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BRAC, an international development organisation based in Bangladesh, is the largest non-governmental development organisation in the world, in terms of number of employees as of September 2016. Established by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed in 1972 after the independence of Bangladesh, BRAC is present in all 64 districts of Bangladesh as well as 13 other countries in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.
BRAC employs over 100,000 people, roughly 70 percent of whom are women, reaching more than 126 million people. The organisation is 70–80% self-funded through a number of social enterprises that include a dairy and food project, a chain of retail handicraft stores called Aarong, seed and Agro, and chicken. BRAC has operations in 14 countries of the world.[non-primary source needed]
Sir Fazlé Hasan Abed, founder of BRAC
Known formerly as the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee and then as the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee and now Building Resources Across Communities, BRAC was initiated in 1972 by Sir Fazlé Hasan Abed at Shallah Upazillah in the district of Sunamganj as a small-scale relief and rehabilitation project to help returning war refugees after the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971. In nine months, 14 thousand homes were rebuilt as part of the relief effort and several hundred boats were built for the fishermen. Medical centres were opened and other essential services were ensured.[non-primary source needed]
By 1974, BRAC had started providing micro credit and had started analysing the usefulness of credit inputs in the lives of the poor. Until the mid-1970s, BRAC concentrated on community development through village development programmes that included agriculture, fisheries, cooperatives, rural crafts, adult literacy, health and family planning, vocational training for women and construction of community centres. A Research and Evaluation Division (RED) was set up by Mushtaque Chowdhury in 1975 to analyse and evaluate its activities and provide direction for the organisation to evolve. In 1977, BRAC shifted from community development towards a more targeted approach by organising village groups called Village Organisations (VO). This approach targeted the poorest of the poor – the landless, small farmers, artisans, and vulnerable women. Those who own less than half an acre of land and survive by selling manual labor were regarded as BRAC’s target group. That same year BRAC set up a commercial printing press to help finance its activities. The handicraft retail chain called Aarong, was established the following year.
In 1979, BRAC entered the health field by establishing a nationwide Oral Therapy Extension Programme (OTEP), a campaign to combat diarrhoea, the leading cause of the high child mortality rate in Bangladesh.[page needed]Non Formal Primary Education was started by BRAC in 1985.
In 1986, BRAC started its Rural Development Programme that incorporated four major activities – institution building including functional education and training, credit operation, income and employment generation and support service programmes.
In 1991, the Women’s Health Development program commenced. The following year BRAC established a Centre for Development Management (CDM) in Rajendrapur.
Its Social Development, Human Rights and Legal Services programme was launched in 1996.
In 1998, BRAC’s Dairy and Food project was commissioned. BRAC launched an Information Technology Institute the following year.
In 2001, BRAC established a university called BRAC University.
BRAC has done what few others have – they have achieved success on a massive scale, bringing life-saving health programs to millions of the world’s poorest people. They remind us that even the most intractable health problems are solvable, and inspire us to match their success throughout the developing world. Bill Gates, Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Award, 2004
Microfinance, introduced in 1974, is BRAC’s oldest programme. It spans all districts of Bangladesh. It provides collateral-free loans to mostly poor, landless, rural women, enabling them to generate income and improve their standards of living. BRAC’s microcredit program has funded over $1.9 billion in loans in its first 40 years. 95% of BRACs microloan customers are women. According to BRAC, the repayment rate is over 98%.
BRAC founded its retail outlet, Aarong (Bengali for “village fair”) in 1978 to market and distribute products made by indigenous peoples. Aarong services about 65,000 artisans, and sells gold and silver jewelry, hand loom, leather crafts, etc.
BRAC is one of the largest NGOs involved in primary education in Bangladesh. As of the end of 2012, it had more than 22,700 non-formal primary schools with a combined enrolment of 670,000 children.[non-primary source needed] Its schools constitute three-quarters of all NGO non-formal primary schools in the country.
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BRAC’s education programme provides non-formal primary education to those left out of the formal education system, especially poor, rural, or disadvantaged children, and drop-outs. Its schools are typically one room with one teacher and no more than 33 students. Core subjects include mathematics, social studies and English. The schools also offer extracurricular activities. They incentivise schooling by providing food, allowing flexible learning hours, and conferring scholarships contingent on academic performance.
