Posted on Monday, June 8th, 2009 at 6:13 am
Author: Natalia Antonova
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When I first met Rana Husseini, I was struck by how forthright and open she was – a firm handshake, a piercing, inquisitive stare and the no-nonsense way in which she chose her words and spoke them. I quickly understood how men who are convinced of women’s inferior nature would be intimidated by someone like Husseini – and that’s besides all of the work she has done in support of women’s rights.
Rana Husseini, whom I first interviewed in 2007, is an investigative reporter and world-famous campaigner against the cruel phenomenon known as honour killing – both in Jordan and beyond. Her book, Murder in the Name of Honour, recently sold out upon its launch in Amman. Before the launch, I sat down with Rana to talk about everything from local politics to Orientalist imagery.
Natalia: So, this book was a real labour of love!
Rana: Yes. I wanted to get this one just right. I wasn’t about to let anyone sensationalize the subject matter. Thankfully, Oneworld Publications worked out really well for me and my agent, because they understood where we were coming from.
N: The cover looks great, by the way. It’s so different from the usual covers that are used on books about this region.
R: I told them right away, I wouldn’t have any seductive, veiled women on the cover! And no camels, and no sand and no menacing men in traditional clothing either! I wasn’t going to play into any of the stereotypes.
N: I meant to tell you, I have found some people to be strangely uncomfortable with the idea of an Arab woman speaking out about issues such as honour killing. It’s like they want all this phenomenon to be filtered exclusively through Western eyes.
R: Well, you can’t please everyone all the time. If we worried about what people said 24/7, we would get nothing done. There would be no progress.
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