There appears to be an orientalist disposition by Western society towards progressive movements in the Middle East. . . There is the assumption that aims for democracy in the Middle East by Middle Easterners, and even more so by Middle Eastern women  are overly ambitious. I’ve heard  this remark quite a few times. These are views which we need to actively dismantle  within progressive movements themselves in order to  increase the visibility of women from different backgrounds in a unified fight.

Presentation to Los Angeles Left Coast Panel on New Directions for Socialist Feminist Resistance

Before beginning, I would like to express my gratitude to the organizers of this panel, my fellow colleagues and the people in attendance.

During the next 10 minutes, I aim to present a macro and micro depiction of women’s struggle in the Middle East with an emphasis on the Syrian revolution.

The points I will focus on, are the following:
1- The state of women and the working class before the revolution.

2- The struggles that led to its destruction

3- The initiatives taken by women activists to combat authoritarian and extremist dogma. I will name a few Syrian women activists as well.

4-Finally, I will share the struggles and forms of resistance we have in common and what we can do to achieve a form of international solidarity.

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Growing up, I was been afforded to live in 3 different countries in the Middle East but mostly Syria. Each experience offered a glimpse of how women are represented, their appraised value in a community as well as the similar and varying struggles they face under patriarchal and capitalist policies.

To start off, I will suggest that the construction of the women’s identity is directly made in relation to the man. By that I mean she is not recognized as an independent entity but serves to play a subservient role in society. Because of that rights such as reproductive rights, equal opportunity, protection and rape laws, divorce laws are often neglected. The woman is through and through coerced in to submission.

Coerced into submission is how I would describe the state of the working class, of people and women before the revolution in Syria. A monopoly on resource and power accompanied with nepotism, corruption and mandated violence perpetuated a dogmatic rule over