“Women: The Resolute Courage Amid Controversy and Change”

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By Leila Diab

The universal strength and staunch resolute of women from all four corners of the world and beyond have for decades mirrored their will to challenge the many devastating obstacles against all odds of exemption.

Whether it be social, economic or political inequities of life's faltering status quo, women, young and old are the courageous link in the challenges of courage and in the chain of sisterhood voices of monumental change.

The month of March is Women’s History Month and on March 8 was International Women’s Day. It is a time to reconsider the dignity of pride and recognition of the gallant historical contributions women and feminists have made in the world community.

There are women such as Nawal Al Sadawi, an Egyptian doctor, human rights advocate and feminist; Queen Rania of Jordan; Leila Khalid, nationalist and freedom fighter for justice; Benazir Bhutto, a Pakistani leader who became the first Muslim woman elected Prime Minister of Pakistan.

However, Bhutto was assassinated as she ran for another term as president of her nation.

We pay tribute to the many nationalist Palestinian women throughout the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries who have risen up to end the occupation of their homeland and their right to return.

The long list of professional and literary contributions, sacrifices and challenges of the many women who have captured the urgent sense of their rightful belonging in their society continue to stand up for an everlasting prevailing universal justice.

International Women's Day is a commemorate time to recognize and pay tribute to the women in the world who represent the significant symbol of their unrelenting limited or unlimited humane boundaries for truth, peace and of all things possible.

There have been many women from the past and even now in our world who have been denied the opportunity to accomplish their goals in life, such as education, merely because they are women who have been subjected to a restrictive cultural standard, patriarchal rule and often extreme religious environment.

Granted, the list of women from beyond the horizons of India, North Africa and the Middle East are the unheard voices of an enduring will that needs to be heard throughout the world so they can reclaim their lives for justice, freedom and basic human needs.

Needless to say, we have witnessed almost on a daily basis in the social and news media of women who continue to take a stand, because they are living under harsh and brutal circumstances such as an illegal occupation of their homeland, even if it means the loss of their own lives.

It comes to mind that this month of March and International Women’s History Day again the most distinguished figures in modern Arabic literature, Fadwa Touqan, also be remembered. Touqan is a Palestinian woman who was born in Nablus. At the young age of 13, she was forced to quit school due to an illness.

However, her loving brother took the responsibility of educating her and gave her books to read and taught her English. Fadwa Touqan's literary work embodies an inspiring example of what it means to never give up on your dreams and embraces life's will to belong.

Her poems were and still are the message of the Palestinian identity and the challenges for courage, just like so many other global women.

Fadwa Touqan’s poem, The Martyrs of the Intifadah (uprising) captures the significant message of the soul of a nation of women and their children who should be celebrated every day of the year. These women should never have to stand alone in their struggle for a better life:

“They died standing, blazing on the road,

Shining like stars, their lips pressed the lips of life,

They stood up in the face of death,

Then disappeared like the sun.”

Women of the world, I personally celebrate and salute you for your phenomenal courage, accomplishments and sacrifices as you continue to carry the torch for freedom and rise up for truth, equality and security for the next future generation of women and your children.

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