Feature

Fadela Amara er en helt ny type politiker i Europa: kvinner med innvandrerbakgrunn som har nådd toppen mot store odds, og som skal kjempe for innvandrernes rettigheter, og samtidig for kvinner og barns rettigheter i kulturene de kommer fra. Franrike har tre i regjeringen: Amara, justisminister Rachida Dati (42) og statssekretær for menneskerettigheter i utenriksdepartementet, Rama Yade (31). Sverige har integrasjons- og likestillingsministeren Nyanko Sabuni. De må nødvendigvis være tøffe kvinner: de kommer fra beskjedne kår og kjenner innvandrernes kår på kroppen. De kjemper for kvinners frigjøring. De er vår tids kvinnesakskvinner, med en grensesprengende apell.

Fadela Amara har algerisk bakgrunn og er praktiserende muslim. Hun kommer fra en familie med ti barn. Faren var analfabet. Hun opplevde rasismen på nært hold som barn.

In 1978, when she was 14, in the housing project near Clermont-Ferrand in central France where she was born, she saw her brother, Malik, 5, be killed by a drunken driver. She saw the police side with the driver and, «most important, I saw the police use racist remarks toward my parents, particularly my mom,» she said. «It was a very violent seizure of conscience,» like an electrical shock, she has said. Ever since, she said, «I’m angry, and I don’t accept that in my country there are injustices.»

Radicalized, she became a fierce campaigner against racism and for women’s rights including within her own Arab, Muslim community, where young women faced strict and sometimes arbitrary rules of behavior and dress and where punishment was private and often vicious.

Fadela var prinsipiell. Hun var ikke bare mot hykleri og fordommer i det franske samfunnet, men også i innvandrermiljøet, særlig den økende tendensen til å ville kontrollere jentene.

Offended by cases of gang rape and immolation for perceived immoral behavior, Amara organized a protest for women’s rights in 2003 that concluded with an estimated 30,000 people marching on Paris.

She took one of the marchers’ slogans «Ni Putes, Ni Soumises» («Neither whores nor submissives») as the name for her new organization, which had little in common with more bourgeois and intellectual notions of feminism.
..
«We fought the Islamists, and we slowed their spread,» she said. «Our tenets defend equality, condemn cultural relativism and combat archaic traditions,» like those that interpreted a young woman wearing a skirt as available for gang rape.

«This is why I claim the heritage of the French Revolution,» she said heatedly. «I’m universalist. I believe strongly in the values of the republic – liberty, equality, fraternity and secularism.»

Kvinner som Amara vet hva som står på spill. Det gir dem en egen energi og intensitet. Amara bryr seg ikke om protokoll og etikette. Hun vil ha ting gjort. Nå er hun leder for et prosjekt for modernisering og renovasjon av banlieus, innvandrerforstedene. Arbeidsløsheten er høy. Amara frykter radikalisering av de unge:

She is concerned by the growing power of radical Islam among unemployed youth, on the margins, listening to preachers in what she called «the Islam of the basements.» This new «green fascism,» as she called it, cuts against all she has tried to do with «Ni Putes, Ni Soumises.»

«It’s a problem that has grown these past years,» she said. «Our young are in a situation of psychological fragility, and why? Because many of them do not have work and have trouble inscribing themselves into a future, and some who are too fragile become jihadists.»

She believes the radicals are an isolated minority. «But it is not normal that today in my country a part of the youth who live in these banlieues have as their future unemployment, prison or Islamism.»

Amara tilhører Sosialistpartiet, men hadde liten sans for den sofistikerte, selvsentrerte stilen. Nicolas Sarkozy valgte flere av sine beste ministre fra sosialistenes rekker.

Da en dommer i Lille annulerte et ekteskap fordi bruden ikke var jomfru, kalte Amara det den rene fatwa mot frigjøring av muslimske kvinner.

A daughter of France’s ‘lost territories’ fights for them