Dalal Mughrabi, the Freedom Fighter

Last week the name of Dalal Mughrabi was repeatedly mentioned in the news in connection with the Lebanese-Israeli exchange of prisoners (another victory for Hizbullah). 30 years after her death, Dalal’s corpse finally made it back to her family. But who is Dalal Mughrabi?

Dalal was one of the earliest known Palestinian freedom fighters. Born in 1958 in a refugee camp to a family that lived in Jaffa until 1948, when the Israelis won the war, killed and chased out hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and established their current state, Dalal was raised in Beirut and secretly joined the PLO (Palestinian Liberation Organization).

In 1978 just before she turned 20 and having had received proper military training, Dalal was chosen to carry out the Kamal Al ‘Odwan Operation (the Israelis called it the Coastal Road Massacre) in retaliation for the assassination of several PLO leaders one of which was Kamal Odwan.

According to the plan, Dalal and her squad were to land near a coastal road heading towards Tel Aviv, hijack one of the military buses driving in that direction and head for the Knesset and in the process kill as many soldiers and Israeli leaders as possible. The mission was never accomplished. Half way through the process the Israeli military learned of what happened and a chase took place on the coastal road leading to the death of several civilians in the cross fire. After many hours of a vicious street war in which tens of Israeli soldiers were killed the 11 Palestinian fighters ran out of ammunition and finally the Israeli army squad, led by Ehud Barak, shot all of them to death.

When journalists arrived to report on the incident Ehud Barak shot several bullets on the already dead Dalal for the benefit of photographers and then proceeded to disarm her from the empty ammunition belt she had on and pulled her by the hair to allow for a better view of her face!

While Dalal and many other Palestinian martyrs are celebrated in the Arab world for their heroic attempts at liberating Palestine, in mainstream American and right-wing European media, as with anything Palestinian, the Zionist Israeli point of view is the only one heard.

One look at the English results of a Google search on Dalal will show how she is described as a murderer, terrorist and at best an extremist separatist who killed Israelis for no reason at all. She is blamed for the death of several civilians who died in the cross fire, and the Israeli operation that followed hers (which led to the death of hundreds of unarmed Palestinians) is not seen as a brutal act of force but as a natural outcome to her operation. You see, when your country is colonized by people who mass-murder your people and steal their land, you are expected to just watch and do nothing or you are an evil, evil terrorist.

This is the only English post on Dalal that I found that is worth reading, though I have a few reservations to it. If you know of any other non-Zionist English articles on her please send me the link.

One final comment I want to add is that in her will, Dalal Mughrabi, asked that she be buried in her country, Palestine, after her death, why was her body returned in the exchange, I don't understand.

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Overheard in Cairo

The Phantom of the Egyptian National Archive College girl 1: You know, this place was built very long ago by one man who had many books. He was the only one who knew all its where abouts and when he died and new librarians took over strange things happened to any one who went to this very old section of the storage rooms down in the basement... College girl 2 (with fear in her voice): Really?! College girl 1: Yes, it was so scary down there no body ever went there again, they sealed the whole sectioin off... Overheard by: someone who has been wondering why half of the books she needs (which according to the index cards of the damn library are said to exist in the library storage shelves) are never found by the incompetent "librarians".
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One Hundred Years of Cairo University

It's finally the end of school year at Cairo University and as usual this period just gets on my nerves with all the papers I have to correct and the exams I had to supervise. Anyway, what makes this year, 2008, special is that Cairo University is celebrating its centennial. I'll write in more depth about the event later but for now I will just give you a very brief history along with a few pictures. As early as the first decade of the 19th century with Mohammad Ali Pasha's modernisation project, Egyptian higher education schools that followed the European model were established. Yet it was not until December 1908 that these schools were brought together under what was first named the Egyptian University and then Foad I University and finally, after the 1952 military coup, Cairo university. At the beginning Cairo University was located where the American University in Cairo is currently (in Downtown Tahrir square) but in 1929 the university moved from the rented mansion to its current campus. Here are a few pics that belong to my department, more will come later: Cairo University (then known as Foad I University) when the new campus was first inaugurated in 1928 The English Department, Faculty of Arts, Cairo University (Class of 1959) The Cairo University English Department, Class of 1978 The English Department Class of 1995 Class of 2004
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Taboos Interrupted

