Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Disillusioned...at last!

I am really sorry, but I just had to type this down. I totally love and appreciate the messages of support I receive from many foreign brothers and sisters, over FB and Twitter, expressing their pride and support for the women who were part of our revolution. But I just started feeling weird, somehow offended, receiving more of those "surprised" messages. Some people, unconsciously, internalize the sexist and discriminatory thoughts on women, specially Arabs and Muslims, and it shows in the: "I am dazzled and surprised. Wow, did not expect them to do this" messages. I mean, why should you be surprised that women in my country go out of their homes and protest? Why should you be astonished that I am as great a citizen as any other man taking part in the revolution? At least I hope you now deconstruct these stereotypical images and stop being so surprised when we do the normal. You have no excuse. You have seen us revolt! :)

Take Samira Ibrahim as an example of a normal, Egyptian woman/revolutionary. She has been subjected to virginity tests.
Virginity tests? What is that?  

It is SCAF's way to break the spirits of Egyptian female activists. Samira was arrested and tortured on march, 9th last year. She has been subjected to "virginity tests", which the military conducted claiming they wanted to prove she was not raped (in case she claims so) while being arrested. She spoke out and empowered 3 more ladies, out of 17, to also speak out against it. Samira did not ask for money or any financial compensation/Compensatory Damages, only asked for banning the practice. The result of their fighting was that the practice was banned by Egyptian law some months ago for its "harmful physical and psychological impact" and uselessness. She has managed to save many female activists. Now she is suing the soldiers who did this to her. He has been cleared by military court and now she is resorting to the general prosecutor. she never stops, and we all won't do!

And after the butcher, aka doctor was cleared by the MILITARY court, here is a photo of her crying and here are some of her statements:

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2502704025767&set=a.1212873260804.24898.1797984900&type=3 :
Samira Ibrahim: "Nobody violated my honor, it was #Egypt's honor that was stolen, but I will continue to the end to retrieve it."

Samira Ibrahim: They won't break me. I come from a conservative community, upper Egypt, and they all are supporting me, standing against SCAF. Military court would never be just or fair. I won when the practice was banned by court, I did not lose. Many girls don't have to worry about virginity tests anymore. But I will keep on fighting until I see this officer punished.

And after this photo was taken, she went with a group of women to protest in front of the ministry of defense, carrying a sign that reads:"You won't break me."http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=364329870267139&set=a.308313695868757.75890.308169565883170&type=1

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2503193237997&set=a.1212873260804.24898.1797984900&type=3 She might have cried, but she is now standing in front of the ministry of defense delivering a message:" You won't break me. I am fighting till the end."

It is true. We are politically & socially oppressed as women in Egypt. But how did we react? What happened? Conformity? Passiveness? Giving in? Nah, EMPOWERMENT. We empowered each other, and we fought back!

And here are SOME of our women martyrs during the first 18 days of January 25th Revolution:


Hadeer, 13 years old.

Christeen Sila

Sally Zahran

Shaimaa Fouad

Rahma Mohsen

Mariam Makram

And many more were injured. Many more continued to live and suffer injury for the rest of their lives, including Dr Maram. This is her 

carrying her own photo after injury. 

She has been shot many times on January, 

28th, 2011, on Qasr El Nile bridge. 

She was standing defying the police officers 

shooting directly at protesters. 

She was trying to speak to them and make 

them stop, but they shot at her. 

She was severely injured, and got part of her 

stomach and other damaged organs removed.

One of the female doctors volunteering to treat the wounded at Tahrir.

The Egyptian women fight began way before the revolution. This photo was 

taken in 2010.

This photo was taken of a protester, fine arts student, during the famous Mohamed Mahmoud clashes where many were killed in 2012, 2013. And many others lost their eyesight when shot by birdshots directly to the eyes. She was collecting stones for the revolutionaries, like herself, to throw them in an act of self-defence at the security forces who were firing tear gas, rubber coated pellet shots at them.

This is Vivian. She is holding the hands of her martyr Fiancee Micheal. They used to work together at the same place. They got engaged and they loved each other dearly. During the Maspero (State TV building) sit in against religious oppression against Christians in Egypt, army trucks and forces attacked the sit in and the march, killing 27 people in cold blood. Micheal was one of them. A tank stepped over his body right in front of Vivian who refused to leave his body afterwards. And after they ran him over, army forces came to beat the corpse, which made her scream "Leave him alone. He is dead. He is dead. What more do you want?"

This is her photo at the morgue. She just could not let go of his hand. And until this very moment, I don't think she will ever come back to be normal again. My heart aches for her, and for every Egyptian woman and mother. Egyptian women have learnt, the hard way, what is it like to live with loss of those loved ones because of giant dictators.

