Meedan, or “gathering place” in Arabic, is the name of a social translation and community-building project for English and Arabic speakers. The online network provides a free and interactive translation service to all who register. Registered users can also create profiles and connect with others based on similar interests, and/or location regardless of language differences. Comments, news articles, and blog posts are translated from the user’s native language using an evolving Machine Translation service.
In a country where women have been told their stories do not matter, and have been threatened for telling them, women still muster the courage to write about themselves, even at the risk of severe punishment. The Afghan Women Writers Project is a US based organization dedicated to bringing their stories to light.
In 2010, journalist-actress-writer-director Feo Aladag released When We Leave (Die Fremde in German), an award-winning film that explores the hardships that characterize one young Turkish-German woman’s transition from a suffocating marriage in Istanbul back to a new life in her native Berlin. Despite her intentions of running from her abusive relationship, she endures further physical abuse from her husband, and is unsupported by her family in her decision to run away with her son. When We Leave blends a number of issues into one story–from Germany’s struggles with multiculturalism to the concept of honor in many Turkish families.
Aladag, of Austrian origin and married to a Turkish-German TV producer, spent a considerable amount of time understanding domestic abuse by living in women’s shelters as part of a human rights group’s domestic violence awareness campaign. When We Leave received press coverage from around the world (some thought it was robbed of an Oscar by The Academy) and gained further attention from the lead actress’ controversial past as an adult film star. Debates over the film’s merit will continue, but there is an issue of much greater importance that has received little attention: Does the film really help prevent honor killings, domestic violence, and other abuse among segments of Germany’s Turkish populations? Continue reading