Being a student of literature I'm very active in my department's cultural society which tries to keep students connected to the cultural scene in Egypt and the world. We host writers, publish a students' magazine and organize outings to see plays and movies. Part of my job is to make posters for seminars hosted by the society.
At first the posters I designed didn’t seem to attract students so I tried using different colors of paper and pens as well as adding small designs in black and red on the side. For our last seminar we hosted novelist Sahar El Mougy to discuss her latest novel Noon, ن, and the idea of rewriting myth and as part of my experimentation with the posters, I used black paper and wrote with a silver marker. I also xeroxed the book cover and pasted it in a corner of the poster so if someone is passing and notices the book, they'd stop and read.
I was astonished at the remarks I heard about the poster. Students stopped to criticize the book cover instead of to read the announcement of the upcoming seminar. Some people and friends said that it was very daring of me to put the cover on the poster. I know I could have used the other cover (there are two publications of the book) but part of me wanted to see the reactions of the students. Cairo University is after all part of the Egyptian society with all its beliefs, thoughts and traditions.
Yet, in spite of knowing all that, the degree of contradiction and extremism was way beyond what I imagined. I overheard students asking how could they allow a book with such a cover to be published and others commenting on how dare I stick it on the walls of the department. They left me wondering what the hell they were doing studying literature. The book cover is a painting, a piece of art, and that all they could see in it is that the woman in the painting is half naked shocked me. It shocked me not only because they were unable to appreciate the artist's talent, vision and technique but also because, like the rest of society, they are unable to appreciate the beauty of a woman's body. For them a woman's body ceases to be a symbol of life and becomes only a sexual entity that has to be covered up. This is a widespread attitude and what saddens me is that the women adopt it as well.The poster didn’t last long on the wall. No one tore it off of course but there were obvious attempts to tear the picture of the book's cover off the poster. I had glued it with UHU so when it wouldn’t come off, they scribbled all over it with a black marker like they do in magazines. I knew they would do such a thing eventually but what was really shocking was how narrow minded the students were. They all study humanities and they are not able to appreciate a work of art. I just wonder how they passed their aesthetics exam!
By Maura J. Casey WeNews commentator Iran has just closed Zanan, an influential women's magazine that covered international politics, prisons, Islamic law; never chocolate cake. Maura Casey says the closure could be temporary; if not, it's a terrible loss. Editor's Note: The following is a commentary. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not necessarily the views of Women's eNews. (WOMENSENEWS)--Iran's most influential women's magazine, Zanan, has become the latest victim of a government intent on censoring, harassing and imprisoning opponents, journalists in particular. Officials accused the monthly journal of damaging society by being too negative toward Iran and closed the publication Jan. 28. Zanan is hardly alone, of course. Iranian courts have used similar rationale to close many scores of newspapers and magazines in the last 10 years, particularly those that called for free speech and greater civil liberties. But Zanan, which means "women" in Farsi, was one of a kind; it was the only serious women's magazine in Iran and had a wide following, both in Iran and around the world. Zanan's crusading editor, Shahla Sherkat, who lives in Tehran, founded the magazine 16 years ago to explore serious topics that affect women in the Islamic Republic: politics, women in prison, international issues affecting women and the impact Islamic law has on women's lives. Sherkat also ran book reviews, stories about women in sports and health issues, among other topics.
There must be violence against womenHere is the rest of the "article".
