From several media sources and into the modern self-involvement and, in fact, collective action as well, we find a continual outgrowth of anonymous and nonymous activism with the intention of the development of rapid societal shifts based on obvious and known injustices, where, in normal circumstances, if the shift is not to something greatly better, then rapid changes may seem more dubious and uncertain as their inevitable negatives coinciding with the positives.
We come to a few questions about the nature of social media here. But we do not even need to ask questions in general inasmuch as look at the concrete specifics of the ongoing case here in the world with, for example, the recent Saudi woman, Rahaf al-Qunun, who sought asylum and earned it in Canada, which, unlike most cases, acquired more support than previously thought possible.
This has begun to spark another movement. It works off the 2006 Tarana Burke #MeToo campaign taken into the mainstream via Alyssa Milano in the Winter of 2017. This movement led to important shifts in social interactions and, more significantly, direct conversations about the nature of the treatment of women, often, by men, especially those in power.
Another shift to play on this, as per the al-Qunun reference, is from the prominent and respected ex-Muslim activist Maryam Namazie in coordination with Sadia Hameed. Both Namazie and Hameed work from the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain. In a recent set of activist reportage, they spoke to the needs of several ex-Muslims.
Al-Qunun, in her case, was fleeing family abuse, as far as we know, and then she barricaded herself in a Thailand hotel room. Not only her family but also the Saudi authorities worked to return al-Qunun to her homeland. But as an ex-Muslim, the consequences could be severe.
Now, the reportage, often, notes the commonality of the narrative of al-Qunun. With these stories as plentiful and problematic, we can see reason for the emphasis on the safe communications platforms, i.e., those with the possibility of an anonymous “coming out” of sorts. These #MeToo hashtags have been important for the health and wellness of women.
But also, there is an important note about the ways in which the adaptation can help those in need, including #SaveBasma and others.
Namazie and Hameed state:
Unfortunately, Rahaf’s plight is a reality for countless ex-Muslims, atheists, women and LGBT fleeing Sharia or “honour”-related violence condoned by Islamic states and movements. In more than ten countries, being ex-Muslim, atheist, or LGBT are even punishable by death. In these countries, being a free woman is a crime. Despite these harsh realities, countless asylum seekers in Britain and the west as well as refugee claimants in places like Turkey continue to be detained, refused protection despite evidence of persecution, mistreated and deported.
They are important women voices, or simply voices, in the work of providing protection for ex-Muslims, which remains about the respect to freedom of belief, freedom of religion, and freedom of conscience implying a “from” in place of the “of” here. If this happens in non-religious households in children who want to become religious, this becomes the same rights-based principle of thinking; it is not about atheism or religion, or any other ideological stance about the nature of the world and the human beings’ relation to it.
It is about the fundamental right to choose one’s path in life in the best interests of the person as defined by the person, akin to respect for the rights and traditions of the world’s Indigenous populations all over the world. The hashtags raise awareness, working from the bottom up or via grassroots, provide the option for relative anonymity, give a platform for mass social action through consciousness raising into practice, and can be enough to put pressure on international agencies for the safety prominent cases. This raises the overall profile of not simply the individual but the person who the collectives who are having their rights threatened or even violated via family, tradition, or the state.
Some other cases mentioned in the report are Marwa Mastouri, Shawon Syed Isteak Hossain, Mohamed Aly, Aftab Ahmed, Fasahat Hasan Rizvi, Basma, Arsalan Nejati, Iman Soleymani Amiri, Amir and Mina Kalateh, and others. These are the voices behind the #RefugeeToo campaign following in the successes of the #MeToo campaign, which can put pressure on governments and the UNHCR to put pressure on governments in more dire and trying circumstances than most of us experience. Not only for them, but those who come after them.