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!
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Enjy Aflaton

Enjy Hassan Aflaton (16 April 1924 - 17 April 1989) was one of the most influential female artists and feminist activists in Egypt. She was imprisoned between the years 1959 to 1963 during the crack down on Communists in the country and her husband, also a progressive communist like herself, died under torture. Issues of democracy, nationalism and peace as well as women's rights played a strong role in her life and her art. The two most important feminist books she wrote are: "Thamanoun Million Emra'a Ma'na" (80 Million Women are With Us) and "Nahnou Al Nisaa' Al Misriyat" (We, the Egyptian Women). "A Prisoner Behind Bars" 1963 "The fisherman of Balteem" 1958 "Construction Workers" 1953 "Weeping Women" 1956 "The Camel Market" 1964 "Moulid El Manshiyah El Soghra" 1969
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Saudis Turn Headlights on Male Guardianship

And the battle goes on...
By Sanna Negus WeNews correspondent Saudi women's rights activists are pressing for reforms to lift the sharp restrictions they face in their conservative society. Some believe the time has finally come and they will soon have the right to drive. Sixth in a series on women and Islam. DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia (WOMENSENEWS)--A woman drives a car in a grainy video posted on YouTube, her silhouette framed by a loose veil as she congratulates women on March 8, International Women's Day. She is Wajiha al-Huweidar, a Saudi women's rights advocate. "Obviously, I'm driving my car in a remote area," al-Huweidar says in Arabic. "Only in remote areas in Saudi Arabia are women allowed to drive, I'm sad to say. In cities--where they really need to drive--it is still forbidden." Hundreds of responses poured into YouTube: some praised her bravery, others called her a whore. The same day the video was posted, al-Huweidar and other activists presented a petition signed by 126 women to the Saudi interior minister, Prince Nayef Bin Abd al-Aziz. The signatories are women with driving licenses from other countries, offering to teach their countrywomen how to turn the wheel. In January the government signaled that the driving ban will be lifted, and many people seeking reforms in Saudi Arabia believe this is the year. In the meantime, it remains a lightning rod for women's rights activists who see it as a first step toward easing the rules of male guardianship that follow their every move. Al-Huweidar learned how to drive as a graduate student in Virginia over 10 years ago. For her, the driving ban is especially important because, unlike wealthy Saudi women, she cannot afford a chauffeur. "Driving is not the most important thing, but it is a symbol of freedom," al-Huweidar says from her home in Dhahran, a city in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich Eastern Province. "We want to achieve some kind of justification as humans." Women's driving was officially forbidden in 1932, when the authoritarian monarchy was established. Saudis observe a strict form of Wahabbism that sharply curtails women's freedom of movement under its interpretation of Sharia, or Islamic law, which is observed across the legal system with the exception of secular tribunals for commercial disputes and complaints against government officials. Saudi Arabia's Sharia dictates that in order to travel a woman needs permission from her "mahram," a male guardian who is her husband or relative. The mahram is also necessary for education, marriage, financial transactions, having surgery; everything. In Saudi Arabia, women are never mature enough, legally speaking. "Our biggest problem is that we have no say in the biggest questions of our lives; we have no control over them but, rather, depend on the mahram," al-Huweidar says. "We want to correct this, but are starting from the simpler issues (such as driving) because they have nothing to do with Islam or taboos. They are rights taken away from women." Some theologians have voiced fears of women being harassed by men if they drive. Other influential religious scholars have pointed out that the driving ban is not based on Islam but on social beliefs. A February poll in the Arab News found that only 10 of 125 male respondents categorically rejected women behind the wheel.
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George Ishaq Arrested

Just got this by email:

جبهة الدفاع عن متظاهرى مصر [1]