By: Maged Thabet Al-Kholidy email@example.com
This title may sound strange, but it’s actually not just a way to attract readers to the topic because I really do mean what it indicates. Violence is a broad term, especially when used regarding women. In this piece, I want to shed light on those instances where violence against women is a must.First, we should know the meaning of the word violence. Longman’s Dictionary of Contemporary English defines violence as “behavior that is intended to hurt other people physically.” However, the term violence mustn’t be confused with other concepts and terms such as gender inequality or absence of women rights. Occasionally – if not daily – we hear about events occurring in Islamic and Arab societies. Some human rights organizations recently have attacked violent acts against women, standing against any type of violence – even that between a father and daughter – and citing the cases of some women as examples. Consequently, they offer solutions such as complaining to the police, taking revenge or leaving them men, who are either their husbands, fathers or brothers – with no exceptions. One such case involved a woman whose husband allegedly had beaten her. Without revealing the husband’s reasons for doing so, such human rights organizations immediately urged the wife to complain to the police and the courts, while at the same time generalizing the instance and other similar solutions to any type of violence. If a man and woman are husband and wife, the Qur’an provides solutions, firstly reaffirming any logical and acceptable reasons for such punishment. These solutions are in gradual phases and not just for women, but for men also. For men, it begins with abandoning the marital bed, by opting to sleep elsewhere in the house. After this, they may discuss the matter with any respected person for the husband’s or the wife’s family, who could be in a position to advise the wife. If this also does not work, then the husband yields to beating the wife slightly. They do this because of a misunderstanding in the Quran, as the word says Darban, which is commonly understood today as beating. However, in Classic Arabic it means to set examples or to announce and proclaim. The more accurate meaning of this last one is that the husband finally has to set forth, to make a clear statement or proclamation, and if these measures fail, then divorce is preferable. Similarly, wives may take actions such as abandoning the marital bed, following by leaving the husband’s home for that of their parents, brothers or any other relatives. They may do this more than once, but if such action fails, they may not continue to live with their husband and via their relatives, they may request a divorce. Despite such instructions, beating is considered a type of violence, according to human rights organizations, which urge women to complain to the police. I just wonder what kind of families our societies would have if Muslim women started doing this regarding their husbands. Relationships between fathers and daughters or sisters and brothers also provoke argument from human rights organizations, which propose the suggested solutions for all relationships. Personally, I don’t think fathers or brothers would undertake such behavior unless there was a reason for it. Fathers are responsible for their daughters’ behavior, but human rights organizations deny this too. Brothers also should take action regarding their sisters’ behavior, especially if their parents are too old or dead. If a daughter or sister makes a mistake – especially a moral one – that negatively affects the entire family and its reputation, what’s the solution by such organizations? According to them, women should complain to the courts about any type of violence against them. Likewise, should fathers and brothers complain to police if their daughters or sisters violate moral, Islamic or social norms? Fathers should handle their daughters via any means that suits their mistake; thus, is it better to use violence to a certain limit or complain to the police? Shall such women then complain to the police against their fathers or brothers? It’s really amazing to hear this.
The authorities in Saudi Arabia have decided to end a ban on unaccompanied women staying in the country's hotels. A woman can now stay in a hotel alone as long as she carries identification. Based on a royal decree, the move marks a break from religious codes requiring women to be accompanied by a male guardian at all times. The decree allowed the Ministry of Trade to outline new regulations simply requiring women to show photographic ID to hotel managers. This must then be registered with local police. The decision was reported by the local daily al-Watan newspaper, which is considered close to the Saudi government, on Monday.
An appeal court in Saudi Arabia has doubled the number of lashes and added a jail sentence as punishment for a woman who was gang-raped. The victim was initially punished for violating laws on segregation of the sexes - she was in an unrelated man's car at the time of the attack. When she appealed, the judges said she had been attempting to use the media to influence them. The attackers' sentences - originally of up to five years - were doubled.Thanks SP
The situation was both horrifying and appalling: an 11 year old child was raped, got pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl. Pictures of the two together, mother and child, or rather child and baby, were quite disturbing for Egyptians: How shocking! How inhuman! Where is our society heading? Why did a thing like that happen? The man who did that should be hanged in a public square. Rape punishments should become stricter than they already are. What kind of law would make a rapist get away with rape by marrying his victim? These were all different comments and headlines one saw and heard in the news on TV, in streets and cafes.
