A trip back home

Waking up at 5:30am yesterday to take a flight back home after a short night of being really sick and exhausted. I arrive at the airport with a terrible headache and a frown on my face. I want to smile but i cant. I am waiting for my colleagues to finish filling up the passport control form I look down and I see 2 sisters; the older sister is hugging her younger sister, making sure she doesn’t wander off. The older sister is 4 and the youngest is one and half.

I smiled and for a sec my headache was gone.  I wished to be a child again, I wished to unlearn everything I know about the world.
I am exhausted not because of work but because so many tragedies have been happening, Yara Sallam is in jail. I know others are in jail too but Yara is someone I know.
Salmah, A women resource center in Sudan, one of the centers i am working with got shut down by the Sudanese government, Salwa Bugaighis, Libyan human rights activist was murdered in Libya and more than 200 girls are still missing in Nigeria. It felt like a crack down on human rights defenders all over the region.

I learned that God is our judge, but i grew up and re-learned that societies have made themselves gods as well. They judge whoever is different. Whoever who wants justice and equality. They kill and torture under the name of God and claiming to protect us from hell. I re-learned that should fear society more than God, it was like this unwritten unsaid rule.

My friends are ready to go, I glanced at the 2 little girls and left one last time. I got on to a plane, an oval box, breathing recycled air, I feel sick again. Luckily it is not a long flight. I am home. A security officer at customs asks why I was traveling and what is my job? I hesitate then I reply “Women’s right” he looks at me laughing and mocks me. I take my passport puzzled, “did he laugh because of the word rights or women or both?”

 

It is very hard to work under such difficult circumstances but i look at my African and Asian sisters working under harsher conditions and I feel empowered. I understand now. We have to work collectively and cross culturally to achieve a change. We must continue to fight the power structures. Use every single tool that we have to make a change. Question everything you know.

 

Women of the world YOU ARE NOT WEAK AND YOU DON’T NEED A MAN TO SAVE YOU. The only way that any kind of change will happen is when we admit we are humans, equal and powerful. We walk next to each other, men and women.

 

I may not see a change in the system but I am praying and working so that those 2 little girls and every child in this world would.

 

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

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!


ليه لأ ؟ | Why Not ?

شاركنا وأبدأ البناء معانا .. غير الواقع

:تابعونا على فيسبوك
http://www.facebook.com/Imprint.Movement.eg

:وعلى تويتر
http://twitter.com/Imprint_Mov

حركة بصمة
حركة اجتماعية تطوعية ليس لها أي توجهات سياسية أو دينية تأسست في يوليو 2012 بجهود شبابية خالصة انبثقت من رحم الثورة في محاولة لبدأ البناء المجتمعي بعد ظلام دام أكثر من ثلاث عقود في ظل حكم جائر قامع للحريات والأفكار وفرص الإصلاح
مع تغير الساحة السياسية وآليات صناعة القرار نتوسم الأمل في تحقيق تطلعاتنا مما يحتاجه المجتمع من إصلاح وتقويم ودعم للايجابيات وأيضا الوقوف كخط دفاع  ضد أي سلبيات تشوه مجتمعنا المصري

The Imprint Movement (Harakat Basma in Arabic) is a voluntary social organization founded in July 2012 to confront some of the most challenging issues in Egyptian society, from widespread illiteracy to the plight of street children. The movement’s first project focuses on combating sexual harassment.

A call for action

Today I went to a funeral of the brother in law of a friend of mine, he died because of an heart attack and he was 26 years old almost my age. I was really frustrated to hear the news just because he is my age and suddenly just like that he was gone. The scene at the funeral was heart-breaking, his mom and brother at the door and people are paying their respects while they are trying to hide their pain and holding their tears from flowing, his fiance same thing while greeting everyone with sadness in her eyes for losing her partner before even starting their life together, his friends sitting their with tears in their eyes probably remembering all the good times they had with him. My friend was devastated crying and at the same time trying to console her in laws for losing their son.

