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Gay Rights Rally In Russia 6
St Petersburg, Russia
By Yury Goldenshtein
18 May 2013

Gay rights activists rallied to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia in St. Petersburg.

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Gay Rights Rally In Russia 4
St. Petersburg, Russia
By Yury Goldenshtein
18 May 2013

Anti-gay activists shouting slogans during gay right rally in St. Petersburg.

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First Disabled Man To Climb St. Cathe...
Cairo, Egypt
By zeer news
11 May 2013

Mazen, the first disabled person to climb St Catherine mountain in Sinai, promoting rights for disabled in Egypt

Background:

Mazen is the first disabled person to climb Mount Saint Catherine in Sinai, to promote rights for the handicapped in Egypt. Mazen contracted polio when he was 3 years old, while he was escaping Iraq with his family during the First Gulf War.

According to World Health Organization’s statistics, 10% of Egypt’s total population suffers from physical or mental disabilities. The 1975 Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons law didn't bring progress to the living conditions of the disabled. During the two years that followed the revolution, with 18 months of military rule followed by the Muslim Brotherhood’s government, Egypt’s handicapped population, estimated at over 8 million, continue to face more of the same problems. The precarious and difficult situation in a city like Cairo, one of the most chaotic in the world due to a substantial lack of infrastructure, is unfortunately only one of the many problems handicapped people face in Egypt. A lack of rights, health care and increased social marginalization inspired Mazen, who has been handicapped since the age of 3, to get involved in political activism, prompting him to join the 6th of April movement in 2010.

In November 2012, during the Mohamed Mahmoud clashes, Mazen lost his close friend and companion of the 6th of April movement, Gika. Since then, he decided to change his methods of protest, and to start a more responsible and peaceful activism campaign through symbolic actions.

Three months ago, he completed the first of several actions, climbing the Keops pyramid in Giza. On the 6th of April 2013, for the anniversary of the movement, he decided to climb the 1586 m and 750 stairs of mount Saint Catherine in Sinai.

Shots:
00:00 - 00: 44 sec intro VO

Mazen is the first disabled person to climb mount Sinai, promoting rights for handicapped people in Egypt.

According to World Health Organization, 10% of Egypt’s population, over 8 million people suffer from a disability. The Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons law of 1975 didn't improve their living conditions. In Egypt little attention is paid to the difficulties of the handicapped, especially in Cairo, one of the most chaotic cities in the world, there is a shortage of infrastructure to the assist their mobility. This is compounded by the lack of rights, poor health care and social marginalization. Mazen, handicapped since the age of 3, was inspired to get involved in political activism, before the revolution.

00:44 – 01:39 interview : presentation and problems of handicapped people in Egypt

“I am Mazen Hamza, I am 26 years old. I was born in 1987 in Iraq. I came in Egypt during the First Gulf War. I contracted the polio when I was three years old because of the vaccination. ”

“The problems that handicapped people suffer here in Egypt have been the reason why I decided to enter political activism, in order to send a message to the entire world, that handicapped people have to be integrated into society. We have problems in all aspects, in transportation, in education, in work, in housing, in airplanes, and mostly in the treatment we received by the government. I mean the government does not know how to treat handicapped people.”

01:40 – 02:03 political activism VO 6th of April / sit-in of 6th of April in front of the Ministry of Interior

Mazen became a political activist in February 2011 when he joined the 6th of April movement, the most active civil rights movements in Egypt. He first participated in debates, demonstrations and sit-ins.

In November 2012, during the clash with Security Forces and the Military Government, Mazen lost his close friend Gika, a fellow activist. This inspired him to begin a campaign of peaceful activism through symbolic demonstrations.

02:04- 02:47 Interview talk about gika / inside Gika's family house

“The death of Gika influenced us a lot. He was a boy that put a beautiful energy within us. Climbing the Cheope Pyramid has been only the beginning of many activities in urban, historical and religious places. We started by climbing the pyramid and it has had a lot of success, we heard good feedback from the people. I am not speaking about the public’s opinion, but from the other activists.”

