Meet Syrian refugee girl Bana Al-Abed who starred at the Oscars

Syrian girl Bana Al-Abed on the red carpet at the recent Oscars ceremony is Los Angeles. (Twitter: @AlabedBana)
Updated 06 March 2018
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Meet Syrian refugee girl Bana Al-Abed who starred at the Oscars

CAIRO: You might have missed her, but young Syrian girl Bana Al-Abed appeared on stage at the Academy Awards this week, drawing global attention.
The 8-year-old Aleppo girl shared the stage alongside rapper Common and singer Andra Day during a performance at the Oscars on Sunday.
She was invited along with nine other activists by Day and Common to take part in the song “Stand Up For Something” from the movie “Marshall”, which was nominated for Best Original Song.
She posted a photo of herself on the Red Carpet on her Twitter page (@AlabedBana), and shared another photo of herself on stage, with a plea to stand up for the people of Syria.

“Dear #Oscars, tonight we must stand up for the children who are dying in Syria. A child is a child, whether in America or Syria,” she wrote.
Bana rose to fame when she tweeted in 2016 of the bombing of Aleppo, during the country’s ongoing civil war, with the help of her English-speaking mother.
She simply tweeted “I need peace.” Soon after, more tweets were sent out telling the tale of a young girl and her family trapped in eastern Aleppo.


Kyrgyz singer receives death threats over feminist video

Updated 21 September 2018
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Kyrgyz singer receives death threats over feminist video

  • Zere Asylbek’s music video ‘Kyz’ became a sensation in the Central Asian country following its release last week
  • In the video Asylbek sings that ‘a time will come when nobody will tell me: Don’t wear it, don’t do it’

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan: A 19-year-old singer in Kyrgyzstan has filed a complaint with police after receiving death threats over a music video she released targeting gender discrimination in the ex-Soviet republic.
Zere Asylbek’s music video “Kyz” became a sensation in the Central Asian country following its release last week but has angered conservatives who say it insults national values, focusing on the singer’s visible underwear.
Asylbek said that she had filed reports with police in the capital Bishkek after receiving numerous threats of physical violence including several death threats.
One threat posted by an anonymous Facebook profile to a group on the social media platform threatened to kill her if the video was not deleted.
Another user whose post Asylbek sent as a screenshot to AFP wrote that they “would gladly join” the first commentator, and “rip your head off.”
“Kyz,” which means girl in the Kyrgyz language had had more than 217,000 views on YouTube by Friday and is Asylbek’s first released song.
Asylbek said on Thursday that the video’s main message was to “respect the person you really are” while also “respecting the choices, opinions and ways of life of others.”
The video features Asylbek dressed in a suit jacket and skirt with a purple bra underneath, a woman wearing a hijab, a woman wearing a Kyrgzy-style headscarf and a woman with a partly shaved head, showing Kyrgyz society’s diversity.
In the video Asylbek sings that “a time will come when nobody will tell me: Don’t wear it, don’t do it.”
She also calls on the other women featured in the clip to “join me, create our own freedom.”
Asylbek said that she had expected her choice of different women representing different facets of society to be understood as provocative but was surprised at the online attention devoted to her purple bra.
In a Facebook post her father Asylbek Zhoodonbekov voiced support, calling his daughter “a free-thinking daughter of a free Kyrgyzstan.”
He said she had grown more politically conscious after a recent incident in which a man killed a young woman in a police station after attempting to abduct her for a forced marriage.
The murder in May sparked protests in Kyrgyzstan, a poor, majority-Muslim country where thousands of women are kidnapped for marriage every year in a practice dating back to the country’s nomadic past while law enforcement is accused of ignoring the problem.