However, the wave of support for the girl began to break as soon as it started. A sinister voice in the crowd, to which more and more people listened, was heard, a voice that addressed the collective conscience, the one that believes that a girl always has a hand in what happens to her. "Have you heard her speak?" the voice said "have you heard her speak? She doesn't sound like an innocent child. She is definitely older, and she "knows". She is not the innocent little child the media likes to think she is." The voice then got stronger when the DNA test proved that she lied about the name of the man who raped her. "See, she lied, her story never made any sense at all from the very beginning, how can she have been kidnapped in broad daylight and nobody seen it?" "Yes! Of course" many people said, "why didn't she scream? And after she was raped why didn't she tell her parents? Why wait till it's too late? That is right she "knows" she is not innocent". Rumors then began: "the girl is known in her neighborhood to have a "bad reputation" the rumor said.
An 11 year old with bad reputation?!!!!!!!!!!
Why did people repeat the rumors and believe it? Because it relieved them. It once again reassured them that
Eleven Years old for heaven's sake!
Why did she lie if she was honest! Why didn't she tell her parents when she was raped? Well haven't you heard? Hardly anybody who gets raped ever speaks up. Why lie? The guy who raped her knew her every step. He threatened to kill her and since there is no real legal protection in this country (our police don't have the time to catch murderers, rapists or thieves, they are busy sodomizing "suspects") people hardly ever speak up.
As for her "knowing" when did that become an excuse for rape? I "know" does that put me on the "you are allowed to rape" list? And isn't the fact that she is an ELEVEN year old girl who "knows" depressing? I have seen children from poverty stricken areas like her, I have talked to a few street children and their language, the things they say, reveal a lot of sexual abuse, they speak like grown ups, what they say is very crude but are they aware of its meaning? No. Like this little girl, their childhood innocence has been taken away never to be regained and this is the true crime, this is what Hind, the 11 year old mother, stands for, abused childhood, and every single person who had a hand in the rise of the rates of unemployment, illiteracy and poverty in this country is responsible for that crime.
I have decided to start my own "Black List of Psychopathic Woman Haters in Power". It will include all public figures (male and female) who make any sort of misogynistic comments in the media (believe it or not some women out there are more royal than the king). The ranks will be updated regularly so that the number one on my black list would be the one with the most outrageously sexist remarks.
Remember Judge Dakrouri, well he is currently number two on my list because number one is now the amazing Karam El Hafian the NDP MP (by the way his family name means in Arabic "the bare footed").
Sawt Al Ummah has quoted this wacko (who fainted in the middle of a parliamentary session after getting all worked up about Farouq Hosni's "insult" to Islam) saying that women should never become judges because of the menstruation cycle! What does being a judge have to do with having the period? I have been cracking up my head to understand the reason but couldn't find any except for the disgusting widespread belief that menstruating women are dirty creatures, if that is his attitude well….
Anyway, since women have, unfortunately, been appointed as judges, the poor man had to accept the status Quo. However, in a parliamentary session that discussed the retirement age for judges he decided he's not keeping his opinion to himself any longer and demanded that men should retire at 70 while women should retire at 60.
"This is not discrimination," he said, "This is due to the biological difference between men and women and their ability to give. Men become wiser and closer to God as they grow older but women become senile…. and their temper becomes more acute because of menopause." In other words, women can't judge when they have their periods because they don't think clearly when they do and they can't judge when they stop having their periods because, again, they can't think clearly when they do. Hmm, it seems like he's difficult to please!
I would really love to know what science books this guy has been reading. Maybe one of those twisted Victorian Age books that "proved" that women and colored people are less developed than the White Man? In that case he should definitely look in the mirror, he is "colored". Anyway, he doesn't look like the type that would waste their time reading anything.
What is even worse is that he is absolutely unaware of his male chauvinism. He thinks of himself in fact as a supporter of women, and his reasons? "
I'm gonna exert self control and hold back all the swear words that are echoing inside my brains just in case he decides to sue me BUT I have to admit that right now a lot of violent scenarios are taking place inside my head.
Anyway, since violence never turns stupid people sensible, I have a better plan for revenge. I think that he should be put in an office where his boss and colleagues are sturdy, broad shouldered middle aged women civil servants (the overweight type of mouwazzafat we see in governmental offices) so that he would think twice before ever speaking about women like that again. What do you think?