Written by: Jouman Quneis
Poet Ibrahim Touqan took his sister, Fadwa Touqan, under his wing and embraced her literary talent despite his conservative family's decision to forbid her from continuing her education. Without this, Arabic literature would have been deprived of one of the brightest names in twentieth-century female poets. We would have lost one of the most significant literature productions that expressed the forms of oppression resulting from the occupation.
How many talented women have been born but have not found anyone to open the cages for them to spread their wings and fly?
Before and after Fadwa and Ibrahim, the experience of men supporting women in exercising their rights is repeated. As is the opposite experience of depriving them of many rights. These rights are still often subject to the presence of the "brave man" who assists the woman and protects her demands for any right.
It is painful that we are in the age of the artificial intelligence revolution, where scientists and engineers in advanced technological countries are producing humanoid robots. They are capable of developing intelligence that mimic that of humans. Meanwhile, we still need to work on increasing women's contribution to the labour market because it is extremely low. We also need to find ways to increase their representation in decision-making positions because it is still symbolic. We must encourage them to reject violence, harassment and low wages because the numbers of killed and abused women are still high.
We are approaching the last quarter of a century since the occupation of Palestine with all the years of oppression and injustice that was brought. It is supposed that we, men and women, have become more sensitive and resistant to the deprivation of rights because we have tasted its bitterness.
Perhaps it is now the time to make medicine for the biggest illness. That is, liberation from occupation is the biggest motivator for the just treatment of the rights of everyone on this earth; especially women.
Achievements have been made at the governmental level in terms of allocating many bodies to protect women from murder and violence and increase their participation in work and political life.
Feminist human rights organisations in Palestine have also succeeded in making leaps through empowering and educating women about violence in all its forms and types. Additionally, work is being done to combat it and seek justice for women.
In the meantime, universities and colleges are witnessing an increase in female enrollment rates.
All of these are positive indicators. However, the official figures still point to the need for significant efforts on all the mentioned fronts.
Although achieving all of this is primarily dependent on women's awareness of their rights and their deep belief in their right to choose their own life paths, there is courage to demand this. The presence of a "brave man" who believes in this is also of great importance. This is because women contribute to shaping such a man in one way or another. This is about proper upbringing, which is manifested in equality when dealing with children of both genders and giving them equal opportunities in education. These are the women who do not repeat the saying that "a woman is a woman's enemy." The hostility is always based on unfair competition regardless of the gender of the involved parties.
These are the women who do not resort to demonising women based on the belief that they are the cause of the eternal sin of descending from paradise and that they are the "supernatural being" that separates families and causes all the sins of men.
These are the women who do not understand evaluating mistakes with two measures. The first is a strict one for women's mistakes and the second is a lenient one for men's mistakes.
Above all, there is a need for a "brave woman" who works to change her reality wherever she is. She must also raise and teach a "brave human", whether that human is a man or a woman, to believe in taking a step to do justice to another person. This must be done even if the step is contrary to what is customary in society, just as Ibrahim Touqan did with his sister Fadwa.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's views and not necessarily the Association's or donor's opinion.