This woman impressed me so much as we met in 2005 in Sana’a, Yemen – Dr. Raufa Hassan. We wanted to interview her for our documentary The Judge and the Fanatic .
As an expert on a lot of subjects she had a tight schedule. But finally we met her in her office, where she sat with a group of German students answering their questions patiently.
A young woman wanted to know something about all the beautiful dresses she saw in the shops. How can a Yemeni woman be sure that it fits or not, as there is no chance to try it on. “This question reflects, how you see the things”, Raufa Hassan answered. “You are supposed to wear something that will fit exactly for your body. But there is another culture, where this not really matters. It may be wider or longer than expected. And the deal is: you can bring it back if it doesn’t fit at all. But mostly the women keep it. Only if it really doesn’t fit at all, they return it,”
This gave me something to think about.
Dr. Raufa Hassan may have been the first female journalist in Yemen. She wrote a regular newspaper column for many years. Human rights, and first of all women rights have been a matter that was always close to her heart.
She was Professor of Media & Gender Studies at Sana’a University, Yemen and founded the Cultural Development Projects Planning Foundation (CDPPF), the institute were we met her. There are a lot of other things she did, and she would have done a lot more if she would not have to leave this world so early.
I remember Raufa Hassan as a woman full of spirits, showing her face, but covering her hair in the unique Raufa-Hassan-way.
One year has past now since she died. I took the chance to look through our material we shot back then and found to pieces of interest.