#178 Sonita Alizadeh “Afghan Rapper and Activist”

Sonita Alizadeh was born in Herat, Afghanistan under the reign of the Taliban regime. Her family walked hundreds of miles to Iran in the rain and snow to escape. She grew up an impoverished, undocumented, refugee street child in Tehran. Without official papers, she could not attend school until a local non-governmental organization offered assistance; they provided a basic education to undocumented, refugee Afghan children.

At the age of ten, she was sold into forced marriage, but the contract fell through. Six years later, her family again wanted to sell her as a bride. With the help of a documentary filmmaker who had been following her story, they bought her some time.

Witnessing the injustices of the world, her friends swiftly disappearing as they were forced to marry, and fearing her own future, she wrote the song “Daughters for Sale.” With the aid of the Iranian filmmaker, a music video was recorded, and she was soon offered an opportunity to attend school in the US, so she fled.

Her story can be viewed in the award-winning documentary by Rohksareh Ghaemmaghemi which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016, titled Sonita. (Sign up for a library card if you don’t already have one and then you can view it!)

She has been privileged to be named as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s Global Thinkers of 2015, BBC’s 100 Women of 2015, an Asia Societies Game Changer of 2017, a 2018 MTV Generation Change Award recipient, Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2019 and featured by CNN, NPR, BBC, Buzzfeed News and over 150 publications in 20 countries.

More than 12 million girls are forced to marry as children every year, she hopes to aid in finding a solution to the problem—to help save the lives of the next generation.

Today we talk about her life, her music and her dreams.

Sonita’s Instagram Account

Sonita’s YouTube Channel

We heard the songs “Daughters for Sale,” “Moaref,” “Run Boy,” and “Brave and Bold” by Sonita.

Today’s show was engineered by Ian Seda of Radio Kingston, with a little assist from Manuel on some file editing.

Our show music is from Shana Falana !!!

Feel free to email me, say hello: she@iwantwhatshehas.org

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#109 Manda Zand Ervin “Alliance of Iranian Women”

MANDA ZAND ERVIN, Founder and Director of the Alliance of Iranian Women is today’s very honored guest. We will be talking about Iran, the beautiful history of Iran, the ruling Women-Gods, the plight of women in Iran under Sharia law, and her new book, “The Ladies’ Secret Society: History of the Courageous Women of Iran.

During the Iranian Islamic revolution, Manda witnessed the execution of many innocent people, including her high school principal who was murdered because she was a woman and the secretary of education.  She witnessed the human rights of the Iranian people, especially the women, taken away from them. She witnessed her homeland leaving the twentieth century to turn backward and she witnessed the effect.

Manda came to the United States as a political refugee on June 17th, 1980, became a citizen three years later and began her fight for human rights in Iran. She is the founder and president of the Alliance of Iranian Women a group which has deep connections within the Iranian diaspora and within Iran.

As the head of the Alliance of Iranian Women, Manda Ervin works to bring the West’s attention to the plight of Iranian women under Islamic Sharia laws.  She almost single-handedly gathered the support to pass a 2003 U.S. Senate Resolution on the human rights of the women of Iran. In 2005 Manda was invited to speak at the UN conference on the family in Islamic societies.

Manda is an analyst and writer, published by many online political magazines, like the Hudson Institute, American Thinker, and Family Security Matters, National Review and others.  She speaks on TV and radio programs, nationally and internationally, including CNN, BBC, Radio France, VOA, Radio Liberty.

Her book reveals, in print for the first time, the long history of struggle against clerical domination that Iranian women have been engaged in for centuries. Rooted in the proud history of ancient Iran, where Mother-Gods were once worshipped, the Ladies’ Secret Society, an organization founded in the early decades of the 20th Century, was both the inheritor of this proud history, and the progenitor of the contemporary women’s rights campaign in the Iran of today. Zand Ervin relates the stories, and records the accomplishments, of generations of individual women activists, who fought like lionesses for every scrap of freedom they gained, only to see all their hard-won rights destroyed with the coming of Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution. During the Islamic revolution, Zand Ervin witnessed the execution of many innocent people, including her high school principal, who was executed simply because she was a woman, and the Secretary of Education. She offers heartbreaking and compelling eyewitness testimonies of strong and emancipated women who were brutally pushed backwards to living under a crude, medieval society, and who have fought back, under sometimes impossible odds, and continue fighting today. Manda Zand Ervin’s History of Iran, the Iran that has been imprisoned behind a veil offers an insight and context to news of terrorism and the dangers caused by the misogynistic clerical regime ruling Iran which continues to dominate headlines.



Today’s show was engineered by Maddy Bogner of Radio Kingston, http://www.radiokingston.org.

We heard music from our fave, Shana Falana, http://www.shanafalana.com/

Feel free to email me, say hello: she@iwantwhatshehas.org

Leave me a voicemail with your thoughts or a few words about who has what you want and why! (845)481-3429

** Please: SUBSCRIBE to the pod and leave a REVIEW wherever you are listening, it helps other users FIND IT 🙂



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