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.

 

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

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!


تقرير نهائي من فعالية “عيد بلا تحرش”

تقرير نهائي من فعالية “عيد بلا تحرش” تم انتهاء بالنجاح فعالية “عيد بلا تحرش” التي قامت بهـا حركة بصمة و حملة ضد التحرش في ميدان طلعت حرب خلال اخر ثلاث أيام عيد الأضحى المبارك. منعنا على طريقة التدخل السلمي اكثر من ٣٩ حالة تحرش منها ٧ حالة تحرش جماعي من خلال القيام بدوريات امنية في ميدان طلعت حرب و الشوارع المتصلة به. مسكنا عددا من المتحرشين، معظمهم اطفال، و سلمناهم الى الشرطة حيث تم تحرير ٣ محاضر،
نحب ان نشكر اعظم شباب و شابات مصر الذين تطوعوا بوقتهم و مجهودهم و وقفوا معنا ضد التحرش من اجل الحفاظ على امن شوارعنا و سلامة كل انسان الذي يمور بها.
نذكركم ان حركة بصمة كيان اجتماعي تطوعي ليس لها توجهات سياسية أو دينية بالتالي فاننا نرفض العمل مع أي كيان سياسي و نرحب بالعمل مع الأفراد فقط بمختلف توجهاتهم. رغم نشر معلومات غير صحيحة عن مشاركة شباب 6 ابريل وأحزاب أخرى في الفعالية, كل متطوعينا شاركوا بـصفاتهم الشخصية فقط. مع كل احترامنا للحركات الأخرى التي نزلت لمحاربة التحرش و من اجل نفس الهدف,
حركة بصمة ترفض استخدام العنف الجسدي او اللفظي على الاطلاق مؤكدة أن المتحرش ما زال انسانا ولديه حقوق, نرفض أي احتراق هذه حقوق و بالتالي نؤمن بان العنف ليس وسيلة فعالة في محاربة التحرش و لا تؤدي الى بناء مجتمع امان.
نوكد انه محاربة التحرش تحتاج الى مشاركتنا كلنا لنرجع الاخلاق للمجتمع و نرفض معا اي انتهاكات ضد اخواتنا و ضرورة المساندة لنظام المحاسبة الرادعة و العادلة لمرتكبين هذه الانتهاكات.
في انتظار مشاركتكم في بناء مستقبل خلي من التحرش

منقول عن حسن نصار أحد مؤسسي حركة بصمة 

آخر النهار: مواجهة ظاهرة التحرش في مصر

تقديم محمود سعد ، ضيوف حلقة اليوم دينا حسين منسق حملة ( نفسي) لمواجهة التحرش ، إيزيس خليل مدونة وناشطة – دينا حسين: هناك تقاعص من أجهزة الأمن ضد هذه الظاهرة ، وزير الأمن لم يصدر أي تقرير حول هذه الظاهرة، نطالب بوجود أمناء شرطة لتطبيق غرامة فورية للمتحرش بالأضافة للمساعدة في القبض على هذا الشخص ، إيزيس خليل : لابد من تحرك شعبي بهدف وقف ظاهرة التحرش في مصر، لا توجد أليه لمعاقبة الفاعل في القانون المصري

التحرش الجنسى .. خطر يهدد نساء مصر

My interview with Moataz El-Demerdash on Sexual Harassment

Education, media and Parental guidance

The following post might be offensive to some, so if you are offended on reading about sex or sex organs or anything related please dont read this post.

After having another successful patrolling in the subway I was invited on the show with Moataz AL-Demerdash to talk about the event and discuss a bit the case of Iman the girl was killed by her harasser when she spat in his face after he sexually harassed her. They caught the harasser today 21/9/2012 which is about 11 days after she was murdered.

Anyway the interesting part was the way there, I was picked up by the most amazing and talkative driver, a 45 year old Masaod. He is married and has 3 sons and one of them is still in high school, he is religious and doesnt have college education just a high school degree. He has white hair with a fair skin, he walks with a smile greeting everyone that comes his way. He always talks about everyone in a good way. He talked to me how he faced death on the 28th of January 2011 and how all he wished for was to call his family to tell them where he might die but he couldn’t because all the phone lines were cut off. “I prayed to God to save me” he said ” I couldn’t do anything but to pray and then I saw well looking man who stopped me and hid me with the car, his family made me tea and a place to sleep, I slept till morning when everything was calm again”. “You are a lucky man, may God blees you” I said.

