A Strong Man : Watch the new film created by refugee men calling for violence against women to stop

white ribbon
A group of refugee men who fled their homes in countries including Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Syria to seek sanctuary in Scotland have launched an online short film* calling on other men to stop violence against women.

*(for non-English language links see below)

A Strong Man, which echoes the messages of the White Ribbon Scotland campaign, calls on men of all cultures and faiths to take pride in being gentle and to teach their friends, families and communities that violence against women is wrong. Global Minorities Alliance welcomes this inter-community contribution to the ongoing efforts to end violence against women, and supports men and women from all backgrounds who are united in their condemnation of such unacceptable attitudes and behaviour.

The film was made by 67 men from the Maryhill Integration Network’s men’s group who originate form 11 countries, with the support of Glasgow film-makers media co-op.

Firew Desta, a refugee from Ethiopia involved in the making of ‘A Strong Man’, said: “The topic of the film project is a really important one because violence against women is happening in cultures and communities all around the world.

“We wanted to send a strong message that violence against women is wrong no matter what your culture or religion. We must teach our children this; to be respectful and listen to each other. This film gives us a chance to help to change attitudes.”

Rose Filippi, Maryhill Integration Network men’s group co-ordinator added: “All of these men have fled violence or the threat of it to seek safety in Scotland, so this is an issue that resonated with them.”

“The film allowed the men to use their considerable skills, and also to find a way of communicating a powerful message to other men in their communities, in wider Scottish society and beyond. It’s been a powerful and positive process.”

Vilte Vaitkute of media co-op, who developed the film with the group over a period of eight months was impressed by the ideas and creativity the men brought to the project.

“I was blown away by the fact many of the guys have suffered torture and violence themselves in their own countries, and are so sensitive about issues of violence against women in the home,” she said.

The two-minute film, which is available in English, Arabic, Tigrinya and Amharic, reflecting the first languages of men involved, will be distributed by an online social media campaign and available for interested men’s groups, community groups and other organisations.

The film is backed by the White Ribbon Scotland. Callum Hendry, campaign coordinator, said: “It is vital that men are able to raise awareness of the nature and cause of the issue and to challenge the attitudes of those who excuse violence against women or gender inequality.”

Watch this important film here :

Arabic Version: https://youtu.be/J8zJu0paY2E

Tigrinya Version: https://youtu.be/R-eoC2vvhww

English Version: https://youtu.be/mwGEz3YhD6Y

Amharic Version: https://youtu.be/_pXPPIHH_1Q

For more information or images contact Rose Filippi at Maryhill Integration Network on 0141 946 9106 or email rose@maryhillintegration.org.uk

2015: a new hope for peace



So 2014 is coming to an end. What have we learnt this year?

We’ve learnt a number of words – ISIS, Yazidis, Boko Haram, #bringbackourgirls (and most recently #sydneysiege #PeshawarAttack) that fill us with sadness and fear.

We’ve learnt that the world is not always the place of safety that we would like it to be for everyone and anyone, regardless of race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, sexuality, gender or background.

We’ve learnt that there seems to be an unlimited amount of war that can be fought in the name of hatred, an unlimited depth for people to sink to (the last two weeks have proved this to us through the Peshawar school attack), and a seemingly unlimited amount of persecution in the world.

And yet with 2015 comes a new dawn; a new year and a new start, with new things to learn. Because although the world in 2014 has seemed so cruel, the goodness of people still shines through.

For example, to combat Islamophobia in the wake of the Sydney cafe siege, the hashtag #IllRideWithYou showed solidarity with Australian Muslims in the hope that they would feel safe and not fear retribution for the actions of one man.

To show the Taliban that they cannot halt the march of female empowerment, Malala Yousafzai continued calling for worldwide access to education, culminating in her co-winning the Nobel Peace Prize this year.

And, finally, in GMA’s native Scotland, equal marriage became legal on 16 December 2014, meaning a gay person now has the same right to marry the one they love as a heterosexual person does. In a world where gay communities are sometimes punished by death, this is a massive step along the path towards global equality.

As these small victories show, there is always goodness to counterbalance the depths of despair. And with this, there is always hope that 2015 will be a more peaceful, a more equal, and a more just year, leading to a better world for us all.

And, to help make sure that happens, Global Minorities Alliance will be there every step of the way to help make sure minority communities have a voice and persecution is challenged, wherever it presents.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Commonwealth Games of homophobia?

Commonwealth Meeting 2013

By Peter Tatchell

When the Queen opens the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow on 23 July it will be a joyous moment for athletes, spectators and a global audience of millions. But for many victims of human rights abuses in Commonwealth member states the celebrations will seem misplaced.

How can the Commonwealth be revered when human rights abuses are so widespread within it: often including detention without trial, torture, the death penalty, media censorship, sexist and ethnic discrimination and restrictions on the rights to protest, strike and freedom of expression?

Some of the most marginalised victims of persecution in the Commonwealth are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) people.

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