Welcome

Come on and join author Melissa Bradley as she sets off on her latest adventure...

WARNING

If you are not 18, please exit stage left. While there is normally nothing naughty here, I do write and review erotica so there are links to spicy stuff and the occasional heated excerpt.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Is For Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Hello and welcome to my inaugural post for the big 2012 A to Z Challenge. When I thought about what my theme would be, I decided that being an ardent feminist I would bring to light strong women, women who changed history, women who are making their mark on this planet. I'm also including some Fun Factoids about the accomplishments of women.

My entry for A is a whole bundle of courage and controversy. Feminist, activist, politician and writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia to a prominent political family. She is the creator of the AHA Foundation, a non profit organization for the defense of Muslim women's rights. The goal of the organization is to fight crimes against women such as forced marriages, honor killings and female genital mutilation. Ayaan was herself, a victim of this horrific tradition at age five. Her grandmother had the procedure performed on her in defiance of Ali's father, who had been jailed at the time for his activism. Ali's AHA Foundation also focuses on education and fighting Sharia Law.


 In 2002, while living in the Netherlands, she became an avowed atheist and began to write articles criticizing Islam. She also started appearing on television and as a regular speaker at public debate forums. Her first book, The Son Factory, was published in November of that year. Soon after she started receiving death threats. She did not let the threats stop her work and continued her activism and writing. Ali wrote the script and did the voice-over for Theo Van Gogh's film Submission, the project for which the director was murdered.

Despite the almost constant threats to her life, Ayaan continues her fight. In 2005 Time Magazine named her one of their 100 Most Influential People. Her sheer determination to carry on her work is quite simply astounding.

Fun Female Factoid

Appreciate those windshield wipers on your car in a downpour? Thank Mary Anderson who invented a single arm rubber blade design in 1903.

Thanks for visiting, I appreciate it very much. To see more exciting entries on this wonderful fest, please click here.

125 comments:

  1. Hi Melissa, I see you're one of the early starters. This looks like it's going to be an educational series, and I'm glad to have heard about the brave Ayaan.

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    1. Hi! I'm so happy you enjoyed the post. Ayaan really caught my attention and I knew I had to share her story. I'm happy you're enjoying my theme.

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  2. Terrific theme for A-Z - MB - you're going to rock this - and post one is a great start!

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    1. Thanks Craig! I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed as this challenge gets off to a thundering start. This is going to be a hellagood time.

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  3. I love your theme! Sounds like this month will be very educational for me! :)

    Konstanz Silverbow
    nothoughts2small.blogspot.com
    A to Z Co-host
    www.a-to-zchallenge.com

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    1. Hi Konstanz. I'm so happy you love my theme. I loved the idea of spotlighting women we normally don't hear a lot about in the news, in history, etc.

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  4. Hi Melissa - I read Ali's book, Infidel. She is totally amazing and worthy of this awesome "A" post. I'm going to learn a lot from you, I can see.

    Cheers, Jenny @ Pearson Report
    Co-Host of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

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    1. Hi, Jenny

      Thank you so much! I'm adding Infidel to my list right now. You and our other wicked awesome hosts are doing a fantastic job this year. Here's to a great challenge for all of us. :)

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  5. Congratulations on making Alex's theme list for the challenge. How cool is that? You are adventurous. I will be back later today to read your post.

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    1. Thank you! I never thought of myself as adventurous before, but when the Captain Ninja and awesome friends like you say so, I have to believe I am. ;)

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  6. Hello Melissa, I'm over from Alex's. Nice to meet you and Happy A-Z!

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    1. It's wonderful to meet you, too! Thank you for stopping by. Have a great A to Z. :)

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  7. Hi Melissa, just dropping in to say hi once again. Hey I didn't know you wrote erotica. I just thought you liked posting pics of sexy, hunky looking guys on your blog!

    CarolynBrown-Books

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    1. I do love me the hunks, LOL. It's great to see you here Carolyn, I just was visiting you and wow! We are going to rock this challenge.

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  8. Excellent post. Thanks for sharing, and I look forwards to reading what else you come up with for the challenge.

    I've never heard of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but after reading about her, she really does sound like an inspiration.

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    1. Hi Clare and thank you! I only recently heard of Ayaan, myself, and I knew I had to share her story. I'm very happy you enjoyed reading about her and I can't wait to share my other selections. :)

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  9. Unique and Challenging theme for 2012, Melissa. I look forward to reading about all the strong women who changed history that you have chosen to feature this month.
    http://gail-baugniet.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks, Gail! I've got some really awesome women coming up, women I have admired for a long time and some a lot recently like Ayaan. :)

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  10. Wow, that's one heck of a life! And to think I think I've achieved something when I build a Lego model correct the first time. I need to reassess my priorities :)

    Jamie Gibbs
    Mithril Wisdom

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    1. I know what you mean, Jamie! I am in awe of Ayaan and feel especially amazed by her because she is my age. Makes me reassess as well. :)

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  11. Reason 3411 why you are awesome. The aspiring feminist in me is already salivating with this A to Z challenge. Especially since I know very little about...you know...non-fictional badasses. I'm looking forward to this one! And this is definitely one awesome lady--fighting a damn important fight!

