Individuals of all economic strata are shedding their jobs, hometowns, and lifestyle to embrace a wider experience and a more meaningful existence.
Ramita Navai is a British based journalist, documentary film producer and author. An alumna of City University, London she graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism in 2003. Ramita worked as the Tehran correspondent for The Times from 2003 to 2006. While in Iran she covered the Bam earthquake, parliamentary and presidential elections, political demonstrations, human rights cases and the escalating nuclear crisis. Ramita covered the Kashmir earthquake in Pakistan for IRIN News, a United Nations news service. Ramita has also written for The Sunday Times, The Independent, the Guardian and for Marie Claire Magazine. She reported from Afghanistan in 2005 investigating the status of women for The Sunday Herald, as well as covered the refugee crisis in Iraqi Kurdistan in 2007 for UNHCR. Ramita has also worked for More 4 News for which her feature on child trafficking in India was shortlisted for a One World Media Award. In 2009, Ramita was also shortlisted for the Amnesty International Gaby Rado award for her coverage on human rights. Ramita has reported from 20 different countries, including Sudan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Nigeria, El Salvador, as well as an undercover assignment in Zimbabwe. Prior to working for Unreported World, Ramita was the Tehran correspondent for The Times and has also worked as a journalist for the United Nations in Pakistan, northern Iraq and Iran.
Navai is a graduate of City University London's Department of Journalism, was recognised with an Emmy Award in this year's National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences' News and Documentary Emmy Awards presentation in the United States. The Emmy Awards, considered to be the television equivalent to the Oscars, are presented across 42 categories, including Breaking News, Investigative Reporting, Outstanding Interview and Best Documentary. Ramita, who graduated from the Broadcast Journalism school in 2003, won for her work on the Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) network's 'Syria Undercover'. This film documentary, which was shown in the UK as part of Channel 4's 'Unreported World', featured Ramita and her cameraman Wael Dabbous spending two weeks living in a dangerous undercover safehouse with members of the Syrian opposition movements forces. Ramita, incredibly honoured to win an Emmy for the PBS Frontline Syria Undercover expressed thanks to all the Syrian men and women who risked their lives to help her and Wael Dabbous get the story out and stated - "This Emmy belongs to you."
Recent Documentary films for Unreported World by Ramita Navai:
Undercover Syria - 2011
Breaking Into Israel - 2011
El Salvador: The Child Assassins - 2010
USA: Down and Out - 2010
Zimbabwe's Blood Diamonds - 2010
Egypt: Sex, Mobs and Revolution - 2012
In the film documentary Breaking Into Israel reporter Ramita Navai and director Paul Kittel traveled through the Sinai desert on the trail of thousands of African immigrants seeking a new life in Israel. They revealed how desperate families fleeing conscription, torture and conflict in East Africa risk being shot by border guards and held ransom by people smugglers". In the documentary Zimbabwe's Blood Diamonds - she investigated claims that gems from one of the world's biggest diamond fields were being used by Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party to entrench their hold on power by buying the loyalty of the Zimbabwe military, as well as a backdrop of human rights abuses.
"The frantic call from the lookout comes at 6am: a few hundred members of the security forces and the dreaded shabiha militia, dressed in black, wielding guns and clubs, are marching towards the safe house in which we are hiding. They are raiding homes, looking for defected soldiers, opposition activists and anyone who's been at a protest. That means nearly half the town of Madaya. And we happen to be with three of the most wanted men in Syria.
We are in Madaya to see how the activists are operating and organising protests. We had waited two days in Damascus before we could travel the forty minute drive north-west of the city, as the roads are littered with military check points and road blocks. The activists say cars are being searched, and soldiers have been confiscating laptops, cameras and even mobile phones.
But only a few hours after our arrival, the army storms into Madaya. A convoy of trucks carrying thousands of soldiers, and jeeps packed with plain-clothed security officers with AK47s are paying the townsfolk a visit. We are bundled into a car that screeches its way to a safe house where we are told we will hide until government forces withdraw, and it is safe to get out.
For the next three days, Madaya is besieged, and the director Wael Dabbous and I are trapped with Malik, Mohammad and Abu Jafar - their noms de guerres - in two darkened rooms with the windows clamped shut. Over 72 hours, under a thick cloud of cigarette smoke and never raising their voices above a whisper, the men - all in their twenties - share their lives with us. They are members of one of the biggest underground opposition groups, the Syrian Revolution General Commission, or SRGC, and they have been living as fugitives for five months. During the day, they hide in different safe houses, emerging in the darkness of night, and when they travel, it is only ever with a network of lookouts checking the roads ahead, changing cars as they move.
Malik, a law student, was arrested simply for attending a protest, and imprisoned for six weeks in a tiny cell with over 40 others. He was tortured for hours, and lifting his T-shirt, shows us his back, streaked with the dark scars of electric shocks.
