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Progressive Filipino Muslim Woman Leader Tours NZ

HIDDEN VOICES
A Filipino Muslim Woman On The US “War On Terror” And Its Impact On Her People.

TOURING NZ OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2007

Amirah Ali Lidasan is the National Vice-Chairperson of the Suara Bangsamoro Party List Organisation, which aims to get representation in Congress for the Philippines’ several million Muslims (known as Moros and heavily concentrated in the southernmost islands). Amirah is a young progressive Muslim woman, with a history of senior leadership in the student movement in Manila, and remains a leader in groups such as the Moro Christian People’s Alliance. She has an international profile. In March 2007 she was part of a Philippine human rights delegation which toured North America and Europe, drawing international attention to the human rights crisis at home.

The Philippine military has been waging a full blown conventional war in the southern Philippines since the 1970s (simultaneous to the better known and equally long war against the Communist guerrillas throughout the whole country). It has had hugely negative consequences for the whole Muslim population in the South (including Amirah and her family) and it has now become part and parcel of Bush’s “War on Terror” against “Islamic terrorists”. Indeed, Presidents Bush and Arroyo have proclaimed the Philippines to be “The Second Front” in that war.

Amirah Ali Lidasan’s tour presents a unique opportunity to hear firsthand about a war in our own backyard that is almost totally unknown to New Zealanders. She will be the first Filipino Muslim speaker that we have hosted, and a Muslim woman at that. She will also be our youngest ever speaker (she is in her early 30s) and the first we’ve had from Mindanao, where she is based – the others have all been from Manila. An NZ speaking tour by a progressive Muslim woman leader is very timely, because Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark are co-sponsors of a series of high profile international Interfaith Religious Dialogues which have been held in both countries in 2006 and 07. This is a chance for New Zealanders to actually hear from one of the voiceless, namely a Filipino Muslim, who have suffered centuries of repression and neglect.

Donations are welcome, to help with our costs. Please make cheques to PSNA, Box 2450, Christchurch with a note saying that it is for the Lidasan tour. We thanks the many organisations and individuals whose generosity has made this tour possible. Our budget is $5,000 and money is still needed.


ITINERARY


Tuesday October 23 – Dunedin.

Wednesday 24 – Christchurch.

Thursday 25 – Blenheim.

Friday 26 – Wellington.

Monday 29 – Palmerston North.

Tuesday 30 & Wednesday 31 – Auckland.

Thursday November 1 – Whangarei.


We thank the many organisations and individuals whose generosity has made this tour possible. Our budget is $5,000 and money is still needed. Please make cheques to PSNA, Box 2450, Christchurch, with a note saying that it is for the Lidasan Tour.


ENDS

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