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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!


SAMAR “Tahrir”, my revolution. Episode 7 Nihal (ENG)

SAMAR MEDIA – “Tahrir”, my revolution.
Episode 7- NIHAL (Feb. 8)

Co-founder of Bassma Movement
Dokki, Cairo.
26.

Inspired by her family heritage and her faith, Nihal has been socially active in the community since she was a teenager. She explains how the revolution impacted on her way of life and her way of thinking. She has since created a movement made of volunteers called “Bassma” that works against sexual harassment in Cairo.

She denounces the attitude of the new government led by the Muslim Brothers. She adds that the new ruling Party has an obvious problem: “Woman”.

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

“مش هنسكت”.. شعار البصمجية فى دوريات للتوعية بمترو الأنفاق

“مش هنسكت”.. شعار البصمجية فى دوريات للتوعية بمترو الأنفاق

مش هنسكت”.. هو الشعار الذى اتخذوه فى عملهم التطوعى لخدمة المجتمع، بعد أن قرر متطوعو حركة بصمة، ألا يسكتوا على أى خطأ بالمجتمع، وهو ما جعلهم ينزلون فى دوريات للتوعية بمترو الأنفاق ورصد المخالفات والانتهاكات التى تحدث بمترو الأنفاق.