Sisterhood beyond borders: Feminist Role Models


On May 26, the documentary film “Qiriazi Sisters” was shown as part of the FemArt Festival, the region’s biggest feminist festival.
The documentary film showed the work of “Qiriazi Sisters” founded by Igballe Rogova and Safete Rogova and the activities led by Igballe Rogova in the refugee camps during the war. Afterwards, a panel discussion “Feminist Role Models” was held with Lepa MlaÄ‘enović from Serbia and Igballe Rogova from Kosovo. Ariana Qosaj-Mustafa, the moderator noted that “we all have been part of this history, women and men but unfortunately today the history that dominates is the one of men only”. Before starting the discussion, Qosaj-Mustafa explained that MlaÄ‘enović and Rogova weren’t there to speak on behalf of women and girls because women and girls speak themselves, but they were there to create that space so women and girl can speak in the first place.                                                                          
   In regard to the documentary, Rogova described how singing and dancing was used as a form of therapy in the refugee camp but they also took self-defence courses, special meetings with children and other very important activities at the time. Rogova went on about how the Sisters Qiriazi was founded and their activities in eradicating illiteracy in Kosovo in the 90s, especially in the region of Has. Next, she remembered how she travelled to Belgrade to meet with the Women in Black and with Mladenovic and learned about their activism by seeing it first-hand. Rogova was struck by Women in Black’s protests and the way they used their body, silently, as a form of protest. On the other hand MlaÄ‘enović was called “academy of sisterhood for all women to graduate” from the panellists. MlaÄ‘enović described coming to Prishtina in 90s to attend “women’s parties” organized in restaurants owned by Rogova’s acquaintances. She describes the parties as opportunities to truly know “the other” and how their friendship evolved during those difficult times. The discussion closed affirming how both MlaÄ‘enović and Rogova remain an inspiration for many feminist activists today.                                                                                                                                        
  “FemArt” – Women Artists Festival for Human rights took place during 25-30 May in Prishtina. The festival showcased artistic creations by diverse women from Kosovo, the region and Europe. The activities included theatre performances, documentary films and shorts, master classes, workshops, exhibitions, performances, book promotion, slam poetry, concerts and panel discussions with over 100 artists/performers and activists. The festival ended on Monday with a ceremony where Nexhmije Pagarusha was presented with the FemArt Award.