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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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!


الشهوة بين الخيال والواقع

وأنا صغيرة كان أبي مثلي الأعلى و كان بيشرب سجاير فأنا كان نفسي اشرب سجاير زيه بس أنا كان عندي 12 سنة فمكنش ينفع اشرب سجاير فكنت بشرب من ورا بابا و ماما. المهم ان بابا و ماما اطلقه و محدش بشرب سجاير في البيت،   في المدرسة بقى كان عيب شرب السجاير وكنت منبوذة

النهاردة في أكتر من ٨٠ ٪ من سيدات مصر بيتم التحرش بهم، ليه؟ أنا سعيدة انكم سألتم السؤال ده، بس قبل منقول ليه تعالوا نعرف التحرش: هو إنتهاك للمساحة الشخصية للمجني عليه/عليها بفعل يخدش ألحياء (نظرة متفحصة أو كلمة خادشة أو لمس). تعالوا بقى نرجع للسؤال اللي فوق، ليه؟ بعد بحث و كلام مع ناس يتمحور أسباب التحرش في إعلام، مجتمع والشرطة

egypt-harassment-graffiti-650_416

:الاعلام

طبعاً بعد إنطلاق النايل سات في عام ٢٠٠٠ و أصبح عندنا إنفتاح و لاوجود رقابة على ما يتم عرضه في الشاشات. و كل مخرج يخرج أي خرى عشان يشبع نزواته و رغباته وكل ده تحت راية التقدم و عشان نصبح شعب “Modern” المشكلة كثير من الأغاني والأفلام الست بتطلع فيها راقصة أو غانية أو زوجة عبيطة كل همها العيال والأكل و إشباع رغبات جوزها زي ما يكون هي ده بس قدرتنا؛ مخنا في رقص والطبيخ والرجل مخه مش بيفكر غير في الأكل و الجنس. المشكلة الأكبر لما يكون البطل بيتحرش بالبطلة طوال الفيلم أو الأغنية و هي سعيدة (أحا بجد). الصورة مهينة للرجل والست الحقيقة . الصورة ده مهينة خاصةً للرجل عشان كدة هو حيوان لا يستطيع السيطرة على رغبته الجنسية، مش عارفه الرجالة ساكتة الزاي الحقيقة. أما الإعلام الديني اللي معظم الوقت يخاطب الست انها لازم تتحجب و انها لؤلؤة لازم نحافظ عليها و منوريهاش لحد أو في إعلان أخر انها مصاصة و لازم تتغطى عشان الذباب مايجيش عليها (طبعاً الإعلان ده مهين للست انها حتت حلاوة ولرجل إنه ذبابة و لربنا إنه صانع حلوى). فاصبح هناك صراع؛ البنت نفسها تخرج من القالب ده والرجل نفسه يحطها فيه

:المجتمع

بعد طبعاً ما تشبع المجتمع كله سيداته و رجاله و أطفاله بالصورة ده اصبحنا بنعيش في مجتمع يسكت عن التحرش و شايف اني ده غلطة البنت عشان هي المسئولة عن إشباع الشهوة و إن مكانها في البيت سواء في المطبخ أو السرير. الرجالة مش كلهم متحرشين بالعكس أنا عندي ثقة إن المتحرشين أقلية بس انتم عارفين ليه منتشر عشان المعظم بيتفرج و عشان يريح ضميره بيقول هي السبب. الكارثة اللي حصلت هو التحرش الجماعي، التحرش جماعي حصل عشان احنا سكتنا على التحرش
الفردي.  كل واحد و واحدة سكتوا عن التحرش تسببوا في نشره لحد ما وصل ليهم والمضحك والمحزن إن محدش وقف في صفهم.  سخرية القدر

:الشرطة
الحكومة جزء لايتجزأ من المجتمع، يعني الشرطة مش من الفضاء ولا من دولة أخرى. بيتفرجوا على نفس الإعلام الزبالة بتاعنا و عندهم نفس المعتقدات. فلما البنت تتشجع و تاخد المتحرش من قفاه و تروح القسم الشرطي يقول لها بلاش محضر و متعمليش لنفسك فضيحة و الأهل يقولها هانجوزك ازاي وانتي عليكي قضية تحرش زي ماتكون هي المتحرش.

