I am a remnant of the old revolution

thawra

I am a remnant of the old revolution, the 25th of January, 2011 revolution. I still remember the chants, the smell of tear gas, the fear I felt when I saw the Central Security Forces (CSF) running after us. I still remember.

 On the 30th of June, 2013, thousands of Egyptians went to the streets angrily demanding that President Mohamed Mursi step down. Dr. Mursi did several mistakes, and he is not really a good politician. He gave long speeches that were incomprehensible (at least to me) but he was not evil, he was trying to be as honest and transparent as possible.

 I didn’t go out on the 30th of June because there was no plan and no leader. When we did this with President Hosni Mubarak we took a leap of faith, but then the army took over and made our lives hell for a year and half. Military trials for civilians, curfews, assassinations of activists, massacres of Ultras Ahly in a Port Said soccer stadium, the killers of the January 25th revolution were acquitted, female protesters were forced to undergo virginity tests, among many other atrocities.

Now we are doing the same thing. The army came out and gave the opposition 48 hours to come up with a solution and surprise surprise…they couldn’t. So Mursi’s power was given to the high constitutional court, Judge Adly Mansour.

 I don’t know him, but if Liberals thought that the elections were fraudulent, well guess what? Adly Mansour was supervising those elections. He was also a long-serving judge under former President Hosni Mubarak. And NOW he holds all POWERS, so let’s hope he is a trustworthy person because then we are screwed.

 The 30th of June protests included activists, the felool (remnants of the old regime) and the police. Yes, the police was involved, an entity that is supposed to be neutral and protect everyone. The police were holding pictures of the martyrs whom they killed in the 2011 revolution, demanding justice.  The thought alone leaves me speechless.


Egypt internet

What now?

 Sami Anan, former Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces, announced that they regained their revolution, and expressed his happiness with the success of 30th of June revolution.

This is essentially a revolution of the revolution

General Sisi, the Minister of Defense, didn’t give a timeline for when this transition period would end and he dissolved the constitution. Which means we must continue to pressure the army to plan for the elections as early as possible.

 We are not done. This new revolution is not over.

This is essentially a coup because we didn’t elect the person in power now and the power is not in civilian hands.  

Even though everyone is refusing to admit it. Or maybe it’s as Robert Fisk suggested: “When is a military coup not a military coup? When it happens in Egypt, apparently.”

We ousted Mursi just like we did with Mubarak, and again gave the power to the army.

If Mursi had everyone under his control, how come the police went out against him? How come all those people marched against him? Because the police, army, and other governmental agents were not under his control. He was completely alone. I do believe he tried his best. 

Mursi did not shut down all channels that were speaking against him like what the army did this week with all the religious channels. 

military-coup-in-egypt-2-english

The military, state security and police are arresting the Muslim Brotherhood leader (déjà vu anyone?), they are arresting them without any charge yet. The sad thing is that they now will imprison them with the consent of the people.

 The Islamists and the Muslim Brotherhood made grave mistakes. They blindly followed their leaders, they refused to have a dialogue, and they assumed that refusing an Islamic state essentially meant that corruption would spread.

Those leaders gave their followers the feeling that their Muslim identity was under attack. I wish they would open their eyes and accept diversity, which includes everyone. I really wished they hadn’t excluded us like that.

During Mursi’s presidency the media was brutal, both the Islamist and the Liberal media. For a year it was as if the media was giving us shots of hate against each other and AGAIN we fell for it, just like during Mubarak ‘s time, and during the military rule in 2011. 

This new revolution brought hope to many but it also changed our lives.

As many celebrated, clashes happened causing the death of more than 20 people and injuring more than 200. More that 100 women were sexually assaulted and raped on Tahrir Square.

I can’t celebrate until this unknown transitional period ends. I hope Egyptians start tolerating each other and refuse to kill each under any circumstances. I wish we would learn to respect each other despite our differences. I wish we understand that the people in power don’t really care about us; they will do anything to protect themselves.

 To continue these devastating times the morning of july 8th 2013, the army raided the MB sit at the republic guard palace killing 53 people including 8 women, 5 children and 2 infants. My heart breaks for them.

People are still defending the army despite what happened and saying the MBs were armed. May I remind you of the Maspero protests where the army killed and ran over Christians with tank then they said the Christians were armed. They had a press conference concerning the MB massacre and they didn’t mention the 53 people who died. As if they were nothing.