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    1. Aww...Thanks, M! I knew you would love my theme. There are some real life badasses here and I can't wait to see what you think.

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  12. Fantastic choice! I'm feeling empowered already!
    Thank you.
    Heather

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    1. Thanks, Heather! I'm happy you really like the theme and hope you will enjoy the rest of the list.

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  13. Great theme for this year's A to Z Blogging Challenge. I love it! Thanks for stopping by Between the Keys and helping me kick-off the month. You rock, girlfriend! {{{hug}}}

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    1. Hugs back , KC!! I'm so happy you are doing the Challenge again this year. And I'm glad you like my theme. We women do rock!

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  14. I love the theme you're doing, and what a fantastic introduction. Thank you for introducing me to this courageous woman.

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    1. You are so welcome Sarah! And thank you for your heartfelt words. It make me very happy to know you love my theme.

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  15. Great theme Melissa! I am going to enjoy following along.

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    1. Thanks, Andi! I'm happy you'll be following along. that's awesome. :)

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  16. Nice post Melissa...how inspiring she is to keep going when it gests tough. I also liked your tid-bit on the wiper blade :) Alex C. sent me over so hey, why not? Great blog!

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    1. Hi Tracy! Thank you so much. Alex is the best, isn't he? Glad you enjoyed the wiper blade fact. That made me smile when I found out about Mary.

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  17. Mel, the theme you've picked for the A to Z challenge is truly inspiring, and not only for women.

    Never heard of Ayaan Hirsi Ali before, but her story is quite amazing. Looking forward to the "B" post! :)

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    1. Thanks, sweetie! I wanted this list to inspire everyone and am happy you found Ayaan's story amazing. I only recently discovered her work and she blew me away. Wait til you see my B post...;)

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  18. Wow what an amazing woman. I'm gona have to read more about her :)

    Universal Gibberish

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    1. Hi Anna! Ayaan is astounding, isn't she? I only recently came across her work and am looking forward to reading a lot more about her.

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  19. Beautiful and strong woman. Nice concept for the A-Z challenge.

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    1. Thanks, Siv. :) We are going to rock this challenge, my friend.

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  20. I read her book this year! She is so fantastic and interesting. I have several clients (I'm a psychotherapist) that suffer under their country's restrictive regimes so was pleased to read this. I'll be by again - sounds like you're doing the a to zed up proud! Jan Morrison

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    1. Hi Jan! Thank you so much for your kind words. I have got to get Ayaan's book asap. I'm impressed by your work, helping people in need. I am in awe and look forward to your return visits.

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  21. It makes me so sad to read stuff like this, but I am so glad this woman fights for women's rights. Great theme, by the way!

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    1. Thank you, Emily! What people do to each other...It is sad. But, to balance out the savagery, we have people like Ayaan.

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  22. Honor killings and mutilations - that sounds horrible!
    And hope you're no longer blubbering on your keyboard, Melissa. Meant every word. And you should see all the comments now...

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    1. I'm not blubbering any more, Alex, but I am very touched by your post and your words. You made my weekend and all those comments are just so wonderful. I better stop before I start blubbering again. :)

      Unfortunately the honor killings and mutilations are all too commonplace. Fortunately there are people like Ayaan out there.

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  23. very interesting, mel!
    i'd never heard of her before.
    sounds super brave!
    love your theme!

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    1. Thanks Vics! We are going to have so much fun this challenge.

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  24. Thanks for sharing, this was very interesting, I had not heard of her. A great idea for a theme, I will be back to read you others.
    much love
    martine

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  25. I've never heard of Ayaan Hirsi Ali before. I am glad you shared with us! Great post :) Cheers, Jenn
    http://www.wine-n-chat.com

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    1. Hi Jenn! Thank you so much. I'm happy I was able to share Ayaan's story. I recently found out about her and was blown away.

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  26. Okay, this is a really cool idea. Coming back to see who else you highlight.

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  27. What a perfect opportunity to bring this courageous lady to light. Excellent post. I'm learning so much today on the A-Zs

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  28. Thank you Susan! The A to Z is a great place to learn and make connections. i am so excited to see what everyone is posting.

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  29. and so the blog challenge beginnith.

