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It’s Complicated!

Alia Turki Al-Rabeo

Let’s discuss today challenges and barriers that prevent me from changing my community. The laws here pose the biggest challenge for female folk, which always hang over our heads!

For example, the nationality law forbids a woman from transferring citizenship to her off-springs, if she ignores ‘handsome’, ‘chauvinist’ Syrian males and opts for a foreigner.The mom’s crime of choosing a non-Syrian partner becomes a sentence for her kids who grow up without rights, whatever form of these exists here anyway. Some organizations have been fruitlessly struggling for such rights over the last many years.

The draft of personal statues law enacted last year had failed to resolve major problematic issue of a girl’s consent and age for marriage.

This year, over 1,200 defiant veiled females have been transferred from teaching assignments to administrative posts while for an uncounted number doors of higher education has been shut.

Every year, at least 100 women die in honor crimes as both society and laws stand against victims. The perpetrator is seen as a hero while the law offer six months of protective custody in a jail.

Walking out of wedlock is a man’s call. He can choose the timing and he does not even have to visit the court too.

Women never run out of personal story of sexual harassment while most male listeners would blame women for provoking such comments from the opposite gender. Families expect their girls to cover themselves well and avoid looking pretty and smart. On the contrary, this social evil has little to do with how a girl dresses up. Females are human beings as much as men are. They need respect instead of being judged as objects of beauty and pleasure.

Owing to such wide scale social insecurity, parents pressurize their daughters to marry early. Husband is seen as a guarantee of her security. This is a mere tip of the ice-berg as many problems are never discussed.

As a journalist, I strive to find solutions and discuss the un-discussed. I try to make my voice heard in many ways but I fail again and again. I lose because I am alone, an individual instead of a group.

Despite fear of the state agents, we need to be more organized to empower half of the Syrian population while trying to train their male counterparts for good social behaviour. In this male-dominated society, women have little knowledge of their rights as much of harassment is acceptable due to sheer ignorance, even amongst the educated ones.

We need to hold hands of other women around the world who can help the less empowered by even sharing their experiences. Besides, women have to be more organized not only to understand their rights well but also to change laws and traditions. Knowledge of rights and sense of community can create hope of better future, a direly needed asset.

I am one of those privileged women who could find her way in World Pulse Web 2.0, a virtual gather of over 500 women listening to each other to improve their conditions. For me, it is more exciting as I get the chance to shed light on struggle of the Syrian women in this limited but useful cyber space.

Let’s accept it that peace for women is only possible when all the female folk around the world enjoys the same rights and freedom.


Sarvina's picture

Hi Alia, Thanks for sharing

Hi Alia,

Thanks for sharing your article! I totally agree with you that Women have to be more organized not only to understand the rights well, moreover, should change laws and traditions. It can show that people have the same right even man or woman. I love your article!!!

With all my loves,


Sarvina from Cambodia
VOF 2011 Correspondent

alia's picture

thanks my dear Sarvina for

thanks my dear Sarvina for loving my article ,i think women should be so strong to face all their problems ,and to wrok as a group as i said in this assignment .

with love

Dear Alia,

I am struck in your article not just by the injustice faced by Syrian women, but by the similarities of the methods used to disempower and marginalise women the world over. These are power structures created by men for men, to exclude women and to punish them for showing strength, freedom of choice and daring to be different. The work you are doing is really important as it shows another side of Syria to those living outside, but also it shows that so many think a similar way to those living inside as well. The thing that keeps women separated and weak is the myth that nothing can change and no one thinks the way you do. It is by making these connections and by being the lone voice that you will give strength to others and will encourage others to come forward as well. The issue of honour killings is horrible wherever it is found in the world.

Some of these issues are so important that the global women's movement needs to address them. The issue of children, land rights is a big one as well that you touch on as well. I have a good friend from Pakistan who is married to a Kenyan and they live in Kenya and have raised three wonderful children. But she will never be Kenyan and will have no rights if her husband wanted to leave her or her him.

Among the Chakma Indigenous Peoples, where I am from, women have no inheritance rights, unless the father is progressive and decides to leave land or wealth to his daughters. This is the same for all the Indigenous Peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. One lucky group the Marma, sometimes get one eighth of their father's wealth or land. The lion's share will always go to the boys. One reason for this I have heard is that the girls might marry outsiders and the land will be lost. The reality is that just as many men marry 'outsiders' as the women. These myths that bind us need to be dispelled. And i would love to see how we can work across boundaries and share experiences on changing these archaic male driven laws.

Keep up the good work.

