Meena in Sri Lanka

Prabha Manuratne, an English Language lecturer at the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka, recently produced a Sinhalese translation of Melody Ermachild Chavis’s book MEENA: HEROINE OF AFGHANISTAN.

Meena founded RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, when she was just 20, in the late 1970s. She dedicated herself to bringing healthcare and education to the women of her country. As the fundamentalist movement grew and war broke out, she stood firm for a democracy; anti-Communist, she warned that life would be worse under the Mujahedeen. Both sides considered her dangerous, and in 1987, when she was thirty, Meena was assassinated.

Sri Lanka is in the midst of a ethnic conflict that has lasted almost thirty years, so Prabha and a group of other committed activists decided to publish “a series of books that will help Sri Lankan people to rethink their situation and become more socially aware, not only of the realities of war, but also of the impact of capitalism, sexual exploitation, and violence upon countries like ours.”

Because it is too dangerous to discuss their country’s own political situation for fear of persecution, Prabha and her colleagues decided to let Meena’s story illuminate their own. Prabha says, “As a woman, I…felt the need to assert the possibility of a political feminist tradition. Meena’s character, and your book provided the inspiration and courage that is much needed in times such as these.”

We’re very proud to share with you some pictures from the book launch.


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