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    1. Indeed!This is going to be a lot of fun this month. :)

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  30. great start Melissa - I really like the fun female factoid at the end!

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    1. Thanks! I found that fun fact out and I knew I had to share. :)

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  31. Hello Melissa! I found you on Alex's blog. This is such an inspiring post and theme. I am way excited to read the rest throughout the month. Nice to "meet" you!

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    1. Hi and welcome, Tracy! Alex is so awesome. ;)It is very nice to "meet" you too. Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm happy you're looking forward to the rest of the posts.

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  32. What an exceptional woman! A great start to the Challenge! :) I'm very happy I discovered your blog!

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    1. Thanks Cat! I'm so happy you're here. The Challenge is going to rock. :)

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  33. now this is an offtopic, but whenever someone in America is horrified by female genital mutilation which happens sometimes in Africa, and really is a horrible and scandalous thing, I always feel a sense of hypocrisy since a huge number of Americans does male genital mutilation on their baby sons and nobody cares. That is equally barbaric, disgusting and horrible, especially since it takes place in the "civilized" west :(

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    1. It is a terrible practice for baby boys, I totally agree with you. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts, my friend. :)

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  34. Great theme! I didn't know that about the windshiled wiper either! :)

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    1. Hi Jemi! I loved that windshield fact, too, and had to share.

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  35. Thanks for sharing about this amazing woman! I love what Alex said about you, all true~ I'm glad you are on this journey :D

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    1. I'm so happy you loved reading about Ayaan, Ella.

      Alex really made me cry and you echoing his thoughts has really made my night. I'm happy to be on this journey with all of you. :)

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  36. Oh my goodness. What an amazing woman. The perfect thing to share for today. I love it. And I love your blog :) New follower!

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    1. Thank you so much, Leigh. And thank you for the follow, it means a lot. :)

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  37. great stuff...

    Great start... to the challenge "A" is for Awesome!
    Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]
    A to Z Co-Host
    IZOMBIE: Visit the Madness

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    1. Thanks, Jeremy! This challenge is certainly off to a fantastic start.

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  38. Love your theme and your choice for A. Looking forward to reading more :)

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    1. Hi Kela and thank you! I'm excited about the women I've chosen. They are so amazing. :)

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  39. What a wonderful theme Melissa! Love it!

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  40. Interesting stuff. I can't imagine getting death threats like that.

    welcome to me

    yummy stuff

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    1. Thanks, Ruth! I could not imagine Ayaan's life, what an incredible woman.

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  41. What an awesome theme! Ayaan Hirsi Ali sounds like an amazing woman. It's too bad people like her don't make the news as often as meaningless celebrities who are famous only for being famous.

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    1. Thank you, Carrie-Anne. :) Yes, all too often we are inundated by the celebutante crowd instead of inspiring people like Ayaan.

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  42. You sure know how to kick off with a bang. I feel like such a slacker for my A-to-Z theme and individual choices now.

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    1. Thanks, Joshua! All of the various themes out there are awesome. Variety makes the world go around. Looking forward to the rest of your challenge posts. :)

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  43. I love your theme! I really admire strong women like this. Amazing!

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    1. Let's hear it for our strong sisters! I've wanted to do a feature like this and the A to Z seemed like the perfect platform. Thanks, Kimberly!

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  44. Awesome! Can't wait to learn more about some Women Power. This post reminds me of the sad news about that Pakistani woman whose sadistic husband had acid thrown in her face committing suicide. So tragic.

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    1. Thanks, Jay! I was saddened to learn of that poor woman's choice as well. Fortunately, there are women out there like Ayaan who will hopefully find a way to end women's oppression.

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  45. Ayaan Hirsi Ali sounds like an amazingly brave woman and activist. It's so frustrating that good work like hers does not get broader public attention. Your theme will make a month of excellent posts.

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    1. I agree, Joyce. Good work like Ayaan's deserves so much more attention. And thank you for the kind thoughts.

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  46. Great choice, Melissa.

    And how was I not a follower? I think Blogger's dropped me from some that I've followed before. Or . . . ack! I'll bet it was when I changed my blog email address. *rolls eyes*

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    1. Hi Donna! I'm happy you enjoyed the post and the theme.

      No worries! Blogger does hiccup and we get lost sometimes, but we are connected once more and that's what's important.

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  47. Interesting theme, for sure. I'll be back. Hope you'll visit my own A in the challenge!

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    1. Hi Sandra! Thank you so much and I will for sure seek you out in the Challenge. :)

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  48. Very interesting.
    Ali's inner self shines through showing one spectacular woman.

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    1. Thank you, Mary. Ayaan is definitely a very bright spirit that makes this world a better place.

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  49. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an awesome choice for A. One cannot help but admire her courage and intelligence.