Bangladesh has reduced the gap between male and female attendance in schools. The improvement in female enrolment, which has largely been at the primary level, is in part attributable to BRAC. Roughly 60% of the students in their schools are girls.
BRAC started providing public healthcare in 1972 with an initial focus on curative care through paramedics and a self-financing health insurance scheme. The programme went on to offer integrated health care services.
A BRAC community health worker conducting a survey in the Korail slum, Bangladesh
BRAC’s 2007 impact assessment of its North West Microfinance Expansion Project testified to increased awareness of legal issues, including those of marriage and divorce, among women participants in BRAC programs. Furthermore, women participants’ self-confidence was boosted and incidence of domestic violence were found to have declined. One of the most prominent forms of violence against women, acid throwing, has been decreasing by 15-20% annually since the enactment in 2002 of legislation specifically targeting acid violence.
BRAC conducted one of the largest NGO responses to Cyclone Sidr which hit vast areas of the south-western coast in Bangladesh in mid-November 2007. BRAC distributed emergency relief materials, including food and clothing, to over 900,000 survivors, provided medical care to over 60,000 victims and secured safe supplies of drinking water. BRAC is now focusing on long-term rehabilitation, which will include agriculture support, infrastructure reconstruction and livelihood regeneration.[non-primary source needed]
BRAC has a collaboration with Nike’s Girl Effect campaign to launch a new program to reach out to teenagers in Uganda and Tanzania.[non-primary source needed]
Not to be confused with the outlawed German association Internationale Humanitäre Hilfsorganisation e.V. or the Netherlands-based Internationale Humanitaire Hulporganisatie Nederland.
IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation (Turkish: İHH İnsani Yardım Vakfı; full Turkish name: İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri ve İnsani Yardım Vakfı, in English: The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief) or İHH is a conservative Turkish NGO, whose members are predominantly Turkish Muslims, active in more than 100 countries.
Established in 1992 and officially registered in Istanbul in 1995, İHH provides humanitarian relief in areas of war, earthquake, hunger, and conflict. The İHH holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 2004 Current president of the İHH is Fehmi Bülent Yıldırım.
The İHH was owner and operator of three flotilla ships involved in the convoy intended to breach the blockade of Gaza in 2010. These ships included the MV Mavi Marmara, a passenger vessel that served as the flagship of the convoy. As Israeli naval forces boarded the ship in order to prevent breach of the blockade, passengers attacked the boarding forces with clubs, knives and firearms. Nine passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara, many of them members of the İHH, were killed 
The Istanbul-based Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH) is an Islamic charity group that was formed to provide aid to Bosnian Muslims in the mid-1990s. It has been involved in aid missions in Pakistan, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Indonesia, Iraq, Palestine, Sudan, Somalia, Ghana, Mongolia, China, Brazil, Argentina and other places.
The organization is active in Turkey, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, South America, Central Asia, South Asia, and the Caucasus. İHH has held Special Consultative status as an NGO (non-governmental organization) in the United Nations Economic and Social Council since 2004. İHH is the organizer of Africa Cataract Project which aims to fight against blindness in Africa.
The IHH aims to reach every region hit by wars, disasters, poverty and human rights abuses, and believes that civilian initiatives play a complementary role beside intervention by states and international organizations in resolving humanitarian problems. It is also their goal to deliver humanitarian aid to all people and take necessary steps to prevent any violations against their basic rights and liberties.
These goals are achieved through the delivering of foodstuffs, clothes and tents to crisis regions hit by wars, conflicts, and natural disaster to meet urgent needs of victims. The foundation further provides health services in drought and aridity-stricken regions where poverty and deprivation have become chronic, and carries out long-term projects that aim at enabling local peoples stand on their own feet. For those wanting to work with the organization, some emphasized activities include take active part in their activities, making donations or fund-raising, organizing seminars, and distributing posters.
