Maryam Jaafar in M100 Youth Media Workshop 2012 in Potsdam, Germany

22year old Maryam wants to be independent in Iraq
Maryam, from Iraq, loves dressing in a colorful and beautiful style, which often gets her into trouble.
Maryam from Iraq writes about issues like child trafficing, damages caused by the so called sticking bombs – parts of which usually have a magnet or rubber vacuum, so they stick to smooth surfaces. She is also not afraid to report about honor killings. This is the murder of women by relatives with the motive that this compensates for the damaged “family honor”. These murders are common in Muslim communities, but also in Christian ones. Globally, they are not diminishing: in fact they are even more and more common, with thousands of women becoming victims
Maryam herself does not want to be victimized, but became an activist when she was 19 years old. She writes for several newspapers as a freelancer and also a volunteers in Iraqi human rights organizations. Born in Bagdad and an graduate in political science of Bagdad University in 2011, she was awarded the “Kamel Shia for Freedom in the Iraqi Press”. Her interests are media, poetry, non-governmental organizations

Maryam’s parents are highly educated. She thinks that her own open-minded attitude causes her great problems, as well as her affinity for different dress styles. Maryam often wears high-heeled shoes and colorful clothes, which can anger some Iraqis. She says bluntly that she wants to be independent and even though she knows that if she does what she wants, she might be killed for it

According to her it is a tradition in Iraq the women are deprived of rights and legal protection

Meanwhile Iraq copes with its brutal past and present. It is curious that Iraqi students do not study about the former regime of Saddam Hussein. Maryam says that in her country there is a lot of corruption these days and that many Iraqis are unemployed. She says even Saddam disappeared, the same problems still exist

Iraqi bloggers say that they write under false names so they wouldn’t be persecuted or prosecuted. In Iraq there are 42 televisions and 160 newspapers, but as in Bulgaria, the large number of the media outlets does not mean that there is media pluralism

Maryam dreams of studying outside Iraq. She thinks that much effort is needed, so a change in the country can occur, and new leaders will be needed, as well as many new laws


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