Haki Nasawi

Sarah Kaddoura

Risktakers Fellowship - The image depicts a greyed black-and-white photograph of Sarah Kaddoura, one of the Risktaker fellows, on a background that

Haki Nasawi (feminist talk) is a feminist video platform created and hosted by Sarah Kaddoura. The project was conceived in 2020 after the start of the covid-19 pandemic, in an attempt to communicate with the outside world through the sharing of feminist knowledge. The videos focus on different aspects of consciousness-raising, such as narrating and reflecting on the history of social movements, discussing current and rising issues regionally and globally, making the knowledge on feminist and gender theory and scholars accessible, and highlighting the essential work of grassroot groups. One of the core beliefs put in the project is that conversations around bodies, relationships, the environment, the economy, and the patriarchy are not foreign to the region. Instead, these issues are transnational and relatable, which is why the videos focus on contextualizing the knowledge and relating it to the experiences of the viewers. Haki Nasawi does not aim simply to share this knowledge, but to portray it from a critical political lens that challenges mainstream and state discourses that people can engage with. It is a project set out to accumulate knowledge production, archive history and discussions, and inspire anti-patriarchal and eco-feminist groups in the making.

What will you be working on during the fellowship?

Throughout the fellowship, much of the focus of the channel will be put on covering and engaging with content on digital rights, omniscient presence of sexist and racist violence in the cyberworld, and the radical potential for reclaiming that space. Another topic that will be discussed and worked on is that of climate change, capitalist greenwashing and the resilient work of ecofeminist groups around the world. Besides the recorded videos, Haki Nasawi will be opening the space for frequent online discussions on different issues that can take the form of live conversation and webinars, and/or podcasts.

To what future do you aspire?

The future that I aspire to is one written and imagined by many brilliant authors and thinkers who have foreseen the violence of an ever-growing capitalist patriarchy on humans, animals and nature. This future is one that combines the best of the worlds of Ursula Le Guin’s “The Dispossessed” and Octavia Butler’s “Earthseed”. It is a world that utilizes technology for the betterment of the earth we live on rather than for profit. A world in which wealth is distributed justly, the elderly and disabled are cared for, the work and its fruits are shared kindly, and the hierarchies imposed through sexism and racism are dismantled. Land is respected and attended to, humans are dignified and undivided by competition and borders, and technology is taking us to a healthy, just future, rather than accelerated inequality and death.

What does being a risktaker mean to you?

Being a risktaker means acknowledging that contributing to change requires labour, kindness, and believing in others even when we were taught otherwise. It is something we as humans have to be in order to survive, and we do not owe it to ourselves and future generations only. We also owe it to all the risktakers who took big leaps of faith, risking their all, to challenge and dismantle different systems of oppression over the centuries. For a woman like me, it is the risk of being shunned, harmed and violated on many levels when I overstep the boundaries of how I should, if I can, approach the issues of sexuality, gender, censorship, and colonialism. It is also a risk that many brave women* take on by existing online unapologetically and doing what they can to address injustice.

The interview

Intro video where Sarah talks about her work and upcoming projects.

1. What is the question we should definitely ask you (and how would you answer it)?

I would go for “What is your experience with creating content that can be tricky online?”

I grew up having a tricky relationship with the internet. At first, it was a space where one could be anonymous, and your gender, race, and other factors that can be a hurdle in real life did not matter. It was easier to engage with feminist and radical thoughts while avoiding backlash and personal attacks. This changed with time, and it was already challenging to exist online without the content creation part, simply because harassment is much easier, especially towards gender and sexual minorities. While starting the project, I knew this would be tough, and I prepared myself for it. I use the digital tools that are provided by different apps to monitor hate speech. I log off or mute conversations that turn into harassment. I connect with other content creators, and we discuss dealing with those challenges. Eventually, the impact of creating accessible knowledge online outweighs that of backlash. I still wish we had more competent content moderation at hand. I dread the move towards more tolerant attitudes about sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, and such by popular social network apps. So it always feels like we have a long way to go.

2. Can you tell us a bit more about the topics and projects you will be working on in the upcoming time? 

I am working on a 4-videos series on ecofeminist approaches to climate justice. The series already started with an introductory video (which you can view here on the youtube channel “Haki Nasawi”). The upcoming videos will cover the history of the change in our relationship with the land and the environment, the unequal impact of climate change on different groups of people, and the current suggested alternatives and solutions, particularly the concept of “degrowth”. After this series, I plan to create explanatory and advocacy videos on digital rights and cyber activism, as well as issues relating to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

3. I can imagine that creating one of your videos involves a lot of steps and things you need to think about. Can you share with us a little more about your work process?

Two things usually inspire my work process: The first one is a constant fascination with the history of social justice movements and wanting to share that with others in hopes of learning together. The second is a sense of obligation to address and engage in critical debates around gender, climate change, inequality, and racism. I plan around five videos ahead on topics that feel timely and start the research process. I have to admit I am not the most organized person, so I hop from one organizational app to another and find what works for me at the moment. After research, I flesh out the ideas through a mind map and start an outline. The writing takes over a few days, then, voila! I have a script. I test it out with friends before filming. I spend a few days editing, and excitement is at a peak by then. Posting the video, engaging with comments and discussions, and sometimes going live after have to be my favourite parts.

4. Can you tell us more about the people and networks you’re collaborating with?

Although most of my learning experience happened in person, through working in different feminist and political groups and engaging with other activists, I still have to admit that I grew up with the internet. It is the first space in which I was able to find words for what I am feeling and facing. And also the first space in which I found others going through similar forms of oppression and having the same passions before I could find these people in real life. So, I work with feminist groups, but I also work with people I’ve met online who support me in ways I cannot imagine having progressed without: with ideas, skills, dissemination, translation, and simply encouragement. They’re feminists, passionate about social justice, and willing to share what they have learned in their different contexts.

5. How do you, as a fellow, perceive the Risktakers Fellowship so far?

It is one of the most unique experiences I’ve had. Having the opportunity to be supported (in more ways than financial) for my work, and feeling recognized and appreciated, make this process feel much more accountable. Meeting all the different fellows, if only online at this point, and seeing how passionate, talented, creative, and spirited they are is inspiring. We have so much in common regarding hopes, struggles and dreams, but we work through diverse methods and in different places. It feels like being part of a pool of impressive activists and artists, and I can’t wait to see what we will come up with when we are put in the same room!