Kholoud Waleed - Interviewed on BBC Radio 4's 'Woman's Hour'
Monday 14th March, Kholoud Waleed, 2015 Anna Politkovskaya Award
winner, was interviewed on BBC Radio 4's 'Woman's Hour'. Presenter Jane
Garvey asked Kholoud about her brave work running the Syrian underground
newspaper 'Enab Baladi' despite the danger her and her colleagues face
every day. They spoke of Kholoud's recent international recognition by
being given RAW in WAR's award and taking part in our 'Refusing To Be
Silenced' event as part of the Women of the World Festival (March 2016).
We are thankful to 'Woman's Hour' and Jane Garvey for sharing Kholoud's
Brave women Refusing To Be Silenced – Syrian journalist honored with the Anna Politkovskaya Award
Kholoud Waleed with the Anna Politkovskaya
Award [Photo: Luke MacGregor]
On 12th March, RAW in WAR's‘Refusing To Be Silenced’ event,
at London Southbank Centre's WOW - Women of the World Festival, celebrated the incredible courage and inspiring
work of brave women from war and conflict in the world.
At ‘Refusing To Be Silenced’ we presented the
2015 Anna Politkovskaya Award to Kholoud Waleed,
a Syrian journalist and editor of the underground newspaper ‘Enab Baladi’.
Kholoud Waleed, co-founder of ‘Enab Baladi’ (Grapes of my country)
bravely reports to the world and to the people in Syria about the atrocities of
the conflict, despite the dangers, she and her colleagues face every day. Three
of the newspaper journalists were killed and others were detained in Syria. Kholoud Waleed refuses to be silenced by the
Syrian regime and the terror of ISIS and other extremist groups, who are supported
by the silence of the international community. Despite the threat to her life
she continues. Kholoud Waleed’s reporting,
and ‘Enab Baladi’, form a small island of truth and respect for the
people in Syria amidst the horrors of the war.
Kholoud Waleed, with her Award, and Vian Dakhil
showing solidarity in ‘Refusing To Be Silenced [Photo: Luke MacGregor]
To present the award to
Kholoud Waleed, Mariana Katzarova, RAW in WAR
founder was joined by an amazing group of women leaders:Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the
Southbank Centre and founder of the WOW Festival, Elena Kudimova, Anna
Politkovskaya’s sister and activist, and playwright Eve Ensler, author of the ‘The Vagina Monologues’ and founder of
the V-DAY movement to end violence against women and girls. Elena Kudimova told
Kholoud of how proud Anna would have been that Kholoud is receiving this award.
Eve Ensler greeted Kholoud for her bravery with tears. Jude Kelly presented the Anna Politkovskaya Award statue to Kholoud
and expressed the support of the WOW festival for all courageous women like
Kholoud, part of “Refusing To Be Silenced”, whose voices should be heard.
On accepting the
Award, Kholoud Waleed said:
“At the time of receiving the award, no feelings
can be expressed, as they are mixed all together: happiness, great honor,
sadness – feeling the soul of Anna with us, telling me not to be silent and
It means a lot to me to receive the Anna
Politkovskaya Award, named after Anna, a Russian journalist, who refused to be
silenced and exposed the Russian crimes in Chechnya to the world, and paid for
it with her life.Ironically, her
assassin has not been brought to justice yet, the same like the assassin of
Syria is still ruling it, after six years of brutality against the Syrian
people, who aspired for freedom and change. It is also painful to follow in the
steps of Razan Zeitouneh, and be in her own place receiving this award, without
having her by my side. Razan was kidnapped by the “Army of Islam”, who was supposed to protect us, the Syrians, but
turned out that they too do not tolerate free voices, who are exposing the
truth about the war crimes in Syria.
This award comes at a time when the Russian
government is openly involved in the crimes that the Assad regime commit daily
against the Syrian people, and all evil powers have joined forces to kill the
Syrians, who deserve the whole world to back them, not be partner in killing
them, including ISIS, terrorists, Iranian mercenaries, Hizbullah, the Al Nusra
extremist group,and who are supported by the silence of the international community.