02:48- 03:18 VO actions: Saint Catherine

Three months ago, Mazen completed the first of his demonstrations, climbing the Haram Cheope, the great pyramid of Giza. Then, on April 6, for the seventh anniversary of the movement, he climbed the 1586 m of Mount Sinai including the 750 “stairs of penitence”. In the Christian, Muslim and Jewish traditions, Mount Sinai is where Moses received the Ten Commandments. Overcoming his physical limitations, Mazen reached the summit in order to raise awareness for the disabled population and to remember those who died for human rights in Egypt.

03:18- 05:12 climbing St Cathrine, reaching the summit

05:12- 05: 27 interview St. Cathrine

“I would like the world to be aware of what’s going on in Egypt. For this reason I climbed St Catherine mountain, where Moses spoke with his God, to bring his speech all around the world, and I am doing the same thing to make people care about the handicapped women, children, and society and in general human rights.”

05: 28 Mazen Screaming the name of “Gika”.

Other text (Arabic translation):

“When I found out that there were young people ready for revolution, I joined them for months to take down the regime, and change the system. After two years I feel that nothing has changed. We have a new president, but the same system, so I tried to be different.

I started to work with the movement by participating in demonstrations and other activities. When I found out about the 6th of April movement, I joined it immediately. I joined the movement on the anniversary of the clashes of Mohammed Mahmud. In the Moquattam group, I was just an activist, but after I became responsible for social policies. I joined many events, especially for handicapped people’s rights.”

I attend a lot of conference to spread their voices everywhere, and to raise awareness of the problems of disabled people.
I tried to see the system separately from religious or historic dogma. I would like the world to be aware of what’s going on in Egypt. For this reason I climbed St Catherine mountain, where Moses spoke with his God, to bring his speech all around the world. And I am doing the same thing to make people care about the handicapped, women, children, and society and in general human rights,

We have a problem with the system. Politicians don’t listen to our demands, but we will make them listen and change their policies to how young people want them.

I am a citizen who sees that people will soon organize themselves to bring a real change. Tomorrow will be better, but now we still need to spend a lot of energy, even if we already spent a lot. That’s why we are climbing St. Catherine mountain, we already climbed 2350 meters and we only have to climb 750 stairs. That is the fight with myself against the system and the entire world, and I will do more, or my efforts will be vane.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Jhelum is located about 140 km from the capital Islamabad in northern Punjab. Jhelum city is located on the banks of the Jhelum river and is famous for having housed British soldiers during the colonial era.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Jhelum city is famous for a nearby military cantonment, which is one of the biggest in Pakistan. Grand Trunk road, also called GT road, runs through the city, making it a vital junction along the mighty road from Lahore to Peshawar.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

At 46 years old, Lubna is transgendered and an independent elections candidate.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna sits in her home with her friend and assistant Sidra. Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Election campaign material for transgender candidate Lubna. She is using the electoral sign of a Cow in her campaign.

Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna shares her small house with six wedding dancers, all of whom are transgendered.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna in her days as a dancer. Lubna does not dance anymore, but manages a group of transgendered dancers.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna leaves her home early in the morning to campaign for the upcoming election.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna leaves her home in suburbs of Jhelum city to campaign for elections.

Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Election posters of Lubna Lal, also known as Madam Lubna Lal, can be see along the road to her home in the suburbs of Jhelum city in north Punjab.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna trying to convince a shopkeeper in inner city bazaar of Jhelum to vote for her. She is running for a provincial assembly seat.

Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Provincial assembly candidate Lubna and her assistant campaign in the streets of Jhelum.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Transgendered candidate Lubna and her campaign assistant visit the inner city to campaign door to door for the elections.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Neelo is the Guru of transgenders in Jhelum and a vocal supporter of Lubna Lal, the election candidate from transgender community.

Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna hands out her manifesto to people in the area she where she lives and worked. She is contesting for provincial assembly seat for District Jhelum.

Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Election banners and posters dominate markets of Jhelum, Pakistan. The election campaigning is in full swing across Pakistan. Jhelum has special significance in this election as for the first time in its long history, a transgender is contesting for elections.

Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna and her fellow transgenders know the inner city of Jhelum very well, as they have worked and lived in this area for a long time. Here, they go shop to shop in the market to distribute Lubna's election manifesto.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Residents of inner Jhelum look on as Lubna walks by. She is very familiar with the area and its residents and many welcome her contesting in the elections.

Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna talks to an old lady in streets of Jhelum.

Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Campaign assistant Sidra pastes a sticker on a wall in streets of Jhelum.

Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

A transgender tries to convince a father to vote for Lubna. Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna is very popular among housewives in the area, because they are very familiar with her. She says its the women of the area who have given her the best response to her election campaign.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Transgender election candidate Lubna and her assistant asking for votes in a door to door campaign. Lubna says she has not encountered any abuse or threats from anyone from the city.

Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna during her election campaign in the streets of Jhelum.

Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Independent election candidate Lubna visits a home in the outskirts of Jhelum city.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna is targetting lower and middle class families for her campaign in the small city of Jhelum.

Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna, a transgender election candidate explains her manifesto to an old lady.

Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate from P...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Independent transgender candidate Lubna campaigning in streets of Jhelum.

Very popular among the transgender community in Jhelum, Lubna is a former wedding dancer who decided to run for a seat in the provincial assembly. Now legally recognized, several transgender people are running for elections and working toward equal rights for the community.

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Transgender election candidate Lubna ...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By Muhammed Furqan
01 May 2013

Lubna Lal talks to a man during her door to door and street campaign in Jhelum, Punjab. Its is the first time in history of Pakistan that transgenders are contesting elections.

46 years old Lubna Laal and Sidra roam around in streets of Jhelum, a city in North Punjab, distributing pamphlets and posters to housewives shopkeeper and common folk. The pamphlets contain Lubna Laal's election manifesto and her posters have a very beautiful and serious Lubna Laal posing as a politician. But its not an ordinary election campaign, Lubna Laal is a transgender and she is running for elections on a provincial assembly seat.

Lubna Laal's original name is Mujahid Kamran and she was born and raised in inner Jhelum city. She left house at an early age and did some schooling. Her main source of income like most transgenders in Pakistab was dancing in weddings and newborn baby celebrations. Now 46, Lubna has left dancing and now manages few other younger transgenders and lives with them in a small house in suburbs of Jhelum city.

Lubna Laal is very popular among housewives of inner Jhelum and equally loved by shopkeepers in bazaars of Jhelum. She says this popularity is because she's been working in these areas since a long time.

Lubna says the response to her campaign has been very positive and people have appreciated her hard work and passion. She aspires to become a provincial assembly member in the coming days. Her manifesto included program to educate transgender community and bring them in the mainstream.

Jhelum is a small city in north of densely populated Punjab province of Pakistan. It is home to very powerful and influential politicians who have no shortage of support and money.

Lubna Laal is very hopeful that she will give these politicians a tough time and that people of Jhelum will support her.

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Transgender Election Candidate In Pun...
Jhelum City, Pakistan
By U.S. Editor
30 Apr 2013

"Lubna Lal is one of Pakistan’s first transgender electoral candidates, who will be running in upcoming national and regional elections.

Commonly known as Madame Lal, Lubna Lal has won considerable support from her community in the Punjab province of Jhelum. Ironically, the city is known for providing a large number of soldiers to the British and later to the Pakistan armed forces, making it known as a city of soldiers, or a land of martyrs and warriors. However, it is a former wedding dancer that has put the region back on the map.

Pakistan has an estimated 500,000 “eunuchs” - meaning homosexuals, transexuals, transvestities and castrated men. Many of these individuals resort to lives of prostitution, begging, or work as wedding dancers to support themselves.

Previously ridiculed and shunned from society, it took a landmark Supreme Court ruling in 2011 to allow transgendered people to not only vote, but also to stand as candidates. Since the campaign began, seven transgendered candidates have registered their interests, though only two remain in contention.

Lubna Lal was only 15 when she left her home, and now vows to not only stand for the transgendered community, but for everyone living in poverty. “I want to help poor people and improve education, health services, and sewerage. The poor people of this area are happy I am standing.”