تعالوا كدة نبص إيه اللي بيحصل في حالة السرقة، الحرامي بيتسجن ويضرب ميت جزمة أما المتحرش يعتق و أحياناً الناس تهربه و يصبح هو البطل اللي بيقوم الست و يربيها. لتصبح الفلوس والاشياء المادية أهم من البني أدم (البنت) …. اه ياقلبي

لو احنا قررنا البنت تلبس و متلبسش إيه اصبحنا مثل المتحرش نتدخل في خصوصيتها. يا ريت محدش يقولي فقر و كبت جنسي عشان كدة احنا نثبت اننا مش بني أدمين بل حيونات لا نستطيع السيطرة على شهواتنا

كل دة أنا لم أقل ليه التحرش حاجة غلط أو جريمة. التحرش جريمة في حق الست والرجل. الست يعود عليها اضرار نفسية كتيرة أولها هو عدم الثقة في الرجال خاصةً الرجال اللي ماشيين في الشارع أي واحد ممكن يكون متحرش لتصبح عندها حالة من الذعر الدائم. في منزلها لا تطيق أحد أن يكلمها ولا يلمسها، عصبية دائماً، شايلة هم الشغل والمواصلات والشارع. مضر للرجل لانه يتحول من مواطن إلى عدو يجب تجنبه. أهل بيته دائماً في عصبية و ضغط نفسي فيكره بيته و يتجنبه

الحل من وجهة نظري اننا نتكلم و نقف مع البنت. نقف مع بعض رجالة و سيدات ضد المتحرش. نتعلم كلمة “عيب متعملش كدة”. 3 كلمات سهلين صح؟ بس مع الأسف ناس كتير بتتكسف تقولهم

كل ما نسكت كل ما الموضوع هايكبر و صدقوني في بنات كتير أوي طفح بها الكيل يعني مفيش سكوت يعني مزيد من العنف يعني مجتمع عنيف يعني مجتمع البقاء للأقوى يعني غابة 

أخيراً أنا بطلت اشرب سجاير عشان كنت منبوذة من أصحابي و أهلي كانوا مش راضيين و هنا اكتشفت إن المجتمع هو اللي بيقرر إيه اللي مسموح و إيه اللي مش مسموح.

يا رب تكون الرسالة وصلت.
Egypt-I-wish-youd-admit-Un-Women-Gallery1

How Egyptians are fighting harassment in the streets

How Egyptians are fighting harassment in the streets

Campaigners in Egypt took to the streets during Eid to highlight the rising problem of women being attacked in public

Day 8/16 of Activism Against Gender Violence: Fighting Back-Reclaiming The ‘Public’

Day 8/16 of Activism Against Gender Violence: Fighting Back-Reclaiming The ‘Public’

How and Why I started fighting and 

Unreported World examines the increase in sexual assaults and harassment in Egypt.

Unreported World examines the increase in sexual assaults and harassment in Egypt.

The programme reveals claims that young men are being paid to carry out horrendous mob attacks on women. It is claimed that this started under the Mubarak regime and it is suspected by some to still continue.

Women have been at the forefront of the Egyptian revolution but are now often fearful of taking part in the regular public demonstrations.

Sexual harassment is not a new problem in Egypt. In a 2010 United Nations survey, more than 80 per cent of women surveyed said they’d been sexually harassed.

But there are signs that the problem has got worse with the breakdown of public order since the revolution. Reports of mob sex attacks are on the increase.

Reporter Ramita Navai and director Dimitri Collingridge meet a young woman who has recently survived such an attack. Nihal was out at a protest in Tahrir Square with four other women. She managed to escape but her friend suffered an ordeal that is typical of these attacks.

She was stripped naked and dozens of men raped her with their hands. Nihal’s friend sustained internal injuries and couldn’t walk for a week. She has since fled Egypt. Nihal too was severely traumatised.

Nihal has become involved in Harassmap, an anti-sexual harassment movement that charts mob attacks and allows women to log sexual harassment. In the last two years the team has received more than 900 reports from women across the country.

Despite the publicity on the issue, the women themselves are worried about speaking about their personal experiences. It’s a taboo subject and many of them are even afraid to tell their parents what they’ve suffered.

Even when women decide to go to the police, they say they rarely receive help. Twenty-one-year-old student Dina has been the victim of several assaults. She claims that on one occasion she managed to alert a nearby police officer, but that he refused to help, telling her the attack was her fault because she was wearing the wrong clothes.