GLOBAL VOICES - MARWA RAKHA
What will the Middle East look like 25 years from now? That was the assignment the World Policy Journal gave Mona El Tahawy for their 25th anniversary edition. Mona decided to have some fun and imagination. This is what she came up with, mixing real people in imaginary scenarios in 2033. Who knows? They might come true!
On November 7, Al Masry Al Youm Newspaper published an article (AR) about a 14 year old girl who was admitted into a hospital suffering of severe bleeding after an FGM procedure that went bad. Due to the above mentioned law, the hospital reported the case of the general attorney.
I received an invitation to join a group named “Dr. Shaimaa Fouad … May you rest in Peace.” I did not know her and I wondered why anyone would invite me to such a group. Little did I know! Dr. Shaimaa Fouad died defending herself.
On November 1, Al Masry Al Youm shocked its readers with an article about two girls who went to the police station to report a sexual harassment incident but instead, they were detained for six hours and harassed by the officers on duty.
On October 30, Noha made Egyptians angry when Al Masry Al Youm newspaper published an article saying that Noha's lawyer Naglaa El Emam decided to appeal in favor of the harasser Sherif Gommaa after she found out that Noha was born in Jaffa and carries an Israeli passport. The lawyer also said that Noha sued a French officer for harassing her a year and a half ago when she was in France.Speaking of Sexual Harassment: Noha Makes Egyptians Proud!
In an unprecedented case, sexual harasser Sherif Gommaa was sentenced to three years behind bars, hard labour, and was also ordered to pay 5,001 Egyptian pounds fine to Noha Roshdy Saleh for groping her in the street.
This question has been circulating a lot in many unrelated circles nowadays. On Facebook, Alyaa Gad, an Egyptian physician living abroad, was shocked to know that "the governmental Central Body for Mobilisation and Statistics (CBMS) found that 75,000 divorce cases have been ruled on by Egyptian courts in 2006-2007, the survey found that in 45,000 cases the reason behind the divorce was the Internet."
While some women are still struggling to prove themselves in the workplace, the young generation of Egyptian men and women seems to be taking a different route. Fantasia was watching an episode of El Beyoot Asrar (Homes have Secrets) where they were talking about women and whether they should work or not.
Students at the faculty of Engineering in Alexandria University created a group on Facebook called "The Mokattam Catastrophe to be repeated in the faculty of Engineering." The student's cry follows a tragedy in Doweika, a Cairo slum, where rocks came tumbling on homes, killing and maiming scores of poor people. In the description of the group the students wrote:
In the aftermath of the Egyptian Parliament going up in flames, people's reactions ranged from utter shock, sadness, to gloating. Blogger Wael Nawara conducted an independent poll asking bloggers, readers, and Egyptian internet users to answer the following question: Does the Egyptian Parliament truly represent the people?Suez Canal donates 1,000,000 Egyptian Pounds to Doweika Victims
After the Doweika catastrophe, where at least six hundred people were buried alive under the rubble of Moqattam hill, Asser decided to calculate how much time does it take Suez Canal to earn the one million pounds.
The SCA had announced, in a statement by its official speaker, that the general revenues of the Suez Canal in the month of August 2008 was the highest in its whole history, as it had passed 500 million USD or 2.746 billion EGP, the exact figure according to the speaker was 504 million Dollars.
On February 3, 2006 Al-Salam ferry sank in the middle of the Red Sea killing more than 1,000 people who were coming to Safaga, Egypt from Saudi Arabia. The passengers were mainly Egyptian workers in Saudi Arabia, who were returning home on vacation or who were bringing their savings home to retire in their homeland. The Egyptian criminal court has found the owner of a Red Sea ferry and four others not guilty of manslaughter.
The families of the victims as well as Egyptian bloggers were shocked and angered. Wandering Scarab, in "The Dreaded Ferry" wrote:
On July 24th, Maggie Michael reported:
Egyptian authorities shut down the Cairo office of an Iranian TV network, a security official said Thursday, as the two nations spar over a film that justifies the killing of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat by Islamic militants.