"You could go into prison a pro-Assad supporter, but after what they do to you there, you'll come out hating him more than the protesters do," Malik says...
In another excerpt from an article in the Independent about her time in Papua, New Guinea:
"Nearly all the residents of Koge watched as Julianna Gene and Kopaku Konia were dragged from their homes, to be hung from trees and tortured for several hours with bush knives. No one came forward to help. In the eyes of the villagers, the women were witches. They deserved to die.
"They used their powers to bewitch a man to death," said Kingsley Sinemane, a community leader. "We had to get rid of them, as they could have killed others. We had to protect our village..."
At an Amnesty International event marking international womens day Ramita was asked, along with several other prominent journalists to take part in a special panel discussion on women reporting from the frontline. When asked how they keep themselves sane and happy in the face of some of the horrors they have all witnessed, she stated that detachment is one of the keys to self-preservation in the business. Although Marie Colvin's, of the Sunday Times, method is preferred: 'I go to a lot of bars,' she said in her magnetic drawl...
In a new Unreported World piece filmed in Cairo, reporter Ramita Navai is walking down the street with one of the women she is interviewing and they are called whores by passing Egyptian men on several occasions. Another woman gives her account of how a crowd attacked her during a demonstration at Tahrir Square. These attacks are consistently being perpetrated in public with the women's clothes being torn off by groups of men who believe it is acceptable behaviour. Wearing the niqab affords the victims no protection and the police won't help because they place the blame on the women. In her program Ramita reveals claims that young men are being paid in cash to carry out these sexual assaults on females in the city. The incidence of these vicious attacks are said to have begun when the Mubarak regime was still in power and are continuing to this day. CBS news reporter Lara Logan was in Egypt at the time of the fall of the Mubarak regime when she was savageously sexually assaulted by a crowd of Egyptian men celebrating in Tahrir Square. She believes that they would have killed her if it wasn't for the intervention of a group of Egyption women and eventually Egyptian soldiers. The soldiers carried her away through the crowd, placed her on their tank and drove out of the area with Ms. Logan's clothing completely torn off. It is a brave reporter who goes into the backstreets of Cairo to expose this insane behaviour - especially courageous when the reporter is a non-Egyptian female.
click right above here for
exceptional web hosting
Harassmap is about ending the social acceptability of sexual harassment of women. It is a website where women can report incidents of sexual harassment and where it happened. Legal aid, psychological counseling and other services can be accessed by contacting the New Woman Research Center and the 16 member NGO task force on the website. Volunteers go in pairs to neighborhoods with high incidences of harassment and talk to shop owners and others to explain the problem and ask for their help in making their neighborhood intolerant of harassment. They can make their shops safe zones, they can pledge to speak up when they see harassment happen and they can talk to others in the neighborhood.
The Tale of Two Nazanins is the true story of two women named Nazanin who both were born in Iran. One was a highly successful Canadian in the midst of a remarkable career, the other a frightened teenager languishing on death row in Iran. The book is about how an email brought them together and changed their lives forever.
In 2006, Nazanin Afshin-Jam had just signed her first record deal after having lived in the limelight for being first runner-up for Miss World, a beautiful sought-after fashion model as well as being a highly intelligent and well respected icon within the Iranian dissident community. But one day she opened an email that would dramatically change the course of her life. The subject of the email was about another girl named Nazanin who was a Kurdish girl facing a death sentence in Iran, as punishment for stabbing a man who had tried to rape her. Her name was Nazanin Fatehi and Afshin-Jam quickly came to the girls defence, entering into the world of international diplomacy and confronting the dark side of the country of her birth, with its honour killings, violence against women and state-sanctioned execution of children. While Fatehi languished in prison, experiencing conditions so deplorable she attempted to end her own life, Afshin-Jam worked desperately on the campaign to save her. The Tale of Two Nazanins weaves together the lives of these two women - one leading a life of glamour and opportunity, the other living in fear and abject poverty. She mounted a campaign which fought for justice that, if only for a moment, brought the Iranian regime to its knees. The Tale of Two Nazanins is an inspiring story of the bonds of sisterhood which speaks to the power of every individual to initiate and participate in bringing positive changes in the world. Buy the Kindle E-Book Edition Buy the Hardcover Edition
Iran is the only country in the world that 'officially' executes children. According to the United Nations, a child is a person under the age of 18. Despite the fact that Iran has signed International Covenants that forbid them to execute anyone who has allegedly committed an offence before the age of 18, they continue to do so. Since 2005, Amnesty International has recorded 28 executions of child offenders.
Currently, there are at least 141 minors on death row in Iran. Time is of the essence. Together we will make them STOP the execution of minors! Sign the petition at www.stopchildexecutions.com to help to save their lives.
Yabanci is a book by a Dutch woman who moved from Holland to Turkey to start a new life in a Turkish village overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. A great read for those who are considering a move abroad or have lived in a different culture. Available in English as an ebook or in Dutch in both print and popular ebook formats... take a look