Trustees of the organization include:
The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief belongs to a number or organizations, including the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in the special consultative status, the Organization of Islamic Conference’s (OIC) Humanitarian Forum, the Council of International Organizations for Relief in Iraq, the Union of Non-governmental Organizations of the Islamic World (UNIW), and the Turkish Foundation for Volunteer Organizations (TGTV). The group has also received the following recognitions:
The İHH provides social aid, Muslim cultural aid, educational aid, sanitary aid, emergency aid programs in 120 countries. It provides health care and water wells in Africa and runs the Africa Cataract Project, begun in 2007, in ten African countries. İHH has made it possible for thousands of people who are suffering from cataracts but who do not have the economic means to be treated to see again. İHH built 1174 water wells in Africa. İHH sent two cargo planes to Haiti with 33 tons of humanitarian aid supplies after the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
In December 2007, Today’s Zaman wrote that “various civil society organizations such as Kimse Yok Mu? (Is Anybody There?), Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse), the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH) and Can Suyu assisted thousands of charitable donors in reaching out to poverty-stricken residents of the Kurdish-dominated eastern and southeastern regions of Turkey.”
World Bulletin wrote in August 2009 that hundreds of water wells were dug and fountains were built in an aid effort under the leadership of Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH) across African countries. Several Turkish nongovernmental organizations, such as Kimse Yok Mu? (Is anybody there?), the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (İHH) and Deniz Feneri (lighthouse), also provided aid to storm survivors in Bangladesh.
İHH previously sent packages containing flour, legumes, oil and sugar to 350 families residing in Zewaya Dugda, one of the poorest regions in the Ethiopia. The UN announced that around 6 million children in Ethiopia faced risk of acute under-nutrition and urged countries to send aid.
After the earthquake in Indonesia, Doctors Worldwide and The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) sent volunteers and aid to Indonesia. İHH opened mosques, dug waterwells, distributed Qur’ans, organized iftars, aiding orphans and refugees in Darfur.
In Gaza, the İHH is renovating the port, funding a Turkish-Palestinian school and plans to build a hospital and apartments for Gazans made homeless during the Gaza War.
IHH has been involved with the United Nations in a number of ways. For example, the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief attended the 44th Session of the Commission for Social Development and contributed to the panel discussion for the eradication of poverty. The group has attended other meetings, including:
The project aims at performing 100.000 free cataract surgery operations in ten African countries: Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Chad, Niger, Togo, Benin, Gana, Mali, and Burkina Faso. Volunteer Turkish surgeons and nurses take part in the project and travel to African countries for surgery. One of the objectives of the program is to offer free eye care for needy people. The Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency and Turkey’s and Sudan’s Ministries of Health are supporting the project. All surgeries are broadcast live on the project website and the IHH website.
In 2011, IHH worked with Turkish aid groups like Kimse Yok Mu, the Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay) and Doctors Worldwide in Somalia. IHH aid reached a total of 376,777 people. Relief efforts, totaling TL 2,420,612, included food and medicine distributions, digging 70 water wells, health screenings, fitr (alms) donations and iftars (fast-breaking meals). With regards to its work in Somalia, one worker said that “the İHH already has been working in Somalia for the last 15 years in the fields of education and social and medical care. As for the food crisis, the activities will continue for at least another three years because the drought has spread and it sounds like it’s not over. But as for other fields, the İHH is there and the activities will continue.” He continued that “in order to help families of orphans to make a living and stand on their own two feet, we gave the families of 40 orphans sewing machines and cows, while we gave another 20 families sesame and flour milling machines. In addition, the İHH offered medical examinations to 400 orphans and treated 137 children with various diseases.”
In 2010, the ship Gazze set sail for Pakistan to deliver humanitarian aid to the people affected by floods in the country. The ship carried 3,000 tons of humanitarian supplies including, medicine, food, generators, clothes and tents.
In 2011, IHH worked with the Khubaib Foundation to distribute relief goods amongst 500 flood stricken families in Lakki Marwat, a southern district of Pakistan. Some of the items included 270 containers which contained both food and non-food items. This was among clothes, shawls, footwear, and food items including rice, beans, canned food, power milk and children’s cereal that were also distributed.
In response to the humanitarian situation during 2011 Libyan civil war, IHH sent a cargo ship carrying nine containers, 141 tons of humanitarian aid including medication, food packages, infant formula, milk powder, hygiene kits and clothing. The ship set sail from Turkey and dropped anchor in Malta.
