Feminism and 19th century Albanian literature


Sami Frasheri with his wife Emine

From ANI news agency:

Uncovering feminist views in 19th century Albanian”s works

Submitted by Karan Jakhad on Sun, 12/20/2009 – 09:21.

Washington, Dec 20 : An American academic has discovered some radical ideas on women”s equality in the works of a Muslim author penned during 1872 to 1900.

The expert has written an article about his findings that will appear in the January 2010 issue of Middle Eastern Studies, a British academic journal published in London.

Dr. George Gawrych, a professor of history professor at Baylor University, reviewed the works of Albanian novelist and playwright Semseddin Sami Frasheri and found that he saw women as “equal but different.”

This was a revolutionary point of view in the patriarchal society of the time.

Gawrych, who received a Fulbright Senior Researcher Scholar grant for 2008-2009, was in Turkey to study about Ataturk and the War of Independence waged from 1919 to 1923.

While studying about Albanians under Ottoman rule, Gawrych came across Semseddin Sami”s ideas in an 1879 published book titled Women.

Gawrych went on to read Sami’s novel on arranged marriages and reviewed entries about women in his six-volume encyclopaedia on the world.

Talking about Sami”s thought, Gawrych said: “He was a Muslim who in his novel briefly gave an image of a wife having an education and discussing child-rearing with her husband.

“But there are lots of nuances beyond that in his book.”

In his encyclopedia, Sami wrote a three-column entry on George Sands, a female French writer.

Not “George Sands”, but George Sand; pseudonym of Amantine (also “Amandine”) Aurore Lucile Dupin; a socialist.

In Sami”s opinion she was a better writer than most of her male peers, but she wrote using a man”s name because it was easier than being a female writer.

Gawrych said: “He (Semseddin Sami) was expressing some revolutionary ideas through her in the encyclopedia, which censors let get by.”

According to Gawrych, Sami stated unequivocally that women must have equal rights, education and freedom to work like men. He was, however, patriarchal in his view in so far as he considered men should be protectors of the society.

In a society where having multiple wives was permissible, Sami said that a second wife is not good for the marriage and the children, “although he reluctantly accepted the possibility of a second wife if the first could not produce the children and if the first wife gave her permission,” Gawrych said.

Sami married a Turk in 1884. Gawrych pointed out that a posed photo of the pair shows Sami”s convictions.

The snap shows Sami”s wife unveiled and wearing European clothes. She sits next to him with her left hand resting next to his with three books directly behind their elbows.

Gawrych sees the photo as meaning that “their marriage is going to be one of equal minds.”

He added: “He gave his daughters a progressive education through tutors. He was still a patriarch but at the same time pushing the envelope.”

French philosopher says feminism under threat from ‘good motherhood': here.

Harness for wounded swift in Israel


This is a video on swifts in Israel.

This is a Dutch TV video about a wounded swift, nursed with a special harness by veterinarians in Israel.

More about that is here.

Swifts in Leiden, the Netherlands: here.

Swifts in Britain data gathering project results: here.

Like other bird species which migrate between Europe and Africa, Common Swift Apus apus numbers have been falling rapidly. According to the UK Breeding Bird Survey Swifts in Britain declined by 29% between 1995 and 2008: here.

Pregnancy a crime for US female soldiers


This video from the USA says about itself:

The War in Iraq costs $720 Million a day. That’s $500,000 a minute. That’s $8333 a second. Find out more here. And here.

From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

Prison for pregnant troops in Iraq

Posted Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:38am AEDT
Updated Sun Dec 20, 2009 1:36pm AEDT

Becoming pregnant has become a punishable offence for female American soldiers in Iraq and for those who make them pregnant as well.

General Anthony Cucolo, who commands US forces in northern Iraq, says offenders including married couples could attract punishments such as a court martial, or time in prison.

The irony is that DOD’s pregnancy anti-pregnancy policy will probably lead to more abortions: here.

USA: Anti-war activists losing patience with Obama: here.

Britain: Former prime minister Tony Blair was facing further accusations that he led the country into the Iraq war on a lie: here.

A female sailor who was awarded the MBE could be in line for a six-figure payout after winning her case of sex discrimination against the Royal Navy, her solicitor has said: here.

Long-tailed tit and greenfinches


After a night of freezing, today there was still more open water than I expected. Maybe because there is quite some wind as well.

There were lots of snow during the night and much of the day.

In the botanical garden, great tits and blue tits. Also a long-tailed tit.

A robin. A bunch of greenfinches in a coniferous tree.