06 August 2008

Elliptical Axioms: The Beauty of Radical Openness

When we speak peace, freedom, equality, and justice to the sky, when we name our pain, we can join hands and bring beauty to our wounds. It is only though radical openness, through our candid and honest process of dreaming beyond ourselves, that we can bring change. As an education volunteer, one of my greatest tasks will be to tackle the problem of girl's education in Niger. This morning, I was fortunate enough to meet and interview Madame Salifou Fatima Bazey, the first female magistrate in the HISTORY of Niger, and Madame Diroumeye Dembello, a 25-year retired sociologist of the United Nations. Both of these women were deeply profound, both growing up in environments where women's education was not valued nor promoted. However, these women persevered. These women are trailblazers. Speaking with Madame Salifou Fatima Bazey, (my translation from French) Yes, Niger is a poor country. However, if we allow everyone to go to school- girls, boys, everyone!- and we welcome the knowledge that receive, then we will truly be able to develop. Without the education of women, we cannot progress!" These women were truly an inspiration to me. In this country, these women have been referred to as "femme leaders" or women leaders, but I think this term is fundamentally flawed. We do employ the term "homme leader" or male leader. These women are leaders, and they are the trailblazers of the change that has begun in Niger. I salute the radical openness of these women- their willingness and thier courage to break glass ceilings! These women dream of solidarity for all- and for the end of patriarchy in all its forms. I hope that in the future, I can do more work with these women in the sector of female education in Niger.

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