Reading Musine– Lost Voices of Women and Girls

August 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

I recently assumed the post of Editor of Writing from the Margins, a feature section of Her Circle Ezine. Writing from the Margins showcases women writers outside of the West, typically writing in a language other than English.

In this section, we hope to give a broader voice to women who might only be read in their own countries (and only minimally there at that). We hope to call attention to the high and various barriers that women writers face in so many places when endeavoring to get their work published and disseminated.

My first piece for this section, published today, was on the life of Albanian writer Musine Kokalari. Kokalari spent the better part of her life in prison and in an internment camp for her public views and writings. When she was diagnosed with cancer, she was refused proper treatment. Her hands were bound even after she was dead. Why did the Albanian state believe she was so dangerous she had to be bound even upon her death in my piece? You can read my full piece here.

The story is a powerful example of the most extreme type of barrier women face to publishing their ideas– oppressive regimes that persecute dissenting voices, especially female voices, and that hold on to rigid patriarchies where women should not be heard.

What are some of the other less tangible barriers we face? Musine Kokalari’s life reminds us to seize our rightful freedom of expression and to honor those who have fought for such rights by writing what is true and authentic to our own experiences. 


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