Egypt’s women make their demands

16 02 2011

Many who followed recent events would probably have noted that Egypt’s successful uprising against the President, Hosni Mubarak, has often been portrayed in media organisations as being dominated by men.  Now a recent article in BBC highlights the prolonged sexual assault of a female CBS correspondent in Tahrir square while she was reporting ont he fall of Mubarak.

It’s no surprise then that Egypt’s women and revolutionaries who were on the front lines and participated during the uprising have begun to make their demands.  The following extract discusses the road ahead.

Among these demands are women’s rights–a list including lack of sexual harassment, equal pay in the workplace, and representation in the government that were not articulated during the protests in spite of significant female participation. But will the unity–expressed in favor of specific women’s rights–exhibited during the protests themselves hurt women in their push for equality in a post-Mubarak Egypt?

The protests in Tahrir were an “incredible time” for women, according to Amal Abdel Hady of the New Woman Foundation, a nonprofit women’s rights group. The women in the square “represented all generations and social classes.” Still, Abdel Hady noticed that the media did not pay as much attention to them as they did to the men, leading to the perception that young men led the Egyptian revolution, with the female presence remarkable but less important. And “never mind the Egyptian media,” she said, which barely represented the reality on the ground, never mind the strong female role.

Abdel Hady is not the only one who noticed such discrepancies. Her colleague at the New Woman Foundation, Nawla Darwish, worries that because women were not organized during the protests, with specific rights in mind, women will not be served well in post-Mubarak Egypt. Historically, she told Al-Masry Al-Youm, women are commended for their participation in revolutions and then told to go home. Such a thing occurred in Egypt in the 1919 revolution, when women, who came out strongly against colonial rule, were largely ignored by the ruling Wafd Party. Is misogyny a stronger foe than Mubarak?

“We are living in a patriarchal society,” she said. And the values therein are strong enough to withstand even the groundbreaking protests of the 25 January revolution. The tokenism apparent in the representation of women in the Mubarak regime must be counteracted by a strong female presence even now that protests have subsided. The New Woman Foundation is working to collect testimonials from the women who participated in the protests, both as evidence and as a way to get women–many of whom had never been politically active before–to continue their involvement.

Nehad Abou El Komsan, chairwoman of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, likewise lamented the representation, or lack thereof, of women’s involvement in the protests in news media, both local and international. “The culture of society makes people blind,” she told Al-Masry Al-Youm. Now that the protests are over and many different people are vying for political influence, “we must document the participation of women, not just perception or opinion,” Abou El Komsan added. “We must lobby for participation of women in all committees and procedures,” leading up to and during the elections and the promised revision of Egypt’s national charter. No group now–not even those led by young people–are proactively making room for a female voice.

Whether or not women will have a larger role politically and socially in a post-Mubarak Egypt–and whether such a country will be more open to their rights–remains to be seen. Iman Bibars, the 60-year-old chairperson of the Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women, ran for parliament as an independent candidate in 2005. Her experience went beyond mere disillusionment. NDP officials and security threw out 3000 of the 5,920 ballots in her favor, she says, and prevented countless numbers of her supporters from voting at all.

Read the full article here.





Egyptian State TV’s propaganda

10 02 2011

To get English subtitles, click the title of the video to go to Youtube and press  the “CC” button.





Protester’s demands

6 02 2011

If you can read Arabic another letter listing demands of Egyptian protesters has been posted here.  This statement has apparently been circulated using facebook and has enjoyed popular acceptance.  Google translator gives the following translation:

We are a group of young people of Egypt, who were rejecting the reality of the country’s bitter that we have lived all under the regime of the ruling National Party in all its symbols and the policies that led the country to collapse and oppression, frustration, full
We do not belong to any religious or political movement based not adopt any prior agendas and do not call only to ideas that will be followed by her statement.
We are among those who went out and demonstrated in the days of honor 25.28 January, February 1st we collect on what is agreed upon by the people and the time of the need for change and the peaceful transition of power.
We heard you for the president’s speech last speech on February 1 in an attempt to restore the prestige of the state which has been shaken during the last period, as well as to restore stability and control of the country.
We, without delving into the details of this letter and the value or usefulness of what it says, which could go on the controversy, we want a genuine desire to unite our words so as not to lose our rights and our gains we have made during the last period in the light of our squad and not to our meeting on the clear vision of what will happen during the period next, after having lived the country difficult days of tension and lack of security and safety as a result of betrayal suffered by the Egyptian people.

Finally, to all of this we have decided to call what is to come:

1 – the urgent need to guarantee a peaceful transition of power in the coming period.
2 – what came to agree on the terms of a letter by Dr. Ahmed Zewail, and the statement of a group of businessmen and Egyptian intellectuals later annexed as that contained a clear vision and specific demands are listed and grouped in a scientific manner is subject to practical application.
3 – delegation of gentlemen above-mentioned to speak in our name, and considered the nucleus of the wise to set up and a dialogue among themselves and with Mr. Omar Suleiman, in his capacity as a representative of the existing system and take all what they see from the actions or decisions in order to extricate the country from the current crisis and to develop the vision and the perception of what should be the way things during the coming period.

