Saturday, July 30, 2011
Racial discrimination in Yemen; Stories from Akhdam Women
I was saddened to watch this short documentary, made in 2010 about discrimination against Yemeni women who are a social group in Yemen, distinct from the majority by their darker skin and African descent. Even though a great focus is currently given to Yemen's uprising which is very important, it's also important to keep shedding lights on such topics like racial discrimination in Yemen.
The video chronicles the lives and injustices against the Akhdam women in Yemen. The 'Akhdam' , singular Khadem, meaning "servant" in Arabic, are a social group in Yemen, distinct from the majority by their darker skin and African descent. Although they are Arabic-speaking and practicing Muslims, they are regarded as non-Arabs and designated as a low caste group, frequently discriminated against and confined to unskilled and menial labor. In a society already riddled with patriarchy and poverty, the distain and discrimination against the Akhdam renders Akhdam women easy targets of violence and abuse. Akhdam women are subject to hate-based attacks and sexual assaults without any type of legal or social recourse.
This video features the stories and voices of three women, Haddah, Qobol, and Om Ali. Their stories of violence, injustice and forced poverty uncover the legacy of discrimination the Akhdam live with and the necessity of urgent action against these atrocities.