All these feelings make me so proud and honored to
receive such a valuable award, that was handed to me during the RAW in WAR’s
“Refusing To Be Silenced” event at the WOW Festival, a very huge push forward
for me to keep going and refuse to be silent, forever!”
Kholoud Waleed speaking during ‘Refusing To Be
Silenced’ [Photo: Luke MacGregor]
This year’s “Refusing To Be Silenced” was hosted by award-winning
journalist, Lindsey Hilsum, who is Channel 4 News' International Editor and the
author of “Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution” (Faber, 2012). Lindsey
Hilsum has covered the major conflicts of the past two decades, including the
wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and Ukraine. After the presentation of
the award, a panel discussion took place that focused on the abuses against women and girls in
areas of conflict, such as in Syria and
Iraq, and the price of speaking out and freedom of expression. Speakers
included Kholoud Waleed
(underground Syrian journalist and 2015 Anna Politkovskaya Award winner), Vian
Dakhil (Iraq's only Yazidi MP and 2014 Anna Politkovskaya Award winner
and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize nominee), Natalie
Nougayrède (Editorial board member at
The Guardian and former executive editor of Le Monde) and Mariana
Katzarova, RAW in WAR founder.
beautiful performance of ‘Anna’s Song’ written by singer/songwriter Lorraine
Jordan was performed. Lorraine Jordan was joined by the Bloomsburys choir, led by
was an inspiring, humbling and deeply moving event, and we were honoured to be
at WOW with so many courageous women, all of whom risk their lives to
speak the truth.
Baladi’, the underground newspaper that Kholoud Waleed co-founded, has
published an article about Kholoud being presented with the Anna Politkovskaya
Award and the ‘Refusing To Be Silenced’ event – Please click here for the full article
(published in Arabic).
having been presented with the Anna Politkovskaya Award [Photo: Luke MacGregor]
‘Refusing To Be Silenced’
Saturday 12th March 2016
Royal Festival Hall,
Refusing To Be Silenced - WOW Festival 2016
‘Refusing To Be Silenced’
WOW Festival 2016
Saturday 12th March 2016
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre
We are pleased to
announce that RAW in WAR’’s ‘Refusing
To Be Silenced’ event will once again be involved in the 2016WOW
(Women of the World) Festival at London's Southbank Centre on Saturday 12th
March. The WOW Festival will be taking place from Tuesday 8th - Sunday 13th of
March, bringing together talks, debates, performances and activism celebrating
women and girls.
On Saturday 12th March, join us for our event ‘Refusing To Be
Silenced’ (15.45-16.45) in the Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre.‘Refusing To Be Silenced’ seeks to support the women who risk
their lives to speak the truth.We bring together international women of courage,
who stand for human rights and justice in war and conflict zones around the
world, including winners of the RAW in WAR Anna Politkovskaya Award. The
discussion will focus on the abuses
against women and girls in areas of conflict, such as in Syria and Iraq and what is the price
of speaking out and freedom of expression.
The panel will be hosted by Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4 News International Editor,
award-winning journalist, who has covered the major conflicts
of the past two decades. The panel will include:
Vian Dakhil (Iraq): The only Yazidi MP in Iraq’s Parliament and 2014 Anna Politkovskaya
Award winner, who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in
Natalie Nougayrède: Editorial board
member and columnist at The Guardian and former executive editor of Le Monde,
who was awarded in France for her coverage of the Chechnya conflict.
MarianaKatzarova: Founder of RAWin WAR (Reach All Women in WAR),
who is currently taking part in the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in
At the event, the 2015 Anna Politkovskaya Award will be presented to Kholoud Waleed (Syria) by prominent
women leaders, including Jude Kelly,
WOW Founder and ElenaKudimova, Anna
Politkovskaya’s sister. Renowned singer/songwriter Lorraine Jordan will
perform alongside the Bloomsburys, led by LAKA D.
As you can imagine,
we are delighted to be joined by such an inspiring group of courageous women
and would like to invite you to join us too. You can purchase day and weekend passes and
tickets HERE, giving you access to plenty of other events taking
place at the WOW Festival during the weekend.
We hope you can join us!!
