In crisis areas

That BBC list of women does of course have heroic brilliant women on it, a fact which I shouldn’t lose sight of in objecting to the Beeb’s inclooosion of men who claim to be women.

Aye Nyein Thu is a front-line volunteer in crisis areas of Myanmar, focusing on the remote and poor Chin State. She built a makeshift hospital with a small operating theatre in November 2021 and has since been treating sick and injured people.

Working in a remote area of Indonesia, Velmariri Bambari has been fighting for victims of sexual violence in Central Sulawesi. She has persuaded members of the local council to break with customary law and not impose fines on survivors of sexual abuse.

In customary law, the sanction of “washing the village” establishes that perpetrators who are thought to have polluted traditional values should pay a fine. This rule is also applied to victims. Because of her campaigning, Bambari is often the first person contacted by the police when sexual violence is reported. She has dealt with several cases this year.

In her spare time, she travels to other regions where medical treatment is mostly unavailable, to support local patients including internally displaced persons. In the course of her work, she has had charges of ‘causing incitement to violence’ brought against her by the Myanmar military, who accused her of supporting local anti-government militia groups known as People’s Defence Forces.

A renowned Russian journalist, Taisia Bekbulatova founded the independent media outlet Holod in 2019. The organisation has reported extensively on the war in Ukraine, as well as publishing stories about inequality, violence, and women’s rights. The website was blocked in Russia by authorities in April, during a crackdown on independent media.

Despite this, Bekbulatova and her team have vowed to continue their work, and have seen their readership increase. Bekbulatova, who left Russia in 2021 after being labelled a “foreign agent”, has travelled to Ukraine herself to report on the war from the front line.

Heroes all of them.

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