
facebook.com/pakistanswomenheroes
Follow on Twitter
@heroes_pakistan

We gratefully acknowledge
that we are on the unceded Coast Salish territories of
the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen,
Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations.

..

‘Women Who Named the Unnamed : Pakistani & Local Women Heroes’ – Saturday 28 Sept 2019 – Centre Stage – Surrey City Hall


You are warmly invited to participate in a delightful experience of coming to know in one evening 15 wonderful women of our time. Presented by five Hosts, this three-hour stage show uses short videos and props to communicate the ‘feel’ of women’s work and contributions to our cultures and societies. From Pakistan, Sabeen Mahmud (1975-2015), Fahmida Riaz (1946-2018), Asma Jahangir (1952-2018), Madeeha Gauhar (1956-2018), Sarah Suhail, Sheema Kermani, Kishwar Naheed, Hina Jilani, Huma Safdar, Mukhtar Mai, and, we will also be honored by the presence of the following distinguished guests:

Sunera Thobani
Scholar/activist/author, Vancouver CA
Surjeet Kalsey
Poet/author/translator, Burnaby CA
Harsha Walia
Author/activist/organizer, Vancouver CA
Darshan Mann
Theatre actor/activist/organizer, Surrey CA
Deanna Reder
Scholar/author/historian, Vancouver CA

Women Who Named the Unnamed
Pakistani & Local Women Heroes

Saturday, September 28, 2019
6 – 9 PM
Centre Stage
Surrey City Hall
13450 – 104 Avenue
Surrey, BC, Canada V3T 1V8
Phone: 604-591-4011

Tickets $25
Box Office : 604-501-5566

Project funded by
City of Surrey, Cultural Grants, Hari Sharma Foundation, Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia (UBC), South Asian Studies Institute, University of the Fraser Valley (UFV), Centre for India and South Asia Research, University of British Columbia (UBC), Fraser Valley Peace Council (FVPC), Department of Language and Cultures, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU)

Presented by
Surrey Muse Arts Society (SMAS), South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy (SANSAD), Committee of Progressive Pakistani Canadians (CPPC)

More information
pakistanswomenheroes.wordpress.com
pakistanswomenheroes@gmail.com

LIKE our Facebook page
facebook.com/pakistanswomenheroes
Follow on Twitter
@heroes_pakistan

We gratefully acknowledge
that we are on the unceded Coast Salish territories of
the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen,
Qayqayt and Tsawwassen First Nations.

..