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Sibel Speaks Out

I've blogged here a couple of times about my friend Sibel Kekilli, who played Shae on GAME OF THRONES. Sibel is bright and beautiful, a joy to work with, and she made a great Shae. I've said more than once that it was probably a good thing the character was already dead before I met Sibel, or I might never have had the heart to kill her. ((Show Shae, thanks to David and Dan and Sibel, was actually a much different and more interesting character than Book Shae, I blush to admit))

Last winter, Sibel visited Santa Fe and I showed her the town, and a television crew from the German travel show AFTER DARK filmed our adventures. More recently, I visited Hamburg, Sibel's home town, and she returned the favor (without the TV crew). I blogged about that below.

There's a lot more to Sibel Kekilli than just Shae, though. She has twice won the Lola for Best Actress, the German Oscar, for roles in feature films, she is presently one of the stars of the long-running German police procedural TATORT... and she has long been politically active, speaking out on controversial subjects, most notably the treatment of women in traditional Islamic culture.

Recently she was invited to the German "White House," where she addressed that subject once again in a speech before Joachim Gauck, the president of Germany.

You can read an English translation of her remarks here:


Sibel was speaking as an ambassador for Terre Des Femmes, a Hamburg-based non-profit organization dedicated to fighting violence against women, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, trafficking, forced prostitution, and "honor" killings. If any of you would like to supprt Terre Des Femmes in their work, you can make contributions via their website at: https://www.frauenrechte.de/online/index.php/home-engl

Some of the things that Sibel and Terre Des Femmes fight against are dramatized in A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE... but, sadly, they are not just fantasy, but real problems in the "enlightened" modern world we live in. I applaud Sibel for her courage in speaking out against them... her words have come at great personal cost, I know, and made her a lot of enemies... but as someone wiser than me once said, all that in necessary for evil to triumph in this world is for good men (and women) to say nothing.



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Jul. 14th, 2015 10:30 pm (UTC)
Beauty, brains and talent. What a lovely lady.
Jul. 14th, 2015 10:47 pm (UTC)
Talented and inteligent person
Marvelous person Miss Sibel. She made a wonderful job at GOT giving life to Shae, giving life and empaty. I loved her person, until her betrayal. :P
Jul. 14th, 2015 10:56 pm (UTC)
It bears repeating. A remarkable woman.
Jul. 14th, 2015 10:57 pm (UTC)
Now if only more women (feminists) in the United States would have the courage to speak out on this topic, the world would take a larger turn for the better.
Jul. 14th, 2015 11:19 pm (UTC)
More power to Sibel and so many across the world who are fighting the gatekeepers of patriarchal fiefdoms that are modern religions.

We in the east speak out even with the fear of our lives from radicals and the very governments which are supposed to protect us whereas, the fear of being clubbed with the right wing and being called a racist has made so many in the west scared of speaking out against these medieval institutions of hatred.
Jul. 14th, 2015 11:39 pm (UTC)
Wolves & Woman
First your undaunting support of wolves & now women's rights around the world via the incredible Sibel..you have a beautiful soul Mr. Martin!
Jul. 14th, 2015 11:56 pm (UTC)
Sibel was fantastic!
Jul. 15th, 2015 03:06 am (UTC)
Obviously you have faced a lot of criticism and your fair share of controversy over your portrayal of rape and sexual assault in the series. I think it is rather ridiculous to chastise an author for correctly portraying things that would have doubtlessly occured if Westeros was a real place. Rape occured in medieval Europe like Westeros is based off and it occurs today. Acting as though it never happened or never existed is the wrong way to handle it. I would just like to thank you for your accurate portrayl that doubtlessly made some fans of your works come to the realization of how badly women were treated and are treated at the hands of cruel men.
Matthew Taylor
Jul. 15th, 2015 03:23 am (UTC)
What about Genital Mutilation of Males?
Dear George,
Thank you for highlighting and endorsing Sibel's important advocacy!
I am curious, do you also condemn the genital mutilation of males? As a believer in equality, I am horrified and disgusted by our country's continued practice of the procedure euphemistically called "circumcision," which I call "partial penis amputation" because that's far more accurate. I also get annoyed when I see the U.S media excoriate African tribes for their practice of "female genital mutilation" without acknowledgment of what is done to millions of males right here at home. I believe *all* forced genital mutilation is wrong, regardless of the sex or gender of the victim. I personally feel a lot of rage and depression about what was done to me as a baby, and knowing that the most sexually pleasurable parts of my genitals were cut off (the frenar band aka ridged band, and the frenulum) haunts me. All this made it especially hard to watch the Theon torture scenes in the GoT show, realizing something like that had been done to me when I was 2 days old. I noted that there was far less media outrage about the sexual torture of a male than other show scenes involving women. Men hurt, too.
Thanks for considering this, and I am curious as to your thoughts.
Jul. 15th, 2015 04:04 am (UTC)
I couldn't agree more with Sibel, and I applaud her courage in saying it. It's sad that speaking about the oppression of women needs courage, but these days it does, and she has my total admiration. Thank you for drawing my attention to Terre Des Femmes, an organisation I will be glad to support.