Blogger Dina Ayoub in her post Egypt vs Iran takes us back to the time when President Sadat signed the peace treaty with Israel:
Emotional Deficit. For several decades, the Egyptian society was being Islamized, making the chances of having a natural and healthy pre-marriage boy-girl relationship ever diminishing. Marriage itself, it would seem is becoming more unaffordable than ever. The average age for marriage in Egypt for men has consistently increased. It is normal to see someone who is thirty years old who still has a few years to go before he can afford to provide the extensive requirements for marriage. In many cases, a young male in Egypt had to travel to the Gulf and work for a few years "building his fortune" to be able to afford the hefty burdens of marriage. Knowing that boys probably reach puberty at the age of 13 or 14, this means that a male in Egypt will spend some twenty years suffering from this emotional and "physical" deficit.
Reuters published survey on sexual harassment in Egypt is still stirring angry responses from Egyptian bloggers. In her post titled "Shame and Sexual Harassment in Egypt", Mona Eltahawy took a trip back in time and visited her early experiences with sexual harassment:
Dina - now living in Vancouver - remembers what every Egyptian woman identifies with saying "There's this look in an Egyptian man's eyes that makes me want to poke his eyes out, mutilate his body parts, and then kill him. A psychotic, undressing, invasive and violating look. A look so disgusting that it makes me shiver in my own skin, and wish that the earth would just swallow me up to cover me from it. A look so filthy, that you can see the virtual assault on you in his sleazy eyes. I hate that look so much."
In a not-so-rare scenario in Egypt, the man has the right to beat his wife and children as much and as severely as he wishes and no criminal charges can be filed against him - unless one of them dies as a result of this beating. Why?
"Because some crazy sadistic men have claimed that this is an authorized tool for disciplining a man's wife and children in Islam! Which is absolutely not true" explains the infuriated Fantasia.
Back in March 2008, Eman Hashim wrote a post [Ar] questioning why do Muslim Egyptian women need a "wakeel" - a man who has to sign her off to her husband. Let me give you a bit more insight here: unlike western cultures where the father gives away the bride as a jest of his approval and blessing, in Islam the marriage is "flawed" if the father, or the uncle if the father is deceased, has to speak on the bride's behalf through out all the paperwork and marriage procedures. Many sheikhs frown upon the thought of a girl - especially one who has never been married before and who is supposedly a virgin - marrying herself away.
One particular post about Egyptian women getting married to foreign men caught my attention.
In her post about The Whores, Ghawayesh starts by saying: "Times are changing and many ‘respected' families have come to accept the fact that their daughters can make their own choices of choosing to marry whoever they want, if they EVER CHOOSE to marry, which is also a new trend in Egypt."
Wandering Scarab - an Egyptian girl living in Canada - prior to her last visit to Egypt, decided to visit the Canadian Consulate website to register with the consulate in Egypt just in case her Canadian husband or her baby girl needed assistance with travel or local authorities. What she read on the site was appalling and ended up in her writing this post.
Women, particularly foreign women, are frequently subject to unpleasant male attention, sexual harassment, and verbal abuse. This often takes the form of staring, inappropriate remarks, catcalls, and touching. The Department publishes a booklet entitled Her Own Way: A Woman's Guide to Safe and Successful Travel. Its prime objective is to inform Canadian women and encourage them to travel safely.
Politics is not my thing but this was too good to resist. When I came across Wael Nawara's writings I knew that I stumbled on a goldmine. In his post - Too Secular to Win? - Wael asked four tough questions that left his readers wondering: What is the world coming to? Where is Secular America? When did people stop thinking that a person's religion is their own business? Can Obama, if he ever wins, try to help change that? Help pick our world from these trends of rising religious-mania ... starting with the US? But will he ever win?
Wael started his post by citing an average American woman who was interviewed on CNN saying:
"I do not trust him (Obama) he is a Muslim ..."
Moving from Secularism and diversity to the Rantings of a Sandmonkey on Why Obama will Fail;
"In my house , right now, I have the electoral programs for both Obama and McCain, and reading them has provided me with hours of constant amusement. McCain's program is under the impression that the world is great and everything is fine and dandy, and all we really have to do is to bomb a couple more areas in the world (a bomb here, a couple there) and all will be well with the world again. I personally love it, but that's because I am Pro-Death and would welcome anything that would bring the world's population down a notch, but I doubt the rest of you exactly share my sentiment, so, ehh, yeah, bad electoral program, bad!"