The IHH worked with the Istanbul Peace Platform to host a conference focused on China’s traditionally Turkic Muslim region of Xinjiang and which aimed to highlight the remote region’s problems in the wake of July 2009 communal clashes. Official government sources said nearly 200 people were killed and 1,600 wounded in July 2009 riots in Xinjiang’s capital, Ürümqi, in the worst ethnic unrest in China in decades. Beijing claimed the riots were orchestrated by overseas activists for the rights of Uighurs, historically Xinjiang’s largest ethnic group. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called the violence in Xinjiang “a kind of genocide.”
Further information: Reactions to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami
The IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation sent a rescue team of 5 to the Japan. IHH deputy chairman Yaşar Kutluay said “we sent our team to Japan which also went to Haiti due to the earthquake and to Pakistan due to the floods and lastly went to Tunisia and Libya due to the recent developments. Our team will contact with Japanese authorities to organize relief works. Our team will bring sonar system and search and rescue equipments.”
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The IHH aid team conducted relief efforts in Sendai which was most heavily devastated by the earthquake and took relief to around 5.000 people. Güzel said Sendai has turned into a ghost city in the aftermath of the quake disaster and ensuing tsunami and it may take long years for Japan to recover from the aftereffects of the disaster. Güzel noted that the humanitarian crisis in Japan may deteriorate if international aid is not provided to the country.
As reported on March 28, 2015, the IHH secured the release of two Czech tourists, Antonie Chrástecká and Hana Humpálová, following two months of intense negotiations. They were kidnapped near Taftan, Pakistan, by an al Qaeda-linked armed group on March 13, 2013, while travelling overland from Europe to India.
Mavi Marmara with Turkish and Palestinian flags, campaign banner, and the text “This is a humanitarian aid ship” in Turkish, English, Arabic, and Hebrew. Main article: Gaza flotilla raid
In January 2010, the Free Gaza Movement and İHH announced a joint venture to send ten vessels to the Gaza strip in the spring of 2010, a flotilla to be further joined by organizations from Greece, Ireland and Sweden.
On 30 May 2010, a flotilla of six ships carrying 663 activists from 37 nations rendezvoused near Cyprus and set sail for Gaza. The stated intention of the Gaza flotilla, like for earlier flotillas organized by the Free Gaza Movement, was to break through Israel’s blockade of the Gaza strip and to deliver humanitarian supplies. The İHH spent more than $2 million on the ships. İHH activists were set apart from other activists involved in the mission by a willingness to resist Israeli forces.
On 31 May 2010, after the IHH refused that the Israel Defense Forces will check the ship’s cargo in Ashdod port, Israeli forces intercepted the fleet in the international waters. On the MV Mavi Marmara, one of the ships owned and operated by the İHH, boarding Israeli forces came under coordinated armed attack. In the clashes, nine activists were killed (Eight Turkish nationals and a Turkish-American), and dozens of activists and seven Israeli commandos were wounded. On three other ships, activists showed passive resistance, which was suppressed by Israeli forces without deaths or injuries, and two others were taken without incident. The activists were subsequently arrested and detained in Israel before being deported. Widespread international condemnation of the raid followed, Israel-Turkey relations were strained, Israel subsequently eased its blockade of the Gaza strip, and Egypt lifted its blockade, opening its Rafah Border Crossing with the Gaza Strip.
On 18 June 2010, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs released video footage of a rally on board the Mavi Marmara the day before the raid in which the İHH President Fehmi Bülent Yıldırım declared to dozens of activists: “And we say: ‘If you [Israel] send the commandos, we will throw you down from here to the sea and you will be humiliated in front of the whole world'”, as participating passengers chant “millions of martyrs marching to Gaza!”
In September 2011, a United Nations report, after analysis of both Turkey and Israeli national investigations, concluded that the Israeli blockade was legal, but that Israel army used excessive force in this incident. The report also mentioned “serious questions about the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers, particularly IHH.”[UN Palmer Report 2011, p. 4.]
İHH abstained from the 2011 flotilla, citing outstanding damage to the Mavi Marmara.
In September 2011, Istanbul Deputy Public Prosecutor Ates Shasan Sozen told the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman that the IHH identified and submitted a list of 174 IDF soldiers to the Prosecutor’s Office.