For more information about our 'Refusing To Be Silenced' event, pleaseclick here.
For more information about the WOW Festival, please click here.
Free Razan Zaitouneh and her colleagues - the Douma 4 - immediately!
marks two years since our friend and the recipient of RAW in WAR’s2011 Anna Politkovskaya Award, Razan Zaitouneh was snatched from her
office in Douma, a suburb of Damascus. Together with her husband, Wa’el Hamada
and two other activists, Samir Khalil and Nazem Hamadi, she was detained and
abducted by armed men believed to be members of the so-called Army of Islam,
which at that time had control over Douma. Since their abduction from
the Violations Documentation Center (VDC) in Douma two years ago today, their condition and
whereabouts have remained unknown.
call on all those governments, world leaders and individuals who have influence
over the situation in Syria, to do their utmost to ensure the safe, unconditional and immediate release of Razan,
Wa’el, Samir and Nazem, known as the Douma
determined and courageous writing and truth-telling brought attention to those
unable to have the world’s ear. Her voice was the heart and soul of those
seeking peace and freedom in Syria. But her voice has also angered those whose
violence and abuse she exposed. It is with pain that we recognize that her deep
humanity and urge to tell the truth and expose the injustice was the only
possible reason for her abduction.
Razan Zaitouneh and her friends had been documenting human rights violations of
all sides in the brutal conflict in Syria and they had helped those in need of
protection and support, without regards to any political affiliation. They were
truly dedicated to protecting human rights and telling the truth. We at RAW in WAR remember them and stand in
solidarity with the Douma 4 and with all Syrians, calling for peace and justice and an end to the war crimes and
atrocities the Syrians suffer at the hands of the government, as well as
the armed groups.
“Dear Anna, I am aware that your passion for truth and the defense of
human dignity, for which you gave your life, is but a link in a chain that
stretches across the world, through individuals and entire peoples, all of whom
believe in everyone's right to live free of oppression, humiliation, and
subjugation. …What we share in humanity transcends languages, nationalities,
and borders…Each step forward towards peace and justice in any part of the
world benefits all humanity. I would like to remind the world that the Syrian
people, who were victims to all those crimes yet still patient and persistent,
are people who deserve much more than complicit silence, or timid criticism
from those who have failed to refer this regime to the International Criminal
Court despite acknowledging its crimes.”
“SYRIANS STILL WANT FREEDOM” KHOLOUD WALEED'S RESPONSE TO WINNING THE 2015 AWARD
It is an honor to receive this award in your name, eight years after evil power assassinated you to silence the free word. A time when my country has been struck by all evil powers to suppress those who have called for freedom and dignity in the last five years.
Dear Anna, your steps were followed by many Syrians who paid with their life in return for their passion for truth. Enab Baladi, my newspaper, was co-founded by a group of young passionate Syrians. We want to convey the atrocities committed by the Assad regime to the world. The cost of this has been very high, as three colleagues have been killed since then. Four of my colleagues are being held by the regime, four other female reporters were detained and later on released. Can you imagine the cost of truth in Syria? And this is only for one media platform as the numbers increase every single day.
Anna, nothing much has changed in the context of human rights since you left us, women are still abused in most parts of the world, journalists are assassinated, human rights activists detained, and the world is still turning a deaf ear to all that. My colleague Razan Zaitouna, who received this award in your name in 2011 has been disappeared, and her voice has also been silenced. No one likes free voices Anna, unfortunately!
This award is granted not to me, rather to a whole group of dedicated young men and women who have battled war through their words and reports to the world. We want to deliver the messages of those Syrians who are surviving the war despite all types of threats they face daily.
This award is a big motivation for me and my colleagues to maintain our passion for truth and continue telling the stories untold for the Syrians who continue their lives within Syria, despite ongoing death and destruction surrounding them. The stories of people who called for freedom and change and still aspire this, and who have dreams that are unfulfilled.
Dear Anna, despite all the hardships, the Syrians will continue their struggle to reach thelight at the end of this dark and scary tunnel. For the same reason you paid with your life, so may your soul rest in peace and know that the candle you lit will never be put out."