Egyptian women protesters and martyrs come in all shapes, colors, backgrounds, and ages. Glory to the
strength of Egyptian women's sacrifices and resilience.

And it does not just end in the square. Women in my country fight on many fronts, in many different battlefields. Many women volunteered to work to free those detained. Many of them are not lawyers, but they volunteered to do so. They are sacrificing a lot, but most importantly, peace in their lives. They chose to do this. They chose to receive phone calls late at night from the terrified parents who can not find their sons and daughters and call them for help. They spend their times between morgues, police stations, courthouses, hospitals and many other dreadful places.

Take Mona Sief for an example:

Mona is not a lawyer, nor has she ever studied law. But she is becoming a legal expert now. Mona founded the "No Military Trials for Civilians" movement, during the SCAF rule, to put an end to the torture civilian protesters face at the hands of the military junta ruling over the country. She started with a very small group of lawyers, all volunteers, and now she has one of the biggest groups ever, who are working non-stop. Mona, and other women, Fatma Serag, Rasha Azzab, Nazli Hussien, Ghada Shahbander, and others, are sacrificing a lot. But the most important thing they are so powerful enough to do is that they not only never lose hope; they never let us lose hope either, which sounds like mission impossible 9 in a country like Egypt.

Sanaa Youssef.

And this is Sanaa Youssef. Never mind what her religion or ideological background is, because she treats people as they should be treated, disregarding any labels. Sanaa Was one of the people arrested during 2011 clashes. She has been detained, beaten, sexually assaulted, and during the full two days in which she was kept in a police station without a phone, a lawyer, or anyone of her friends or family, she did her best to calm those who had been arrested with her, were younger than her. I call her the Egyptian mother Teresa. As hard as they had assaulted her is as hard as she continued to fight back peacefully. Sanaa dedicates herself to visit the families of the martyrs, injured, and detained IN EVERY SINGLE Egyptian city. She goes to be in solidarity with them, and tries to get them the legal/financial/medical help needed for them to go on with their lives after loss. I am in awe when I see her travelling between 3 different cities, in one day, without getting any sleep or rest, to do something no one has compelled her to do. Empathy!

The heroine Yasmine Al Baramawy  not only paid the price for her participation in the Egyptian

 Revolution by being gang raped in the middle of Tahrir Square, but she challenged the sexual 

terrorism of the regime and exposed society's patriarchy which would easily criminalize a 

woman raped, leaving very little blame for her rapist. Yasmin decided to  publicly speak out 

about what has happened to her on TV in front of the whole world, held her head high. It stops 

happening as soon as you speak out and fight back. 

Now meet my most favourite! Mariam Kirollos :)

As young and cheerful as she might look is as strong and resilient she is. She is the kinda woman who would wear a head scarf one day in solidarity with Hejabi women banned to enter some places in Cairo. Mariam is also part of  Op Anti Sexual Harassment/ Assault, which is a group of volunteers, men and women, who are trying to protect Egyptian female protesters from organized and systematic sexual assaults during protests.

Under Mubarak.

Under Military Rule.

Tahrir Girl, that is how we love to call her...not the "blu bra girl", as western media loves to call her....she is more than just a bra...she is more of a ...tahrir!

This vicious attack happened during the violent dispersion of the #OccupyCabinet sit in. Here is a video:

I know her. I see her. She is not broken, SCAF. She is still fighting...hard and strong...last time I saw her was at the MOD sit in...at the field hospital helping the injured!

Azza Helal, the woman who saved Tahrir Girl from getting killed after she was stripped off her clothes, turned out to be the fiancee of martyr Attef el Gohary, killed at #MOD clashes. After Attef was killed, she announced her hunger strike in solidarity with the rest of the detainees.

And here is a video of her saving Tahrir Girl and getting beaten for it. She is the woman in the red coat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7jSweu1oBc&feature=related 

Azza comes from a family of army generals, but this did not stop her from joing the revolution against them and then against the Junta.
Azza suffered tremendous pain after trying to save tahrir girl.

So please, take note, and do not be so much surprised when you see us fighting for our basic 
human rights, and sacrificing. Deconstruct your Orientalist views, even if you mean well, and take a look at us instead of following the media outlets of your countries which would love to keep you in the dark. Do not be surprised, because we are proud, strong, Egyptian and Arab women, and we come in all shades of anger!

This is in solidarity with every woman who fought back. In solidarity with every woman who fought back and won...But mostly, in solidarity with those women who fought and lost, but did not stop fighting!
For more pictures, kindly check: 



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