MENA: Who talks for the region?
I am an AWID participant, and it is my first time to attend the forum. Yesterday, the first day, was a little bit slow but I met many feminist friends of mine so I was really happy, however, I heard from a couple of them some disappointment from the in-depth session on “Women’s Rights and Transitions to Democracy in the MENA region”. I attended the first session of it and I stayed only for the introduction of the panelists, I was disappointed and I left. I found no young feminists on board, no one who is actually taking part on the ground in the region, the panelists came from a funding organization, AWID, UNFPA and an international women's rights organization. But where are the feminists on the ground?
Comments that I got about the session: boring, nothing on Palestine, and other disappointments that lead many feminists from different age range and coming from different countries to leave the session. This issue brings up the question of who talks for the region? Ever since the wave of resistance / struggle / revolutions / uprising happened more than a year ago and people have been trying to understand how this movements started and how to react to it, and one thing that is being constantly said is: listen to the people on the ground.
AWID Forum should be the space for feminists on the ground to speak out about their challenges and their struggle. This is the space that is supposed to provide support for feminists on the ground, not space for funding institutions and international organizations to talk about their coordination of the work of their partners on the ground, and their vision. The discussion lacks local vision.
Let's take back our space.