 On July 9th , SCAF issues a constitutional declaration which is extremely dictatorial and clearly made to oppress people.

Is it too hard to get a leader who cares?

I wish for a true leader that wants what is best for this country. 

I want a leader who will fight for the fathers and mothers who have to go through hell everyday to put food on the table, who will fight for the women and men who decided to take a low paying job instead of working in prostitution and drugs, who will fight for all the children who had to run away from their abusive parents and forced to live on the streets because they have no where else to go, who will fight for the rights of minorities.

We are all brothers and sisters in this country and I shall fight for our rights, freedom, social justice, and bread…until my last breath.

afraid

Choose your battles

I promised myself I will not engage into this debate but it seems that its haunting me. Every time I log on to my facebook or any other news outlet there is an article on femen. Femen the “feminist” group who is claiming to save us Muslim women.

Now everyone is really entitled to be delusional in whatever way they want but what is really sad is that there are some Muslim women such as Muslimah Pride who decides to protest against them. I always learned to choose my battles and this battle is a complete waste of time and energy.

As human beings we were sent to this earth to protect and care for it and we are doing a very POOR job so far. Not only are we destroying the land but we are also wasting our energy fighting each other.

The concept of white women saving women of color has been there since the dawn of time that eventually evolved into non-Muslim white women saving Muslim women. There is a lot of Muslim women out there who have achieved so much such as

Yasmin Mogahed received her B.S. Degree in Psychology and her Masters in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After completing her graduate work, she taught Islamic Studies and worked as a writing instructor for Cardinal Stritch University, and a staff columnist for the Islam section of InFocus News. Currently she’s a freelance writer and international speaker. She also hosts Serenity, her show on One Legacy Radio and maintains her website, yasminmogahed.com.

Zainah Anwar is a prominent Malaysian non-governmental organization leader, activist and Muslim feminist. She was the head of Sisters in Islam for over two decades before stepping down. http://www.sistersinislam.org.my

Tawakkol Karman who became the international public face of the 2011 Yemeni uprising that is part of the Arab Spring uprisings. She has been called by Yemenis the “Iron Woman” and “Mother of the Revolution.” She is a co-recipient of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, becoming the first Yemeni, the first Arab woman, and the second Muslim woman to win a Nobel Prize and the youngest Nobel Peace Laureate to date.

Sarah Joseph is CEO and Editor of Muslim lifestyle magazine emel and commentator on British Muslims. She is a writer and a broadcaster and lectures on Islam both within the UK and internationally (USA, Europe, Middle and Far East). Sarah converted to Islam at the age of 16 in 1988 after being brought up as a Catholic.

Dr. Zainab Alwani is an Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies at the Howard University School of Divinity. She is an Islamic scholar, researcher, and community activist. In addition to being the first female jurist to serve on the board for the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), Dr. Alwani currently serves as the Vice President of the FCNA. Her research focuses on Quranic studies, Islamic jurisprudence, the relationship between civil and religious law in the area of family and gender, comparative religions, and inter-religious dialogue.

Heba Rauf Ezzat Egyptian political scientist and Islamic thinker and activist. She was educated in German Catholic schools and is at the point of receiving a Ph.D. in political science from Cairo University. Rauf has become a prominent spokesperson on gender issues in Egypt and on the Internet.

And many others….

All those amazing women were ignored along with their powerful work towards creating a change. Femen or any other white feminist group cant see our worth through our actions SO what makes you think you can show it through mere words?

And seriously the card of covered women are oppressed bla bla nonsense is getting too old and boring please find another worthy card to fight Islam. It is shameful for feminists to fight some thing and exploit other women in the process.

Choose your battles carefully; don’t waste your breath of lost causes. At the end I leave you with 2 pictures, the first one is a Somali women who mourning the death of her child because she can’t feed him, she kneels right there naked helpless next to him, the 2nd one a Femen member standing topless in front of the camera, she stating that their breasts is their weapon.

I say our mind is our weapon and I choose to fight for/with the Somali woman with all my heart, what about you?

SUDAN DEATHWASH 800px-French_Femen_activist

Street Children, Disability and Prostitution for Survival.