Main article: Reactions to the Gaza flotilla raid
The flotilla event generated mixed perceptions of IHH. The group was described as a humanitarian group and as a charity following the flotilla event; however, the group was also challenged for alleged affiliations with organizations such as Hamas. Critics charged the allegations arose after the raid simply because of the scale of the political fallout from the raid. IHH maintained that the best way to judge it was its behavior and responded that “we collected US$1 million (Dh3.7m) for victims of the Haiti earthquake, and we delivered our aid in a church there.” Other IHH officials said the organisation is opposed to violence and relies on donations from the Turkish public, up to 80 per cent of which come from poor families.
Some of the allegations included that IHH has been banned in Germany, that IHH has raised funds for jihadi fighters in Bosnia, Chechnya, and Afghanistan, that French intelligence has documented calls between the group and an Al Qaeda boarding house in Milan, Italy, as well as Algerian militants in Europe, and that IHH reportedly played an “important role” in the Millennium bomb plot against LAX airport, Los Angeles.
That IHH was banned in Germany later turned out to be a mixup between the Turkish İnsan Hak ve Hürriyetleri and the banned German Internationale Humanitäre Hilfsorganisation e.V.. The U.S. government said it “cannot validate” any relationship or connection between İHH and al-Qaida. Turkish authorities made no further efforts after the raid regarding support for Bosnian, Chechen and Afghan fighters and IHH replied that there was an acquittal in the court case and nothing ever came of the charges. Testimony regarding IHH and the Millennium bomb plot was thrown out in court by a judge because it would “necessarily be based upon hearsay”.
An IHH board member responded in the Los Angeles Times that IHH provides charity in more than 100 countries. He stated there was no proof that IHH has any connections to Al Qaeda or its affiliates, and also said that its involvement with Bosnia and Chechnya amounted to food, clothes and medicine. Those who “accuse us of terrorism are the very people who kill innocent victims,” said Ali Cihangir, an IHH board member, referring to the Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara that left nine Turkish activists dead. “There are political reasons countries are saying this about us.”
According to The Times, a Free Syrian Army commander said that a boat carrying weapons docked in Syria in September 2012 and “was registered to members of the IHH, which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood”. Samar Srewel, an FSA activist who had helped to organize the consignment, told The Times: “It was clear from that second what was happening. The Muslim Brotherhood, through its ties in Turkey, was seizing control of this ship and the cargo. This is what they do. They buy influence with their money and guns.”
On 18 March 2016, Russia’s UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin sent a letter to the UN Security Council saying that three Turkish humanitarian organizations (NGOs) sent weapons and supplies to extremists in Syria on behalf of Turkey’s MIT intelligence agency during the Syrian Civil War. The three NGOs were the Besar Foundation, the Iyilikder Foundation and the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms (IHH).
Anadolu Agency reported that two employees of IHH, were detained for alleged links to al-Qaida, in a Turkish anti-terrorism police raids on 13 January 2014. IHH spokesman said that police searched its office in Kilis, near the border with Syria, and detained one of its employees. Another IHH employee was detained in Kayseri after a police raid at his home.
The IHH has repeatedly supported the (re-)conversion of the Hagia Sophia, a former Christian Cathedral which was converted into a Mosque after the Ottoman conquest of Istanbul and is now a Museum and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, into a Mosque, and in 2015 IHH organised and led political rallies in Istanbul, in an effort to support its cause.
Another alternative was of Harry ending up with Ginny Weasley, Ron’s younger sister, whose obvious crush on him served as a plot-line starting in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hermione informs Harry that Ginny has “given up” on him. In the subsequent Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, however, Harry develops a crush on Ginny, convinced that he has missed his opportunity with her. In the end Ginny turns out to never have given up on Harry after all, but merely taken Hermione’s advice to try to date other boys to boost her self-confidence. Though their romantic relationship becomes one of the few sources of comfort in Harry’s difficult life, he makes a decision to end it for fear that Voldemort would learn of it and target Ginny. Rowling later commented that she had planned Ginny as Harry’s “ideal girl” from the very beginning.