البيان الثاني والعشرون



تفتيش منزل جورج إسحاق وإلقاء القبض عليه


ذهب جورج إسحاق عصر اليوم إلى  منزله الكائن بشارع البستان بوسط القاهرة حتى يخلد للراحة قليلا ثم يعود إلى نشاطه في التحضير لمؤتمر كفاية بشأن الرد على مزاعم السلطات المصرية بشأن أحداث المحلة وتظاهرات 7 ابريل ، لم تمر دقائق على دخوله المنزل إلا وكان امن الدولة يتعقبه ودخلوا إلى المنزل ووجدوا جورج وحيدا دون باقي الأسرة ، فانتشروا في كل أرجاء الشقة واخذوا ينقبون ويفتشون كل شبر فيها، وحصلوا على أوراق وكتب من المكتبة واهتموا بالبحث عن كتاب"رفة الفراشة" الذي أعده الناشط السياسي أحمد بهاء شعبان وهو كتاب يشرح فيه كيف نشأت حركة كفاية وماهية أنشطتها وآفاق تطورها حتى حصلوا عليه، كما حصلوا على تليفونه المحمول، ومنعوه من الاتصال بأي شخص أو أي جهة، وبعد حوالي ساعة من التفتيش والتنقيب حضرت زوجته التي كانت خارج المنزل وفوجئت بالمشهد، وظنت للحظات أنها أخطأت ودخلت مكان آخر غير شقتها فأجسام أفراد قوة الضبط الفارهة، ونظراتهم المقززة أصابتها بالضيق فانفعلت عليهم وطالبتهم بالخروج من المنزل ، إلا أنهم لم يستجيبوا لها، وعندما حاولوا الحصول على الكمبيوتر الخاص بشادي جورج رفضت تمكينهم  لان الكمبيوتر يخص شادي، ولا يخص والده ، فطلبوا تليفونها المحمول فذكرت لهم أنها لا تستخدم تليفون محمول، فقاموا بإلقاء القبض على جورج إسحاق واصطحبوه إلى مكان مجهول.



[1] تتكون الجبهة من المنظمات التالية " مركز هشام مبارك للقانون -   رابطة الهلالي للحريات بنقابة المحامين-  جماعة المحامين الديمقراطيين-  مؤسسة الهلالي للحريات-  مؤسسة حرية الفكر والتعبير-  الجمعية المصرية للنهوض بالمشاركة المجتمعية- دار الخدمات النقابية والعمالية- جمعية حقوق الإنسان لمساعدة السجناء- مجموعة المساعدة القانونية لحقوق الإنسان- المركز العربي لاستقلال القضاء والمحاماة- مؤسسة أولاد الأرض-اللجنة التنسيقية للحقوق والحريات النقابية والعمالية-جمعية أنصار العدالة- لجنة الحريات بحزب التجمع- المنظمة العربية للإصلاح الجنائي- المؤسسة العربية لدعم المجتمع المدني وحقوق الإنسان- لجنة محامين المحلة"


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Blood-red Plums

They ripen , but you can't pick any. They seem like a waste of fruit. On the first day they look painfully delicious. Then they start to lose their rich color and acquire a yellowish tinge. After a while the physical pain seizes. You become numb, even when the skin breaks. It's just anger bottling up inside you. The lump in your throat is like the cork stuck in the bottle's neck. I choose his favorite china. My heart beats faster as I drop one plate after the other. When they break , my heart swells with joy and pain. I feel divine. I keep the biggest one till he wakes up. I save it just for him. He is scared. He tries to calm me. The cork pops. When all the small white plates are broken , silence creeps in. He does not understand. I am calm. I even speak calmly when I tell him that it's over. He won’t plant any more plums on my flesh.I am divine. I take the last plate and bash it to the side of his head. The bottle stops foaming and I finally feel that I can taste what's inside. **************** I bought the rocking chair that was denied me for so long. I bought the cat I have always longed for. I listen to the music that splits my heart into two and I am alive at last. I sit in my chair with a bowl of ripe blood-red plums on my lap , I bite into them one after the other. Their skin breaks and their blood trickles down my chin. I laugh till I break down and cry. I am divine. But the cat thinks I am insane.
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State Security Cracks Down on Activists and University Professors