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    1. Ayaan certainly has the heart of a lion. What a light she is for us.

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  50. She's certainly courageous and tenacious. Thanks for sharing some of her story with us. I like your theme and am intrigued by the erotica thing Alex mentioned. What's the definition? For example, I know what YA is, what a cozy mystery is, but how would you pin down erotica? Is it a romance novel with explicit sex scenes, or is it something else? I'm totally serious with this question, and have never been afraid to be the one who raises their hand and embarrasses themselves...
    Tina @ Life is Good
    Co-Host of the April A to Z Challenge
    Twitter: @AprilA2Z #atozchallenge

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    1. Thank you, Tina! I'm so happy you like my theme, your comment means a lot.

      I'd be happy to answer your question. Erotica is an explicit story in which the characters grow through sexual encounters and/or relationships. There may be a romantic element, there may not. So far, mine have all had an element of romance in them. There may also be larger plots, but one of the main forces of the story must be the sexual aspect. this is how I understand it. ;)

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  51. What a brave, intelligent, evocative spirit is hers. I loved this post, Roland

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    1. Thank you, Roland! Ayaan is certainly an amazing woman.

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  52. Great theme! I hadn't heard of her, but she is certainly an inspiration. It hasn't been easy for her to fight for what she believes in, yet she has continued forward. What a phenomenal woman. Looking forward to your other entries!

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

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    1. Thank you so much, Shannon! Ayaan is certainly an inspiration to us all. I'm very excited about the other ladies on my list. :)

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  53. What a brilliant theme for the A-to-Z, Mel! You are true bastion of vibrant femininity.

    You are off to a sterling start. Best of luck along the way.

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    1. Thank you very much, my friend. :) I love that you called me a "true bastion of vibrant femininity." That made my night. :)

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  54. Holy Cow... I've read about her before, and was amazed at the things she has done and lived through during her life. I hope she changes the world.

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    1. I really believe she will, Rusty. She has helped so many already at the cost of her own peace of mind and safety.

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  55. She's a brave woman.

    Coming to visit from Alex's blog.

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    1. Hi Diane! Thank you for stopping by. Alex is just incredible. :) Ayaan is an inspiration to us all.

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  56. What a splendid idea! I'll have to share your link with my four daughters- they will love it! Can't wait to read each day's posts!

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    1. Thank you so very much!! And I am honored that you're sharing my blog with your daughters. That means the world.

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  57. Love to see women all over the world standing up and quietly (or loudly) saying, "No. I am a human being, and won't accept this treatment any longer." Ayaan Hirsi Ali rocks!

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    1. Amen, Beverly. Ayaan is leading a charge that will change the world.

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  58. Oh my, I love your theme! I'd never heard of Ms. Ali but it was fascinating and inspiring to learn about her. Can't wait to see the rest of your entries!

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    1. Thank you, Julie! I'm so happy you liked reading about Ayaan, she is awesome. I'm excited to share the rest of the ladies on my list. I feel so fired up right now. :)

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  59. Fantastic theme. Aayan is so courageous. It's easy to forget how much our foresisters have fought for women's rights in our country, but hearing what some Muslim women go through can bring that to light.

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    1. Thank you, Jennifer! Yes, it is so easy to forget what we have and Ayaan definitely helps us to appreciate our own circumstances.

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  60. As an ardent supporter of ardent feminists, I wholeheartedly approve of your theme. Ali is quite the inspiring figure.

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    1. High fives and fist bumps to my brother feminist supporters! Ali is very inspiring, indeed. I'm glad you like my theme. ;)

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  61. Wow, thank you so much for sharing this. What a wonderful woman!

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    1. You are most welcome, Jessica! Ayaan is amazing and I was very happy to be able to share her story.

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  62. Thank you so much for sharing this. I'm incredibly humbled and inspired to read Ayaan's story. I really look forward to your alphabetic offerings. You're an inspirational burst of energy yourself, Melissa. (To save you time, I've opted out of the challenge this year. No need to visit me. I'll be cheering on and visiting my friends.)

    xoRobyn

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    1. Thanks Robyn! I knew you would appreciate my theme, my sister. ;) I am humbled by your words as you are quite an inspiration to me.

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  63. GREAT theme for this year's challenge, Melissa! Loved reading about this incredibly brave woman showing a level of commitment most of us would never be able to sustain.

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  64. Hello Melissa! I love your theme for this year's challenge and what a wonderful woman to start with! I look forward to reading more!

    Happy Monday from a new follower,
    Jen

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  65. Ayaan is a wonderful woman. Her life and work is a bit similar to Waris Dirie, though Ayaan is a much more fascinating person and her statements are waaay more powerful.
    Great write-up about a great person, Mel!

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