He then asked me what I am doing and why I going on the show. I told him that we are fighting sexual harassment, he was amazed and he said he can never understand how can some men stoop so low.

“I always talk to my son” he said “I always do my best to spend time with him even tho i finish work at 2am, I wake him up to pray fajr then we speak for bit and I try to guide him. When kids grow they can feel the change in their bodies, please forgive me but may i be open in speaking?” I told him yes please be open.

“Women start to grow breast and men start having something that grows out of their bodies that they really dont understand fully, so he might play with it out of curiosity. So I asked him if anything has ever “fallen” from his male organ?  he replied yes father, so i explained to him what it was and that he cant pray in case this happen and that he has to wash before praying. I explained him the meaning of lust and that movies with sexual images or scenes would provoke feelings of lust and sexual urges in him which is not healthy nor right. Whenever we watch TV I always direct to american action movies not Egyptian movies” I asked him why not Egyptian Movies?

“Egyptian movies and media now has become very sexual in their plots and scenes which is not right to be shown to teenagers. They show sex as dirty.” he continues ” I explained sex to him and that it is best when it with someone he loves, his wife. Parents need to explain these things to their kids. not feel shy about it, explain as if they are both in bed”

“Would you support sex education in schools?” I asked

“Yes” he answered “we cant make them always feel that sex is wrong or that being around women is wrong. Sex is not bad when it is with your wife or husband. Most teenagers go around touching other women out of curiosity because they want to explore.”

I said ” but groping other women is very wrong and makes a woman feels like shit”

He replied “yes absolutely, thats why we need to change our way of raising up our children. Teach them to respect women and that women and men are the same, we are all human beings”

“some people suggest legalizing prostitution” I said ” so that if a man is feeling sexually frustrated he can go find a woman who would agree to having sex with him in return for money, I mean otherwise some men just rapes women”

“Rape is inexcusable” he said ” I really dont understand rape, its like someone holding a pen going around making holes in a piece paper, the man feels no enjoyment and the woman is in pain. but when both are in agreement its like 2 hands holding a crayon painting beautiful picture.” “As for prostitution” he continues ” we cant fix this problem with another problem. what we could do is facilitate marriage so that this would not happen that someone would feel sexually frustrated. Parents should talk to their kids, my sons never shy to come and talk to me and I try to guide them to right path.”

“But some men are just simply sadistic, they like to see women in pain” i said. He said “yes and those men should be thrown in jail”

“My wife went to Umra once and I stayed with the kids, for an entire week all i made them eat was eggs and pasta, i washed clothes, and worked. It made me think how strong my wife is. I can not live without her she is my other half. I always feel bad if I ever upset her she takes care of me and everyone”

“Islam and going back to God is the answer to our problems” he said “It is because of him that we were victorious in the revolution at the beginning once we walked away from him and got divided, we lost everything.”

“But most of the Islamic leaders now a day focus on the appearance but not in what is in the heart” i commented ” so many people would look religious but they are not”

“He said thats why we should read, educate ourselves and not follow blindly”

As a conclusion from this conversation with Masaod; Educating our children and guiding them is extremely important other wise they would turn to their friends or worse the media. The media that portrays the woman as a sex object or that she is only good in seducing men and luring them into doing what she wants. She has to be beautiful and sexy all the time. Then they portray the strong women as either bitches or have a failed marriage.

The image of women became distorted and we are treated like flesh ups for grabs. Property of who can pay the higher price. Even in marriages specifically in the middle east the family asks for a high dowry and expensive apartment which is something very hard to secure for someone who is just starting his life but it also puts a price on the woman that she is expensive. What is really sad is that if that woman wasn’t a virgin she would be given away for “free”. The family would do anything to get rid of her at this point it doesn’t matter how she lost her virginity whether it was with someone she loves or if she was raped she brought shame to her family.

Be careful what you allow your children watch, be aware of what you are watching and what kind of ideas are put into your head.

One of best friends she is always puzzled by many Arab men, she says they always ask if she is a virgin but they never ask if she can read. She is right we reduced the worth of women to their hymen. We are human beings we enjoy sex and get sexually aroused just like men we are not made solely to give pleasure to the man and help in multiplying the numbers of human beings. We are capable of so much more in fact we are capable of doing anything and everything. We need to stop blaming women for what men do to us (women) no more victim blaming.

I have seen many strong women and men who gives me hope that tomorrow will better and that day after day women are getting stronger and strong men are empowering them.

Finally please watch the following video just to give a sense what the media is doing to the image of women and men