A contrarian woman, Samira has spent her life working for social progress and diminishing restrictive social norms so that women can have more rights.
“Thanks to my father who didn’t clip my wings and taught me how to fly,” Samira wrote in a post on her Facebook page with a picture of herself spreading her arms imitating birds.
Wherever there is an event for promoting women’s rights, Samira is present. She often writes the slogans she wants to recite on her palms.
I often ignored the norms other girls would follow
“I was a contrarian; I often ignored the norms other girls would follow. I always had my own opinions and stances,” Samira said.
57-year-old Samira Muhammad Hussein, also known as Samira Karimat, is known and capable women’s rights activists in Kirkuk.
“The street means freedom and no boundaries. The street is the arena of activity of someone who can get out of home and showcase their capabilities.”
This Kaka’i woman can’t not live without taking to the streets. That’s why the lockdown and other containment measures against the COVID-19 pandemic dismayed her immensely.
“The Coronavirus had much effect as the various activities in Kirkuk couldn’t go on. Those were very unpleasant days.”
The Coronavirus had much effect as the various activities in Kirkuk couldn’t go on
But Samira resorted to using social media platforms to continue her activities with others. At the same time, she encouraged people to follow the health instructions and help those in need as unemployment spiked during the lockdowns.
“We were active on social media. We had online groups and would work collectively. We established a [chat] group for the Kaka’i ceremonies, which had more than 4,000 Kaka’i members. It was also a platform for better understanding one another and getting to know more people.”
According to government officials, the Coronavirus still poses a danger in Iraq, yet most of the containment measures have been lifted.
Samira has three daughters and a son. One of her daughters is a singer who won first place in a talent show.
“I believe when a mother is free, then her children will also grow up in freedom.”
Minority rights in every aspect is violated
Samira says her husband has assisted her in keeping a balance between working, taking care of her family and continuing with her activism at the same time.
She has worked for five years at a women’s rights organization called Rozh and is currently a school director.
Next to women’s rights, Samira also fights for the rights of minorities in Iraq. She has taken part in dozens of Kaka’i activities.
“Minority rights in every aspect are violated. That’s why I have always tried to amplify their voices.”
She says that taking to the street is a great challenge, especially for demanding freedom for women and encouraging them to reject submissiveness.