Relevant notes and citations provided to TED by Karima Bennoune.
Karima Bennoune, "Algeria Twenty Years On: Words Do Not Die," Open Democracy, June 24, 2013
1993 was a time when Algerian intellectuals were killed by the armed groups battling the government nearly every Tuesday morning — they came to be known as Black Tuesdays.
Karima Bennoune, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here, W. W. Norton and Company, 2013
"The personal is political" has been a feminist slogan for a long time. But while researching this book, I came to realize that the political is also personal. This was the case in the lives of many I encountered in my research, and this has been the case in my own life as well. And so I made the decision to begin my talk with a very personal story.
As I wrote my book, I was humbled by hearing stories of such intense suffering and loss in the battle waged by people of Muslim heritage against fundamentalism, which is why I struggled with whether to start this talk with my own story. I never wanted to exaggerate or overemphasize it. But the personal narrative does explain why a law professor at a US university would write a book like this. I hope it helps situate me in relation to so contentious a topic.
Though real democracy remains elusive, things are much better now in Algeria than during the 1990s. But in many other countries, the terror continues. The resistance escalates and our support for those on the front lines must increase. You can support some of the great organizations who continue this work, like the Network of Women Living Under Muslim Laws. Or if you are so moved, please share one of the stories of those I met — on Twitter, on Facebook, by email, by word of mouth or by skywriting.
I was recently able to show this video to survivors at the offices of Djazairouna, the Algerian Association of Victims of Islamist Terror. It seemed to mean a lot to them to know that, thanks to the unique TED platform, people around the world may now share some of their sorrow, and maybe even do something about it. Maybe for once their voices will be heard.
Though it is sadly less fashionable to do so now than when the news first broke (even though most of the kidnapped Nigerian pupils remain in captivity), I must say: “Bring back our girls!” They are the Amel Zenounes of today. Part of the point of telling sad stories from the past is to help write happier endings to those of today.