Interview by Sehrish Hussain
I am a human rights activist and the author of the book “Murder in the name of honour” that was released in 2009. I am also a senior reporter for The Jordan Times. I also do consultancy work and training on reporting on gender based violence.
Can you tell us something about your work as a human rights activist(honour crimes)?
I have been an activist on the issue of so-called honour murders for the past twenty years. I have been also lecturing on the issue for the same period inside and outside Jordan to raise awareness on the topic and to push governments to adopt better measures and laws that would protect women and preserve the rights of victims of such murders. As a result of the work, I have earned several local and international human rights awards and recognition. My activism also helped me tremendously in compiling much of the information that was used in my book.
Do you always want to become a human rights activist/author?
I never planned it to tell you the truth. Coincidence and circumstances played a major role in me becoming an activist. And once I became an activist I realized that there was a big responsibility ahead and I focused on that part as well.
What do you like the most about your work?
I like the fact that I am able to raise awareness about this issue through personal initiative and at the same time through the work at the Jordan times. It gives a great meaning for me to know that I am making this topic more visible and helping others.
Any dislikes about your work?
Not really. I love my work in general because there is also no routine in it and there is always something new to report and look for.
Can you tell us about your working day(how does it look like)?
Working day varies depending on what is happening. I might cover a crime, a conference, do an interview or go to an event. In certain times, I might be training students or working on a paper.
What should girls do when they are threatened in the name of honour? Because the ‘honour’ is a very sensitive topic and brothers/fathers are very protective on their daughters/sisters.
I think women under threat should resort to women organizations for proper legal and social guidance. We have very good women organizations that have trained staff who can deal with such situations.
Is there a difference between honour killings in the Middle East and Europe?
I do not think there is a difference in killing women regardless of the motive.
Do you think it’s difficult for women during these days when we compare it to 100 years a go? Because in some cultures everywhere a man doesn’t want to marry a woman who had a boyfriend before. And then men married widows or a divorced woman but now I heard that’s very difficult for widowers and divorced woman, especially when they have children. We life in the 20th Century but still some men have a very conservative view about life especially about the honour of women
I think that things are changing on this issue and there are many women who divorce and marry again. It is no longer a conflict but there are still some men who would not want to marry a divorced or widowed woman but this is not the majority.
Your book:”Murder in the Name of Honour” was published in 2009. How did people react on this book?
I got very positive and supportive feedback from people in Jordan and abroad. And the book by the way was translated into Arabic and was popular in Jordan. There were no hostile or negative remarks from anyone who I met and told me that they read my book or on my facebook page. All the comments were positive and supportive.
Are you writing a new book?
No not at this time.
You conducted several training workshops at the Jordanian Media Institute and the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX) for journalists and journalism university students on gender, human rights and violence against women reporting. What was the respond of people on this training workshops?
Again very positive. The proof is that there is always request to do similar training workshops and if the feedback was negative we would not have something like that conducted again. But such activities are ongoing all the time.
You won several awards like the 1995 MEDNEWS prize award for best article: “Murder in the name of honour”, how did you feel when you got this award.
Well I was extremely happy and proud since this was the first award that I won and really did not expect it. I worked hard on it with the support and guidance of my editors at the Jordan times, who still are very supportive, and the efforts paid off and I won this award.
What’s your view about arranged marriages?
I believe arranged marriages are wrong and are not fair to both parties. It is not correct in this day and time to still have arranged marriages. Life is becoming very complicated and people who know each other before marriage are finding it hard to cope with each other so what about people with arranged marriages??
Are you married(children)?
No and no children either.
Your hobbies are?
I like reading, listening to music and taking photos.
For more information please visit her website: http://www.ranahusseini.com
official source: http://www.vbnow.nl