Maryam and Taslima at ‘Empowering Women’ International Conference Dublin 2013

P1190244This is a very pretty photo of Maryam and Taslima (despite some light distortion). It was taken directly outside main entrance to conference hall on basement floor at O’Callaghan’s Alexander hotel on the first day of the June weekend conference, organised by Michael Nugent, Atheist Ireland. The two well known women were due to give their talks in the afternoon.

Taslima had been sitting next to me at the back of the hall, just prior to when this photo had been taken at break-time. However, I did not know at first, that, that was the case. She had been browsing through a Twitter account belonging to Taslima Nasreen. I then noticed the likeness between the Twitter profile and the gentle-natured woman sitting alongside me. It tweaked. So I politely took an opportunistic moment of asking her in a quiet tone, if they were one and the same person. It was in the affirmative. I told her that Ophelia Benson, a FtB colleague of hers, was concerned about the loss of her iPad. Taslima had very recently tweeted that she had left it in a New York taxi, and OB had replied, saying that she had high hopes it would soon be retrieved and handed back to its rightful owner. I asked Taslima what was the outcome of the iPad. Taslima told me that she had to buy a new one. (See: sky blue item displayed on table). Unfortunately, it had never been handed in to a taxi-rank lost property office in New York. I sighed, and continued that it must have put her through great expense having to purchase a new one?! However, she was more worried about loss of contents stored in iPad than the actual price of $700 that was subsequently forked out for a new one.

I found Taslima to be of very gentle disposition. She also appeared to be an introverted, quiet, studious type. In contrast, I thought Maryam was the total opposite. The latter appeared to be very outgoing. I guess an extroverted type who would lighten up, and be the belle of every ball.

Maryam Namazie and Taslima Nasreen are two very powerful activists. They suffered and sacrificed a tremendous lot because of their convictions. Their valuable human rights voices are well sought after at conferences throughout the world.

Both activists are part of a syndicate of well known bloggers at Freethoughtblogs.com, the brainchild of Ed Brayton and PZ Myers. I was very familiar with Maryam’s writing via butterfliesandwheels.org for years before her arrival at FtB.

Taslima Nasreen is a physician, a writer, a feminist, a human rights activist and a secular humanist. She is from Bangladesh and started writing when she was just thirteen years old. She won many prestigious awards. She is a victim of banning, banishment and censorship. I’ve linked below to some of her important work, which is astounding to say the least and self explanatory.

Maryam Namazie was born in Tehran but left with her family in 1980 after the 1979 Iranian Revolution was suppressed by the Islamic movement.

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