Shaima Behzad

Produced by: Yara Chehayed
Part of the Curated Collection: Taboos & Society,
Original Interview Length:
Interview Location: Morocco
Production Team:
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My name is Shaima Bahzad, from Iraq, specifically from Baghdad. I am forty years old. I am an activist and blogger. I have an electronic platform on Facebook dedicated to creative Iraqi women.

There was a time when I felt that I could not be myself or express my true identity because of social taboos. In fact, in Iraq we have political bottlenecks, for example, known between the blocs and between the victorious parties over the rule of functional positions. This reflects negatively on society. At these particular times, I used to feel many fears because my society was mixed, so I was always afraid and hiding my identity in order to avoid getting into trouble.

With regard to blogging, we know that blogging has many names or definitions. The path that I took is specific to creative Iraqi women, so I write down their biographies and their achievements. I shed light on Iraqi women by writing about them and blogging about my society. I do not deal with societal issues, but I take the side of women, how they proved their presence in our Iraqi society, I publish their achievements, I write down everything they do to serve our society. Our platform has approximately 700 women. My specific message and goal from this platform is to highlight women's achievements, whether it is a sporting, humanitarian, scientific achievement or any other societal achievement that we write on this platform.

With regard to social taboos and their impact on our society in general and on women in particular, women have certainly suffered with these taboos, especially Iraqi women, as they restrict them and limit their movement, but the leaders are the cause of these taboos.

The social taboos that I believe negatively affect peace and prosperity in my country are sectarianism and racism the most. We consider them taboos; we can't afford to talk about them. We also have a second category of partisanship, blocs, and struggle over power and spoils. We consider these taboos because it is forbidden to talk about them or to discuss them.

Sectarianism and racism certainly prevent prosperity and prevent progress, because we are surrounded by the language of sectarianism. We, for example, in Baghdad have areas that are known to be the majority of this sect. If, for example, we assume that it was a woman or any family that was from a non-sect, of course, a small percentage. If, for example, their financial condition means that they cannot go to any other place. Sectarianism and racism are the most important obstacles facing us. Without sectarianism and racism, we will truly live in peace, we will live as one hand, but now sectarianism and racism are still, until now, it is a little late.