Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gaza's Surfer Girls

From The Atlantic

Thirteen year old Rawand Abu Ghanem is one of four girls learning to surf , as the newest members of the Gaza Surf Club.
Sitting in her family’s living room later, Rawand tries to explain: “It’s a great feeling when I surf, but I won’t surf when there are a lot of people around. It’s so weird for them to see a girl surfing. It gets crowded, and I just can’t handle everybody looking at me.” Since Hamas took control of the territory in 2007, the militant group has been working to inculcate conservative Islam in an already traditional society. As a result, the daughters of the strip’s male surf community must navigate ever more treacherous waters. All of the girls surf fully clothed, prefer to practice in groups of other surfers and swimmers in an effort to avoid attention.
The girls and their parents agree—they won’t be able to surf after they turn 17.“Doing something only boys do means I’m unique. I’ll go to another hobby—that’s the way it works here,” Rawand says.

It doesn't have to be that way Rawand. It really doesn't.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gay couple in Israel's Dancing with the Stars

This makes me smile.

From Haaretz

Two Israeli women teamed up on Tuesday to become the first same-sex couple to compete in a version of the internationally popular Dancing with the Stars television series.

Gili Shem Tov, a TV sportscaster, performed the cha-cha with Dorit Milman, a professional dancer assigned by the show to perform with her.

BBC Worldwide Productions, which licenses the series' format globally, said it was the first time a Dancing with the Stars competition had featured a same-sex pairing.

Shem Tov, who is a lesbian, said "it felt natural" to dance with a woman.

"If by doing that even a few people will be more tolerant and open-minded, I achieved my goal," she told reporters.

The Dancing with the Stars format, in which celebrities are paired with professional dancers and compete for the votes of judges and viewers, is broadcast in more than 75 countries.

Shem Tov said she and Milman would take turns leading in their performances in the 12-couple competition.


Tolerance. Diversity. In many ways, Israel is so much more open than America