It took me back when I was in university i had a friend who always used to say i wish i would die and she used to say it in a very comfortable way, we used to respond saying dont say that hopefully Allah will not give you such evil, she used to respond death is not evil its good, i will be with my creator; He will treat me better than the people on this earth.

Years later my best friend showed me this video about a woman talking of how beautiful death is and I understood what my friend meant. Since the Arab Spring a lot of people died just because they called for freedom, bread and social justice. I faith that Allah has sent them to heaven.

We must realize that death is closer than we think and in order for us to face it with a smile we must be productive in our lives and do things that would positively impact others. Lets start taking matters into our hands and stop depending on others to make changes while we sit and watch. We all have talents and we are all unique as a result our contribution to the world will be unique.

Fight for Freedom…fight for justice…fight for love…fight to gain control over your life…fight for what you believe in…your silence will not do anyone any good it will only do harm and will let you go through life unnoticed. we are all here for a reason and we should find out what that reason is.

We must seek the truth..the truth about everything…question everything..everything you were given you were given for a reason. we are humans therefore we must think and think critically about everything.

This is not a call for depression but a call for action to make our lives worth while…

When I die i hope people would remember my good deeds, if i ever hurt anyone please FORGIVE me.

Everyday we wake up its a new day…a new chance for change…new life to impact…smile when u wake up..enjoy the times you have with family and friends…make the best out of every minute with them…dont argue over petty things but create a dialogue and make the effort to understand them.

We will not live forever but our deeds will…

“It’s better to die upon your feet than to live upon your knees!” Emiliano Zapata Salazar

Whats Next?

So now we have an elected president “Mohamed Morsi” who doesn’t really strike me as a revolutionary I mean we all know that he was the spare of the Muslim brother that came to replace Al-Shater but all that doesnt matter now we must help get through this because whether we like him or not if he succeeds we all do if he fails we all will fail.

Many people are saying the revolution continues and we must face the SCAF others are saying we must bring them to justice. Now they are 2 institutions against each other SCAF and Muslim Brotherhood so any confrontation will end up violent and bloody.

What does SCAF want? a safe exit? share of the economy? what if we give them this and at the same time we pull the rug from underneath them step by step. Whether we like it or not they are there and its a fact, the only way we can get rid of them swiftly is through a civil war, we really would be VERY naive to think they will give up power and wake away. They WON’T….

lets focus on putting a constitution, getting back the parliament and do rehabilitation of the police. Lets do what Germany did..Germany was divided but they kept on united and they kept on elections then a generation after a wall came down and look at Germany its one of the leading countries in the EU.

I know that many will consider my post as treason but I think its the best peaceful option we have right now, it will take longer but its better on the long run than creating a war now with SCAF especially that they have the weapons.

lets all remember that we all have a duty towards to the country and that having a president doesnt mean we sit back and let do all the work because he cant and wont succeed without us.

As for all the fears towards the muslim brothers. The muslim brothers have more problems that veiling women or having them stay at home. If they tried will stand aganist them because a) we wont let them control our freedom and b) we wont let them destroy our economy by imprisoning 50% of the workers in Egypt.

The revolution continues on the streets and in the offices and in our Hearts but we must wisely continue it without being the puppet of anyone. The only way to do that so to do what is not expected collaborate not collide. Focusing on the development of the country doesnt mean forgetting the punishment of the those who did us wrong but just postpone until we are in full power or at least when we have enough power to bring them to justice without causing a war between us and SCAF

Marwan-The youngest freedom fighter

This is Marwan, he is was fighting with us on the battle of Mohamed Mahmoud because he believed in the cause. he said i am fighting them because they are trying to take away my home (the streets) .

This is a reminder of whom we are fighting for. I hope one day we will be equal and we will all live with dignity

دة مروان كان معنا في محمد محمود، سألته إنت ليه هنا قال لي إن هو هنا عشان الشرطة عايزة تاخد مكانه (الشارع)…يا ريت نفتكر احنا بنعمل ثورة لمين و ننسى مصالحنا الشخصية شوية عشان إلي مش عارف يعيش يقدر يعيش بكرامةImage