Some of the things that Sibel and Terre Des Femmes fight against are dramatized in A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE... but, sadly, they are not just fantasy, but real problems in the "enlightened" modern world we live in.

Pree-cisely. (I feel a soapbox moment approaching...) As a lifelong feminist, I have always been mystified by criticism of ASOIAF on the grounds that it contains material about sexual violence and the like, because to me those are valuable feminist elements in the works. They powerfully illustrate the oppression of women in general and also the ridiculousness of the concept of war as a clean process in which women remain untouched noncombatants.

And I also very much appreciate the feminist approach to drawing the female characters. Just as with the male characters, there are a range of women, all with their own approaches to life. Women in a fantasy novel being fully realised humans, rather than adjuncts to men, seems a low bar to set, and yet in so many fantasy novels that bar is never passed. I particularly enjoy the contrast between Arya and Sansa. Arya at first glance looks like the type of female character who has become a bit of a cliché in fantasy, the tomboy who shrugs off the usual strictures placed on women, but I love the way that cliché is subverted by the toll it takes on her, making her darker and more damaged with every step along the road. In contrast, Sansa is at first glance a cliché of femininity, but again that is swiftly subverted and I love the way her initial naivete evolves. Sansa's weapons are very different from Arya's: she's armoured by her courtesy and diplomacy and by her intelligence. Yet she is no less effective than Arya. Thank you so much for all of that.

John Nelson
Jul. 15th, 2015 05:47 am (UTC)
Strong, talented women...that she is.
I am a Wikipedia junkie when it comes to actors on shows, especially obscure ones like Sibel, so I had known all this stuff you mentioned. Her character was on of my favorites, as I had known many *Sibels* in the past (Women with poor reputations trying to rebuild them selves into a higher quality, only to have it knocked down again). I love how her politics and life purpose was in alignment with her character. It added depth to her performance. I love the fact that the majority of the cast has something going on in their lives beyond acting...either literature, politics, or intellectual pursuits. That's the main reason why I love watching the show.
Jul. 15th, 2015 06:32 am (UTC)
This to me is excellent. The more people, and the more well-known people speak out for those with less of an opportunity to do so themselves. Kudos to her for all her hard work.
Jul. 15th, 2015 06:54 am (UTC)
I strongly recommend watching "Head-On", a movie from long before GoT. A brilliant piece that tackles some of the issues Kekilli is speaking out against.
Jul. 15th, 2015 09:27 am (UTC)
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Heike Godfrey
Jul. 15th, 2015 12:33 pm (UTC)
Im from Germany and dident know Sibel since the show came out (im probably the only person in Germany who doesn't watch Tatort), but i loved here ever since. She is doing a great job speaking out and that i admire. She has found a good friend in you, thanks for supporting her.
Jul. 15th, 2015 06:02 pm (UTC)
You're not the only one. I rarely watch a a TV crime series made in Germany. I much prefer the British ones.
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George R.R. Martin
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