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Rosa Parks' mug shot after being arrested for not giving up her seat to a white passenger

Rosa Parks' mug shot after being arrested for not giving up her seat to a white passenger

iwdToday is International Women’s Day. The day, which has been observed since the early 1900s on the 5th March, marks the economic, political and social achievements of women.

I thought I’d come up with a list of my top 5 women (excluding moi) with brief reasons why I think they are truly inspirational:

1. Rosa Parks (African American civil rights activist)- On December 1st 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama (USA), aged 42, she refused to give up her seat to a white man on the bus. This sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Her resistance to racial segregation made her an international icon. Strong, black female.

2. Aung San Suu Kyi – she is a Nobel Peace Prize recipient who has devoted her life to the non-violent struggle for democracy in Burma. She founded the National League for Democracy in 1988 and in 1990 her party won a landslide victory in the general election but she was denied power and placed under house arrest. She survived an assassination attempt in 2003.

‘It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it’ – Aung San Suu Kyi

3. Annie Lennox (Music Artist)- This soul sister is famous for being an Academy Award-winning artist and in the musical duo the Eurythmics. But the reason she’s on my list is because of the political and social work she has done. She (and Dave Stewart) gave all the profits of the 1999’s “Peacetour” for the Eurythmics album Peace, to Amnesty International and Greenpeace.  As a response to the conflict in Gaza, she lead the anti-war rally in London in January this year. She recently celebrated the 1st anniversary of the SING campaign- an organisation to help end HIV/AIDS in Africa.

4. Oprah Winfrey (Journalist/broadcaster/ media mogul)- This self-made billionnairess has a media empire that is a force to be reckoned with. She even got her own channel- the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) – that will make its broadcast debut early this year. What she has achieved throughout her life, and the struggles she has overcome is truly applaudable. The sky is the limit for for Ms O .

5. Zadie Smith (Novelist)- Born and Bred in Brent, North London, this former jazz singer and journalist, caused an intese bidding war among publishers for her first novel White Teeth (2000) before it was even finished being written- the book was a bestseller. To date, she has written three novels- the quality of which have made her one of Britain’s most highly acclaimed young authors.

ph20090220010061451819841I was taken aback when I saw the photo (left) of  battered and bruised singer Rihanna that “was taken after Chris Brown [her boyfriend] allegedly beat her”. 

Published on website TMZ, it reveals the facial injuries she sustained during the suposed domestic altercation she had with Chris Brown (aged 18) on February 8th.

There was specualation that the photo may be fake but the tatoos on her left shoulder confirm that it is her.   

Rihanna, whose real name is Robyn Fenty, turned 21 years old on Friday (what a 21st birthday to remember, or not as the case may be), the day the photo was published.

On the Oprah Winfrey Show last year, Chris Brown talked of how he had witnessed domestic violence when growing up and vowed never to lay a finger on a woman. If this incident is true then it sadly seems like a case of (as stated in the Bible) ‘the sins of our forefathers shall be passed on from generation to generation’ thus proving that lessons have not been learnt. 

According to the UK charity Women’s Aid, “1 in 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime- many of these on a number of occasions.”

His career will no doubt be affected. The alledged accusations of attempted murder, apparently mean that if charged, he could be sentensed to 6 years in jail.

Lately, whenever I’ve heard a Chris Brown song, I can’t help but think about the whole furor- taking credit away from the quality recording artist that he is. The incident seems so random and has totally diminished my view of Chris Brown as being the sweet, playful character that I often see on TV.

In a statement Brown said that he was “sorry and saddened” by his arrest and accusation of attacking a woman and is aparently seeking councelling.

I am in no way condoning dometic violence- no one should have to go through that- but there are two sides to every story and for every action there is a reaction. Obviously her injuries are unpleasant and very much the focus of the media but I can’t help but be inquisitive in terms of what actually provoked Chris Brown to react so. ‘Why?’ is the question on my lips and only the two people involved know the answer.    

All is a bit misty at the moment and unresolved legal issues make it difficult to comment freely.

Click on the link for the BBC’s report on the incident.