An interview with J.K. Rowling conducted by fansite webmasters Emerson Spartz (MuggleNet) and Melissa Anelli (The Leaky Cauldron) shortly after the release of Half-Blood Prince caused significant controversy within the fandom. In the interview, Spartz stated that Harry/Hermione fans were delusional, to which Rowling responded that they were “still valued members of her readership”, but that there had been “anvil-sized hints” for future Ron/Hermione and Harry/Ginny relationships, and that Harry/Hermione shippers needed to re-read the books. This incident resulted in an uproar among Harry/Hermione shippers, some of whom announced that they would return their copies of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and boycott future Harry Potter books, leveling criticism at Spartz, Anelli, and Rowling herself. Many of them complained that both sites had a Ron/Hermione bias and criticized Rowling for not including a representative of their community. The uproar was the subject of an article in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Rowling’s attitude towards the shipping phenomenon has varied between amused and bewildered to frustrated. In that same interview, she stated:
The release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in July 2007 saw an epilogue, nineteen years after the events at the focus of the series, where Harry and Ginny are married and have three kids, Lily, James, and Albus, and Ron and Hermione are also married and have two, Rose and Hugo. This has been received negatively by some fans, especially those who ship non-canon pairings. A result has been the “EWE” tag added to the summaries of fan-fiction, meaning “Epilogue, What Epilogue?”
Harry/Hermione shippers were somewhat vindicated in an interview with Rowling in February 2014 in Wonderland Magazine in which she stated that she thought that realistically “in some ways Harry and Hermione are a better fit [in comparison to Ron and Hermione]” and that Hermione and Ron had “too much fundamental incompatibility.” She stated that Hermione and Ron were written together “as a form of wish fulfillment” as way to reconcile a relationship she herself was once in. She went on to say that perhaps with marriage counseling Ron and Hermione would have been all right. She also went on to say in a talk at Exeter University that Harry’s love for Ginny is true, thereby denying any canon relationship between Harry and Hermione.
The 1995–2001 action/fantasy TV series Xena: Warrior Princess often saw “shipping wars” that turned especially intense due to spillover from real-life debates about homosexuality and gay rights.
Shortly after the series’ debut, fans started discussing the possibility of a relationship between Xena and her sidekick and best friend Gabrielle. Toward the end of the first season, the show’s producers began to play to this perception by deliberately inserting usually humorous lesbian innuendo into some episodes. The show acquired a cult following in the lesbian community. However, Xena had a number of male love interests as well, and from the first season she had an adversarial but sexually charged dynamic with Ares, the God of War, who frequently tried to win her over as his “Warrior Queen.” Gabrielle herself had once had a male husband, and his death deeply affected her.
According to journalist Cathy Young, the quarrel between online fans of the show about whether there should be a relationship between Xena and Gabrielle had a sociopolitical angle, in which some on the anti-relationship side were “undoubtedly driven by bona fide bigotry”, while some on the pro-relationship side were lesbians who “approached the argument as a real-life gay rights struggle” in which “denying a sexual relationship between Xena and Gabrielle was tantamount to denying the reality of their own lives”. She added:
In 2000, during the airing of the fifth season, the intensity and sometimes nastiness of the “shipping wars” in the Xena fandom was chronicled (from a non-subtexter’s point of view) by Australian artist Nancy Lorenz in an article titled “The Discrimination in the Xenaverse” in the online Xena fan magazine Whoosh!, and also in numerous letters in response.
The wars did not abate after the series came to an end in 2001. With no new material from the show itself, the debates were further fueled by various statements from the cast and crew. In January 2003, Lucy Lawless, the show’s star, told Lesbian News magazine that after watching the series finale (in which Gabrielle revived Xena with a mouth-to-mouth water transfer filmed to look like a full kiss) she had come to believe that Xena and Gabrielle’s relationship was “definitely gay.” However, in the interviews and commentaries on the DVD sets released in 2003–2005, the actors, writers and producers continued to stress the ambiguity of the relationship, and in several interviews both Lawless and Renee O’Connor, who played Gabrielle, spoke of Ares as a principal love interest for Xena. In the interview for the Season 6 episode “Coming Home”, O’Connor commented, “If there was ever going to be one man in Xena’s life, it would be Ares.”
In March 2005, one-time Xena screenwriter Katherine Fugate, an outspoken supporter of the Xena/Gabrielle pairing, posted a statement on her website appealing for tolerance in the fandom:
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