Nihal:

I wish for suffering to end …

Originally posted on nellyali:

Image

It was my third visit to the shelter. There was a happy atmosphere today which I later learnt always accompanied the arrival of a new baby. Shadia had come home with her new born after a C-Section the day before. I asked if I could go in to see her. I had never met Shadia before. I walked into the bedroom that housed 3 bunk beds and 6 single wardrobes, each padlocked. Shadia lay shaking in the middle of the well made bed. I panicked. I had never met someone with Parkinson’s disease before. My ignorance, both of the illness and of street children hadn’t prepared me that a child with parkinson’s could end up here. Shadia also had her left eye gauged out. But Shadia was beautiful.

I was new to my research with street children and still very unprepared for the heart ache that this work brought with…

View original 1,011 more words

Chime For Change: Between Exploitation and Fame

The topic of women’s rights is now a hot topic, everybody wants to work on it, one of the latest campaigns I have come across is “Chime for Change” where Beyoncé, Frida Giannini and Salma Hayek joins Gucci to do a campaign to bring in change. Ofcourse they are asking people to donate.

Here is my question why is it that Gucci asking for donation? Did celebrities and rich people suddenly stopped buying their $2,000 leather bags? Leather is probably made from an animal found in Africa where the women they allegedly are trying to help, here is a random thought stop killing animals leading them extinction. Stop killing the natural resources of those countries.

Beyoncé who makes about $40 million a year which is more that how much my entire family would make in a life time but yet she is calling people to donate, in the video Beyoncé is Chime for health. I have to ask here what is healthy to her? Do plastic surgeries fall under the category of healthy? From a Nose Job, Lip Reduction, Boob Job to Skin Lightening. Why would she do all this to herself? The answer is simple so she can look perfect and make more money. So sad and insecure!!!

Frida Giannini is an Italian fashion designer and currently the Creative Director of the Italian fashion house Gucci, She is chime for Education. What kind of education will she be promoting? That beauty and fashion are most important things for a woman? Again I am not jumping up and down.

Last but not least is Salma Hayek, She also had her share of plastic surgery, and she makes less money that Beyoncé but still makes enough for her to donate.

Almost everyone in this campaign endorses patriarchy through her movies, songs or clothes. They use women to sell more products or records. Women are just bodies to them. A way for them to make more money, they alter our perception of women to their own distorted narrowed vision of women.

The campaign doesn’t mention any local organization they are working with. Every activist who does field knows that in order to help a certain group of people you need the help of a local person or entity. I wonder if Beyoncé, Salma, Frida or Gucci asked the women in Africa or India about their needs. They are making assumptions. Seems like an elitist charity party that they are throwing to make them look better. What a shame!!!

The independent wrote “The campaign Chime for Change brought female empowerment to the world in the form of a concert, the Sound of Change Live, billed as a “feminist Live Aid” and broadcast to more than 150 countries across the world. “

I am in Egypt and I didn’t see it, or is Egypt not one of the 150 countries that received the broadcast? And Feminist aid? Really?

The videos they used to endorse their campaign were made by women and men who risk their lives by taking those videos and broadcast them. They did it for the sake of their women and country not for some rich people who think they are better.

Helping women requires a lot of work, not only on a financial level but also emotional and psychological level. You listen to their problem and try to find ways to help them and sometime you will have to surrender to the fact that you will be helpless many times.

It also requires that we get off our high horse and start holding each other’s hands. It requires that we stop believing that we are better just because have a college education. The only way we will be able to rise up as women of this world is if we start sharing knowledge and listen more than we talk. Criticize each other. Stop the “I will support you no matter what” syndrome as Dina Wahba said in her article to Aswat Masriya. NO I will no support you if you are not making sense.

There are lot of great feminists around the world who risk their lives and spirits every single day to help women in their struggle against patriarchy, apartheid and discrimination; those are the ones who truly need our support. I would suggest that Gucci get in touch with the local feminists in the countries they are targeting (if they really want help) and see what they need. Support the local communities.

To all those who has money to donate please think twice of whom you are donating to. Not everyone who says I am an advocate for women’s issue actually cares. Some are just in it for the money and fame.

 

 

 

 

 

VIDEO: What Do You See?

Originally posted on Beyond the Bombs:

Yesterday, innocent people suffered, governments stumbled, and economies faltered, but 32 youth leaders across the US and the Middle East know that tomorrow will be better. As delegates at last month’s Second Annual Summit of the American Middle Eastern Network for Dialogue at Stanford (AMENDS), these leaders are tackling issues ranging from education and environment to human rights and civil society. Their passion, enthusiasm, and commitment to change are truly inspiring.