These names might we thought through our follow-up of what is happening enjoyed it so much acceptable compromise and balance of views and represent various trends so as not to dominate opinion on the opinion or trying to one’s monopoly will of the people, and we ask those who agree with us we raised this to sign on this statement challenge.

‫ statement of the proposed names of the masters of the nucleus of the Distinguished Panel of the Wise: ‬
1 – Dr / Ahmed Kamal Abou El Magd
2 – Dr / Ahmed Zewail
3 – Naguib Sawiris
4 – Mr. Ambassador / Amr Moussa
5 – Advisor / Malt
6 – / Dr. Osama Ghazali Harb
7 – Dr / Amr Hamzawy
8 – Mr. / Munir Fakhri Abdel Nour
9 – Mr. Media / Mahmoud Saad

Via a phone call, a protester explains the demands of Egyptian protesters and the war of attrition that is currently ongoing. Listen to the audio here.

If Mubarak is interested in writing his legacy, he is blind.  It’s been written over the last two weeks.





Libcom.org publishes interview with Egyptian Anarchist

5 02 2011

Libcom.org has published an interview with an Egyptian Anarchist that provides a different perspective on the unrest.  Well worth a read.

2) The world is watching Egypt, and even moving in solidarity. However, due to the internet being cut, information was difficult to find. Can you tell me about what has happened in Egypt in the past week? What did it look like from your perspective?

The situation in Egypt is so crucial right now. It began with an invitation to the day of rage against Mubarak regime on January 25th. No one expected an invitation to a day of rage from a loose group, a Facebook page, not really organized, called “we are all Khalid Said”.

Khalid Said was an Egyptian youth who was killed by Mubarak police in Alexandria last summer. It was that Tuesday which started everything, it was the spark for the whole fire. On Tuesday big demonstrations were in streets in every Egyptian town, on Wednesday began the massacre. It began with trying to finish the sit-in in Tahrir square on Tuesday late night, and continued in the following days, especially in Suez town. Suez has special value in every Egyptian heart. It was the centre for resistance against Zionists in 1956 and 1967. In the same district that fought Sharon’s troops back in Egyptian-Israeli wars, Mubarak police carried out a massacre, at least four people killed, 100 injured, gas bombs, rubber bullets, fire guns, a strange yellow substance thrown above people (maybe mustard gas). Friday was called the Jumu’ah of Rage. Jumu’ah is Arabic for Friday, it’s the national weekend in Egypt, in many Islamic countries also, it’s the sacred day in Islam, because there are the big prayers on this day, called Jumu’ah prayer. It was planned for demonstrators to go on a march after this prayer, at noon. The police tried to prevent the marchers, with all of their power and violence. There were many clashes in Cairo (downtown, in Mattareyah (east of Cairo)), and all over Egypt, especially in Suez, Alexandria, Mahalla (in the delta, one of the centres of the working class). From noon to sunset people marched in Cairo downtown, to a sit-in in Tahrir till the removal of the Mubarak regime, chanting one slogan, “The people demand the removal of the regime”.

At sunset, 5pm CLT, Mubarak declared a curfew and brought the army into Egyptian towns. This curfew was followed by a planned escape by police, letting out the criminals and thugs which called Baltagayyah, and police planned a great escape of criminals in many Egyptian prisons to scare people in Egypt. With no police, many army troops couldn’t control the street. It scared people, and it was followed by a news jam on Egyptian TV channels, radio and newspapers, about Luddites in many towns, about thieves firing at people. People organized “people committees” to secure every street. It was welcomed by the regime to make people more scared about instability in the country, but it was also a point we could start from to build workers’ councils.

3) As of Wednesday, there have been clashes between pro- and anti-Mubarak people. Is that the correct way to describe it? Who are the “Mubarak supporters”? How are these clashes affecting the attitudes of average working class Egyptians?

It’s absolutely wrong to call it clashes between anti- and pro-Mubarak. The pro-Mubarak demonstration consisted of many Baltagayyah and secret police to attack the protesters in Tahrir. It only began after Mubarak’s speech yesterday, after Obama’s speech too. Personally I think Mubarak feels like a slaughtered ox that tries to throw its blood over its slaughterers; he feels like Nero, who wants to burn Egypt before his removal, trying to make people believe he’s a synonym for stability, safety and security. In this way he has really made some progress. The holy national alliance now has been formed against Tahrirites (Tahrir protesters) and Commune de Tahrir.

Many people are saying, especially middle class people, that the demonstrations must end because Egypt has been burned, famine has begun, and it’s not true at all. It’s only an exaggeration. Every revolution has its difficulties, and Mubarak is using fear and terror to stay longer. Personally I’m saying even if the protesters were responsible for this situation, even if this is so, Mubarak must

Read the whole interview here.

American Rosa Novarro talks about her arrest and how she and her friends were pressured by the military to confess to being journalists or spies.  It seems the latest tactic of the regime is to circulate conspiracy theories reagrding foreigners and spies infiltrating the protests.

Check out the terrible BBC coverage of the latest protests which put the numbers of demonstrators at “more than 100,000″ which is rather underestimating the turnout.  Additionally, preference and emphasis was given to Obama’s repeated speech instead of the continuing protests.  I wonder if the BBC haved decided enough is enough.








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