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In Iraq, women are allowed to cycle by law, but the girl's family prohibits them from riding outdoors when they are 12. Marina Jaber, a 25-year-old Iraqi girl, is currently riding a bicycle to challenge the tradition of Iraqi society. "I just want to know why, for Iraqis, women are not allowed to ride bikes and I want to figure out how they can be accepted by society.
Marina, in her first cycling on the streets of Baghdad, took her picture and posted it on the Facebook. In the first 5 hours, her picture was shared for 141 times and got more than 3000 likes. Marina said, "Dad and brothers don't know anything, and I cannot expect them to support me. It's beyond their common sense and they'll be scared."
Marina didn't tell her father and brothers when she made such a "special" move. Like other Iraqi families, they are very afraid of the gossip and discussion of people around them.
In some more conservative countries, a woman may be killed by her family member because of uploading a photograph of her into the Internet. This is so-called "honor murder" that save the family reputation by murdering their sisters.
Pakistan social media star Qandeel, who is only 26 years old, was strangled to death by his own brother because the photos on his Ins were considered too exposed.
Qandeel's brother regarded his action as "honorary execution" and does not regret it.
According to the statistics, hundreds of Pakistan women are counted as "honorable executions" every year.
“I had thought for a few minutes about throwing the bike and running away,” said Marina
For the first time, Marina did it successfully and decided to travel all over Baghdad by cycling. Therefore, she could not escape from the most conservative areas inevitably. She chose to start with the most open and accessible area in Baghdad, and people in the street just stared at her. As this "courtesy" came into a more conservative region, it has been significantly upgraded. The people caught her bike, pushing her, grabbed her bike wheel, and wanted to take her trip. They constantly said some bad words, cursing her for not complying with the "traditional".
Once, she had to get off the bike and put on a lot of composure. In fact, she was thinking how to throw the bike and run away. However, after that, she rolled over and went on riding.
"What supports my belief is that if I don't dare to ride a bicycle, how can I ask other women to rebel against other traditions and gain their basic rights?"
Keep relentless riding, the action itself actually is the solution.
After challenging the conservative district, Marina found that no matter how people still look upon women’s riding. Because Marina rode through a market, the young men smiled, yet, the old man was shocked. What can be done to get people to accept that women in Iraq can ride bikes?
Marina rode on the same road again and again on the same street through the market. The first two times, the old man looked down and shocked. However, at the fourth time, the old man stopped looking at her and just bowed his head to do his own thing. She found that cycling is the solution. In repetition, people will take women riding bicycles as a logical thing. If women are silent, the Iraqi society will not make any changes.
Now, Marina commutes with her bicycle every day. She's no longer afraid of the sight of strangers, just trying to make sure that she keeps herself up to make the people around her be accustomed to women cycling.
She wants to hold a women's cycling marathon in Baghdad. Because in her opinion, it's not enough to have only a woman cycling in Baghdad to challenge the traditions.
In the Iraq, full of flames of war and were still conservative, realizing this idea is of great difficulty. But the social network is filled with encouragement to her. Many of them are women coming from the same in Islamic countries.
"The best thing in life is doing what you think is right. Never mind what other people say. I'd like to ride with you on the road. "says a woman named Muna AI-shawl
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