 

For more information about each delegate and his or her initiative, click here. Also, check back with the AMENDS website for video recordings of the delegates’ TEDx-style talks about their initiatives at the Summit. You can watch last year’s talks here.

View original

AMENDS: 5 days at Stanford University

I was at Stanford University from the 13th till the 17th of April for the AMENDS (American Middle East Network for Dialogue at Stanford) Summit, where I met some of the most amazing people in the world. We were all so different but we all had one thing in common: we are all humans. Our humanity and our passion about making our world better is what brought us together.

AMENDS is a student initiative at Stanford University that brings together the most promising youth change agents from across the Middle East, North Africa, and United States to learn from each other, connect with global leaders and resources, and share, through TED style talks, their ideas and experiences with the world. Sponsored by the Stanford Center on Democracy, Development, and Rule of Law

The participants came from Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Israel, India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, and the USA. It was all overwhelming and I was actually a bit scared at first but the AMENDS team created a safe zone for all of us through very innovative icebreaker activities.  We introduced our names accompanied by a dance, which I found to be a bit crazy but it worked better than many icebreakers I have gone through!

We enjoyed a dynamic a discussion on the events of the Arab Spring with Dr Leena Al-Khateeb. I enjoyed the discussion because it helped me learn a great deal about the other countries who are undergoing revolution. It is truly inspiring and genuine to listen to people’s stories and really ‘see’ their perspective; much more so than to see it secondhand from the media.

The media mostly conveys only the negatives of the situation in the MENA region – but listening to everyone’s stories at the summit that day, hope was re-born in my heart.

We also attended a talk from Dr. Larry Diamond about which I had some reservations.. While the talk was interesting, to some extent Diamond made me feel as if he was telling me about my country. I would have appreciated it more if he would have talked about the Arab Spring countries with a little more sentiment and, crucially, if we the citizens of those countries were given a chance to engage more – as we only had the opportunity for a few minutes of questions.

We are also given the chance to attend a TechWadi Fundraising workshop, which I found to be very innovative and really help us as social entrepreneurs. They focused on how we can be creative in our work and how we can fundraise for our projects. What I have yet to discover on which they also emphasized is making a profit from projects. I am very skeptical about this concept of making profit from the work I am doing but listening to what the speakers have achieved was inspirational.

AMENDS crazy

We all have something to offer, we have different experiences and the best part of summits like AMENDS is that I could be a student and an educator at the same time. Sharing is the best way to learn because we can only change the world by working together.

Being at the summit affirmed my belief in speaking out and standing in the face of injustice. It proved to me that we can work together despite our difference.

I do my best to fight for women’s rights in Egypt ,but such a fight is accompanied with endless stories of women being somehow violated and this is very depressing, not to mention threatening. Sometimes I feel demotivated to even get out of bed in the morning. I’m often asked how I’m able to do all this and still be able to smile. The answer is very simple: it is because of YOU. Every person who has smiled at me, sent me a message me with words of encouragement or even just hugged me without saying a word – all of this makes me feel I am not alone and gives me the strength to continue.

I have realized it is not only about women, it’s about all of us as humans. We are all interconnected; our fights, our struggles, our passion, our creativity, our love. We stand together for freedom, we stand together defending each other’s free will and the best part is that we are having so much fun doing so.

We all came in with a dream and we left knowing it is possible to realize it and make it happen.

Last week I fell in love. I fell in love with more than 40 people.  I fell for people who can fly up to the heavens and back, people who walk tall and proud of who they are.

We may seem ordinary from the outside but we are capable of extraordinary things.

A special thanks goes to the AMENDS team for being so awesome in making our experience worthwhile.

At the end please take a quick look at the next world leaders http://www.stanford.edu/group/amends/cgi-bin/

Written by Nihal Saad Zaghloul


Edited by Yasmin Ghrawi and Naureen Shameem

Photo by Al-Nasir Bellah I. Al-Nasiry

Egypt’s Mutants in the Classy World

Written by Menna Tarek Khalil.
Menna Tarek

Once upon a time I came to live in Egypt when I turned 9. I kept convincing myself that Egypt is “Om el Donya” and my home country where I should live and  die! But what happened to me on Tuesday 12/2/2013 at L’Aubergine (Heliopolis branch) is unacceptable!!!

