Sis­ter­hood of women

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

about for years.

To me this sis­ter­hood does not just stand for its mem­bers boost­ing one an­other pro­fes­sion­ally in a mad race with their male co-pro­fes­sion­als. It sig­ni­fies the sup­port women pro­vide one an­other on a hu­man plane which is of­ten miss­ing among men. Women are not ashamed to be hu­man first.

That is what I learnt when two toprank­ing fe­male jour­nal­ists in the US, Judi Woodruff and Maria Shriver, who in­tro­duced me at the IWMF award cer­e­monies in New York and Los Angeles, demon­strated first their hu­man di­men­sion rather than their jour­nal­is­tic ac­u­men. When I walked up to the ros­trum to be hugged by my pre- senter and to give my ac­cep­tance speech, I found my­self in a dilemma. There I was hold­ing my white cane awk­wardly and not know­ing where to de­posit it. On both the oc­ca­sions each of these women promptly ex­tended her hand to re­lieve me of the cane!

Ear­lier throughout our stay the women’s per­spec­tive I have writ­ten about all my life was al­ways vis­i­ble. In our group was As­maa al-Ghoul, the Courage in Jour­nal­ism Award win­ner from Gaza, who had a three-month-old baby, Zeina. She came with her daugh­ter — and her hus­band, Tamer, who ac­com­pa­nied her to help with the baby.

All of us were tak­ing care of one an­other and Zeina be­came the cen­tre of at­ten­tion. This was ac­cepted as some­thing quite nat­u­ral as this sup­port helped us func­tion quite nor­mally and cheer­fully.

But at the heart of it all was se­ri­ous jour­nal­ism. Here were women do­ing a se­ri­ous job. Khadija Is­may­ilova, a re­porter for Ra­dio Free Europe, has re­ported on the cor­rup­tion of the top lead­ers of Azer­bai­jan and re­ceived threats to si­lence her while a smear cam­paign was un­leashed against her by the pow­ers-that-be in her coun­try to de­ter her from ex­pos­ing the mal­prac­tices of the rulers. As­maa protested through her blogs against the re­stric­tive prac­tices of the Ha­mas in Gaza but threats and ar­rest did not si­lence her be­cause she in­sisted that the Ha­mas was not cre­at­ing the home­land she and oth­ers had strug­gled for.

The Ethiopian jour­nal­ist, Reeyot Alemu, the third win­ner of the 2012 courage award, could not at­tend the award cer­e­monies. She con­tin­ues to lan­guish in prison as the Ethiopian strong­man could not tol­er­ate her out­spo­ken re­port­ing. Pak­istan had its win­ner for courage in jour­nal­ism way back in 1994. She was the late Razia Bhatti, the ed­i­tor of Newsline, who was put un­der so much pres­sure by the ad­min­is­tra­tion for her news mag­a­zine’s bold re­port­ing that she could stand it no more and died

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