Best wishes,


alia's picture

Dear Ina you said alot of

Dear Ina

you said alot of great things i cann't say more actually , i agree with you when you said These are power structures created by men for men, to exclude women and to punish them for showing strength, freedom of choice and daring to be different, this is happening all the time at least in my country .

you know today my friend from Pakistan told me that the woman there can gave her nationality to her childern , i was really astonished when he said so , because people have a wrong idea pakistan , they think all of Pakistani are Taliban while they gave the women such a great right , but my country Syria who supposed to be libral deny this right .

i think we need alot of freedom because most of the women are afraid of changing becuse they dont have freedom .

iam so happy with your comment, and let's find a way to cooprate between us , iam so ready to do anything to help women and childern rights around the world .

thanks my great friend

with love

Leina's picture

Hey Ina, I

Hey Ina,
I enjoyed your piece,astonishing sad realities delivered in a tone that makes for enjoyable reading!You inspire sis.HUGS.Leina

alia's picture

thanks Leina , yes Ina is a

thanks Leina , yes Ina is a great woman , iam happy that you said this about her on my page , she is my great friend

thanks so much

with love

Leina's picture

Alia,,this is crazy of

Alia,,this is crazy of me,that was a mistake,I was reacting to your post.You`re right Inna`s great but it`s your write up I was reacting to.sorry for the error.LOVE U

alia's picture

Thanks Leina so much , iam

Thanks Leina so much , iam happy that you found time to read my assignment and comment on it , And if it's mine or Ina's or yours it is the same , the important thing is a woman who said that , our voices should be one voice who speak up instead of all the women around the world in the same way . i hope that you agree with me ?

with love

Leina's picture

I agree with you Alia,thanks

I agree with you Alia,thanks so much for your simplicity.I admire and respect you so much for that.You sound like the kind of person the women of today`s world need Alia.

SAsong's picture

External Walls

Wow - I learned something new...I cannot even imagined denied citizenship because of your father's status. To be rejected by a country that you come to call home. Please continue "discussing the un-discussed" and sharing your world. I am learning alot :-)


alia's picture

Thanks my dear SAsong i have

Thanks my dear SAsong

i have joined world pulse because i know that women around the world still don't hear or probelms .
i would do that for sure and talk about the hidden and known things in our community .

with love

Iffat Gill's picture

such an informative piece!


Thank you for sharing this. I am amazed as I was one of those people who Syria as a relatively liberal as compared to other countries I visited like Libya, Egypt and Tunisia. However, I do not that all these countries are full of courageous women like you, who realize that this is not right. And know that they have to stand up for it.

Hope to read more of your stories!

Iffat Gill

alia's picture

Dear Rose we cannot be more

Dear Rose

we cannot be more courageous than pakistani women ,at least you can give your nationality to your kids in future .iam proud of you sister.

syria is not libral from inside , it still needs alot of time to change from women situation here .

thanks for the comment my freind

with love

abella's picture

It is true!

Hi Alia,

I real like you piece, it cleary shows what women goes through across the globe in the name of cultural practices.I have heard things done to women in the same name that will make you tear untill there will be no more tears left, and one can not stop to wonder , how cruel can the world get to a woman, havent they done enough already?

Thank you for also calling my participation in worldpulse a priviledge, i havent looked at it as such, but this is so true...I am just thinking how many women have the skills and opportunity to participate in such dialogues and involvements?!..this is truly a priviledge.

Keep shining and keep writing, I believe there is power in everything we do even at time you find yourself to be the only one doing so, there is no giving up.


I am because we are :-)

alia's picture

My dear friend

My dear friend Abella

actually it is a big chance for all of us to join world pulse , all of us were eager to such place to talk with other women and hear thier stories around the world .

you know we stilll have to fight alot for women rights , alot of women around the world want us to hear them and write about them , and we can make change ,iam sure of that

thanks my friend for the comment , i love when you and other great women here empower me and comment on my stories .

with love

Rachael Maddock-Hughes's picture

Dear Alia, I really enjoyed

Dear Alia,

I really enjoyed reading your post. It has a great combination of fact and personal experience. I had no idea of the situation in Syria, which is just the reason why we created this platform! Can you tell me a little about what is currently being done by organizations to address the issues you speak about above?

Kind regards,


"In every human heart there are a few passions that last a lifetime. They're with us from the moment we're born, and nothing can dilute their intensity." Rob Brezny

alia's picture

Dear Rachael iam glad that

Dear Rachael

iam glad that you liked my assignment , thanks so much , this helps me alot , you made my day

i have posted a new assignment about what you asked for , the title is " it's complicated too!"

you can find it here

thanks for your interest

with love

amymorros's picture

Lifting up half the population

We all cannot progress without the full participation of women. Your journal entry educated me on the situation of women in your country. Thank you!


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