PAUSE

REWIND

I’m Menna Khalil. I was born in Kuwait and was raised with expats. So. I got used to accept differences. Then, came to live in Egypt when I was turning 9. I’m 27 with double major in English Literature and Fine Arts (painting). I work as a FreeLancer Trainer (Business English and Soft Skills). Moreover, I’m a Jewelry and Fashion designer now. Being veiled never stopped me from enjoying life to the maximum. I’ve friends from all over the world with different backgrounds, ideologies and preferences. I’m an advanced diver and I’m crazy about traveling and learning new languages.

 FASTFORWARD

PLAY

I had a birthday party in L’Aubergine Restaurant & Bar at 9:30. I was rushing to catch it. At the door the man (bouncer), who doesn’t know A,B,C how to deal with people, said: “VEILED WOMEN AREN’T ALLOWED TO ENTER”

Me: “EXCUSE ME!!!!!!” (I called my friend Karim and I asked him to come out and I asked the man to get me his manager. The manager comes (wearing casual and looks like BALTAGY (in other words no relation to what a MANAGER to a restaurant or a bar should look like, no offense to BALTAGEYA)

Me: “ARE YOU THE MANAGER?” (In SHOCK!!)

Manager: “AIWA ANA el manager!”

Me: “How come the bouncer tells me I can’t enter?”

Manager: “AHHHHHHH EL MO7AGBEEN MAMNOO3 YED5OLO”

Hala: “but we had an EXCEPTION for two!”

Me:“Excuse me if veiled aren’t allowed to enter. Why did you make an exception for two??”

Manager: “3ashan el 3adad kebeeeeeer.”

Me:“Since you made an exception, why didn’t you inform the people below you that under the name of Karim 2 veiled girls are entering???”

Manager: “………….. (Silence)

AH MA2OLTESH!!!!”

Me: “so I stand at the door with the bouncer telling me you can’t enter, till 7ADRETEK MATETLA3 AND SAY YES I CAN ENTER!!!!!”

Manager: “AHHHHHH!”

Me: “THIS IS AN OFFENCE AND I DON’T ACCEPT IT!!! YOU DIDN’T DO YOUR JOB!!!”

Manager: “………..(Silence)

3andek 7a2 ana nesseit a2oul, momken ted5ouly”

Me: “I DON’T WANT ANYMORE!!!!!!”

(BARE IN MIND GUYS ALL THIS CONVERSATION WITHOUT THE WORD “SORRY!”)

I said happy birthday to my friend and I went to another place, but I decided to take an ACTION against what happened and I’ll take all the LEGAL procedures against them!!!

L’Aubergine isn’t only discriminating veiled women of their own religion their own country, but discriminating Men according to their Complexion and Race!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Let me add another story to the same scandalous place L’Aubergine. An American friend of mine shared a story that happened to her own Black Sudanese friend!!

Rosita Navarro (American friend posting on Facebook) L’Aubergine also refused service to my Sudanese friend on his birthday after he had already made reservations. They discriminated against him as he showed up late to his own birthday celebration. He tried to lie and claim his reservations didn’t exist even though we were all sitting at his reserved table upstairs, then they claimed they only allowed couples in, so I went downstairs to get him so it would be a ‘couple’ then they kept giving him and our other Sudanese friend nasty looks and comments until we finally got up and left. They were disgustingly racist and I would never step another foot in that place.

STOP

PLAY

What do you think people of our community and famous places like l’Aubergine or other places who wants to embody the Western lifestyle, but don’t want to embrace the freedom of religion or how you express it!

Is Freedom allowing girls nearly topless to enter, but decent Veiled girls not to in an Islamic Arabic Country!!!!!!!

I can’t believe those places and this mentality which are sick with double standards!!  I can’t believe that I am ACCEPTED as being veiled out of Egypt and here people don’t!

No door selection has ever happened to me out of Egypt in Fancy restaurants, pubs or clubs though I’m different I’m more covered and I don’t drink but no one give me a look. Here in Egypt I think someone will lose his appetite if he saw a veiled woman eating on another table!!!!

Why are Women classified into Veiled or Non-Veiled, White or Black, Muslim or Christian? What is wrong happening with the rotten way of thinking and perceiving what is right and what is wrong?????

Places in my country made us STRANGERS who can’t fit in!!! Made veiled girls like Mutants in the Classy World!!!

They can’t accept us! Either we transform and change or disappear from their world!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,499 other followers