Posts in Topic: insider info

Gupta wins Clinton Global Initiative Citizen Award

Grass roots activist takes the big stage....

Wed, September 23, 2009

Ruchira Gupta, the anti- sex trafficking activist who started Apne Aap, will be awarded a whopper of an award by President Bill Clinton tomorrow.  When we met with her in India for our documentary “Holy Cow" she told us: “What we want to do is actually eradicate sex trafficking and the exploitation inside prostitution...The good news is that the women are willing to fight. Six years ago, when I came into this brothel, they were so timid and they were so scared, they were not willing to even talk to each other. They did not let outsiders in, and today, six years later, you can see the laughter and the joy that they have.”

Everyone from the Clinton Global Initiative to Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn (who featured Ruchira’s work in their new book Half the Sky) seems to be talking about the truth that empowering women and girls is the most important action that can be taken in the world right now.  Let’s hope this tipping point, tips - and our cups runneth over.  Congratulations to Ruchira Gupta and for more about her important work check out

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Iran: an exclusive with the 'real' first lady

A glimpse into the politics and philosophy of a revolutionary....

Fri, June 26, 2009

Since we’ve been calling attention to Zahra Rahnavard, we decided to dig into the Diva archives for this exclusive content.
Rahnavard is married to Hossein Mousavi, the man who most believe truly won the recent Iranian presidential election. She is credited as the architect of her husband’s campaign and for getting out the women’s vote. As you’ll read in the interview, she’s also a sculptor, feminist, author, former presidential advisor and dedicated Muslim. Click on for the full transcript.....

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Reporting back from Syria

Thu, June 25, 2009

Turns out, the soap maker in Aleppo, Syria was a bit of a sage. Just a few weeks ago, as he handed me a delectable serving of shay’eebiyyat, he said, “Obama will come here soon. He is going to reach out.” Today, Obama decided to send an ambassador to Syria, a “sign of the deepening engagement between the Obama administration and the Syrian government,” says the New York Times.

Clearly Syria is a strategic hotspot in the Middle East. The evening news and the marketers of the Axis of Evil (as well as the State Department which has an ongoing travel warning for the country) might have you think Syria is a place lousy with Muslim extremists.

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New revolution in Iran?!

Sat, June 13, 2009

Zahra Rahnavard is galvanizing Iran - before the presidential voting, and now in the election’s tumultuous aftermath. She tells a Tehran audience, “Today we can close our eyes and see ourselves. Never have women had so much self-awareness. Women have always been just under the skin of history. Today, we assert ourselves.”

The LA Times is onto the story, and says of her:  “Some in the Iranian and Western news media have likened Rahnavard to Michelle Obama, but she more closely resembles Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former first lady and New York senator whom many considered a driving force behind her husband’s political career and presidency.”

For more, including video, click here.

To get a copy of our PBS Iran documentary which features Rahvanard, click here.

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Rahnavard, fired up in Iran

"I will not relax until I teach him a lesson."

Tue, June 09, 2009

Zahra Rahnavard, who is married to Iranian presidential hopeful Hossein Mousavi and featured in our documentary “Behind Closed Cha-dors,” is shaking things up in Iran this week. When we met her she was chancellor of al-Zahra university for women in Tehran. In 2006 current president Mr Ahmadinejad’s Government ousted her from the University because she had invited Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian human rights activist and Nobel laureate, to give a lecture. 

This week Rahnavard startled the nation by delivering a 90-minute tour-de-force press conference that that may lead to an (electoral) overthrow of President Ahmadinejad.

Read the Times report for the full story - but here are some highlights. In addition to demanding a public apology from Ahmadinejad (who recently dissed her again), Rahnavard accused Mr Ahmadinejad of “humiliating not just her, but all Iranian women, and of seeking to block their progress and deny them higher education. She said that he had violated his constitutional duty to defend the rights of all Iranians, and brought shame on his office. “I will not relax until I teach him a lesson,” she declared.” (Emphasis mine.)

She went on to promise “that her husband, if elected, would appoint women to Cabinet posts for the first time, and name many female deputy ministers and ambassadors. He would end discrimination and ensure that women were no longer treated as second-class citizens. He would release women’s rights activists from prison and abolish the “morality police” who, during Mr Ahmadinejad’s first term, cracked down on women deemed to be dressed inappropriately. She even suggested that women should not be forced to cover their heads.”

Zahra for Prez!

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