Algerian actresses call foul on femicide

Algerian actresses call foul on femicide
Students, wearing face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic, maintain social distance as they arrive on the first day of school following the resumption of classes in the Algerian capital Algiers on October 21, 2020. (AFP)
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Updated 24 October 2020

Algerian actresses call foul on femicide

Algerian actresses call foul on femicide
  • The North African country, like its neighbors Tunisia and Morocco, does not publish official nationwide figures on murders of women

TUNIS: Algerian actresses angered by murders and violence targeting women have launched a campaign to fight the phenomenon — but not everyone has welcomed their initiative.
After the gruesome rape, torture and murder of a 19-year-old woman sparked angry demonstrations earlier this month and calls for a return to capital punishment, 22 actresses published a photo of themselves dressed in black.
“We, Algerian actresses, unite today to say enough to violence and killings of women. We are calling for more awareness and a general mobilization to stop this violence,” said a statement by the women, many of them household names in Algeria.
The North African country, like its neighbors Tunisia and Morocco, does not publish official nationwide figures on murders of women.
But campaign group Femicides Algeria recorded 75 such killings in 2019, with a further 41 so far this year.
The group says the actual figure is much higher.
And while the government last year registered some 7,000 complaints of violence against women, activists say it has done little in response — prompting the actresses to launch their own initiative.
“This campaign is aimed at everyone, men and women. It’s not to accuse Algerian men but to make everyone responsible,” said Salima Abada, a popular actress in the North African country who is among those involved. She said it was already having an impact.

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75 women were murdered in 2019 with a further 41 so far this year, according to the campaign group Femicides Algeria.

“There’s debate, anger, people are fed up — but it’s already a beginning,” she said. But a video of one of the actresses has already triggered a bitter backlash on social media.
Mounia Benfeghoul published a video on Instagram early this month following the news of the grim killing of the 19-year-old, identified as Chaima.
In an angry monologue, Benfeghoul slammed people who had made excuses for the killer: “There are no excuses for rapists! It was a rape! She didn’t consent!”
Well-known as a TV presenter, Benfeghoul said she was against the death penalty — but favored castrating sex offenders.
She also criticized a culture of street harassment and called for children to be provided with “a good example.”
Her outburst set loose a wave of insults on social media, with men mocking her dress, calling her a “whore” and one man publishing a video in which he threatened her with physical violence.
Those reactions were simply “because she’s a woman,” said Abdellah Benadouda, founder of the US-based Radio Corona Internationale.
“She said nothing new. She confirmed what we already know: That taboos in Algerian society are at the source of the silence around rape, incest and paedophilia,” he wrote on Facebook. “The truth hurts.”


Lebanon patriarch tells feuding president and PM-designate to reconcile

Lebanon patriarch tells feuding president and PM-designate to reconcile
Updated 56 min 24 sec ago

Lebanon patriarch tells feuding president and PM-designate to reconcile

Lebanon patriarch tells feuding president and PM-designate to reconcile
  • The country’s fractious politicians have been unable to agree on a new administration since the last one quit
  • Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai said at his Sunday sermon that the situation in Lebanon was now “tragic”

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s top Christian cleric has urged President Michel Aoun to set up a reconciliation meeting with Prime Minister-designate Saad Al-Hariri to form a cabinet and end the country’s political deadlock.
The country’s fractious politicians have been unable to agree on a new administration since the last one quit in the aftermath of the Aug. 4 Beirut port explosion, leaving Lebanon rudderless as it sinks deeper into economic crisis.
Tensions between Aoun and Hariri, who publicly traded blame in December after failing to agree a cabinet, came to a head last week when a leaked video showed Aoun apparently calling Hariri a liar.
Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai said at his Sunday sermon that the situation in Lebanon was now “tragic” and there was no excuse to further delay forming a government.
“We wish that his excellency the president take the initiative and invite the prime minister-designate to a meeting.”
Veteran Sunni politician Hariri was named premier for a fourth time in October, promising to form a cabinet of specialists to enact reforms necessary to unlock foreign aid, but political wrangling has delayed the process since.
The leaked video that circulated on social media last week showed Aoun talking to caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab about Hariri.
“There is no government formation, he (Hariri) is saying he gave me a paper, he is lying,” Aoun is heard saying.
Sources in the president’s office said the dialogue had been taken out of context and was not complete.
After the video circulated, Hariri tweeted biblical verses referring to wisdom not residing in bodies that were amenable to sin.
The souring of the relationship between Aoun and Hariri comes as the country continues to struggle with an acute financial crisis that has seen the currency sink by about 80%.
Lebanon’s health care system is also buckling under the pressure of a severe spike in COVID-19 infections. Medical supplies have dwindled as dollars have grown scarce.