State security and the Interior Ministry have not only succeeded in aborting today's scheduled demonstrations as Hossam reports but they have been arresting activists all over the country since this morning in addition to some of the professors who led the University Staff Strike. As far as I know 6 activists (Mohammad Al Sharqawi amongst them) and two professors: Salem Sallam (Meniya University) and Magdy Qorqor (Cairo University) have been arrested so far. As for the strike, the Interior Ministry's announcement that was published in yesterday's Al Ahram threatening civil servants who will go on strike of being sentenced to at least 3 months in jail seems to have worked; however, traffic in Cairo streets is unusually good. Any explanations for that? Update: After a quiet morning and noon, violence in Mahallah escalated. Read Arabawy and Tadamon Misr for full coverage of the events. Update: اليوم الاثنين الساعة التاسعة صباحا كان الدكتور سالم محتجز فى قسم أول المنصورة (مع سبعة آخرين الى جانب ستة آخرين محتجزين فى قسم ثانى المنصورة)، وكان التحقيق معهم قد انتهى فى الفجر إلا أن قرار النيابة لم يصدر بعد بالنسبة للدكتور مجدى قرر إلى الآن لا توجد أى معلومات ولا نعرف حتى مكان احتجازه Dr Sallem is being held with 7 others in the Quessm Awal el-Mansoura, 6 others are being held in Quessm tany el-Mansoura, their interrogation by the public prosecutor ended at dawn, and they are being held pending the decision of the attorney general. So far there is no news of Dr Qorqor, we don't even know where he is being detained. Update: الدكتور مجدى قرقر عرض مع مجموعة على نيابة قصر النيل فى ساعة متأخرة وسوف يعاد عرضه مرة أخرى على النيابة اليوم وقد تعرض للضرب وكسرت احدى أسنانه Dr Qorqor appeared late last night with others before the public prosecutor at Qasr el-Nil, and will appear again today. He has been beaten and has lost a tooth. Update: قررت نيابة النصورة الكلية اخلاء سبيل د سالم سلام وباقى الذين عرضوا عليها معه، وهو الآن لايزال فى قسم أول النصورة فى انتظار تنفيذ القرار The attorney general of Mansoura has ordered the release of Dr. Salem and those who were with him, he is now waiting for the decision to be implemented. (Updates on the conditions of the arrested professors were reported by Dr.Laila Soueif) Update: Dr. Salem Sallam has been released, however, Dr. Magdy Qorqor has been detained for 15 more days.
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University Faculty Members on Strike

Yesterday, for the first time ever in Egyptian history, most Egyptian university faculty members went on strike as a first step towards forcing the government to improve their living conditions and the conditions of higher education in the country. The decision to strike came after months of negotiations with the government that led to nothing because the government that gave away millions of pounds in a few minutes to football players (because they have finally learned how to kick a ball) claims it can't afford to increase the salaries of professors, workers and doctors all at once. For many years now Egyptian universities have suffered from strong governmental and state security control that monitors everything from how many students should be accepted by each university to who is allowed to be invited inside campuses for conferences. In addition to that, academic funding and salaries have not increased at a suitable rate to meet the growing inflation rates since the late 1970s! Here are some links to stories about the strike: http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2008/03/23/47332.html http://www.almesryoon.com/ShowDetails.asp?NewID=46377&Page=1 http://www.ikhwanonline.com/Article.asp?ArtID=35715&SecID=304 http://www.elbehira.com/elbehira/nd_shnws.php?shart=2263 And here is the official (Egyptian regime) side of the story. While an estimated 1200 faculty members demonstrated outside his office, the president of Alexandria university claimed that the school day went smoothly and no strike took place! http://www.masrawy.com/News/Egypt/Politics/2008/march/23/univ_stri.aspx [See Arabawy for full length English report and pics]
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First Ma'zouna in Egypt and the Muslim World

The best piece of news I heard on coming back to Egypt is that the first ever female "Ma'zoun" (the person who carries out the marriage ceremony in Islam) in Egypt and the Muslim world has been appointed by the family court of Al Sharqiyah governorate. 12000010000717710128468.jpg Amal Sulaiman, a lawyer who has a BA, diploma and MA in Law and Sharia applied to the job of Ma'zoun for the Qenayat city with 10 other male applicants and was granted the license for the job even though many other male ma'zouns and court officials either considered her application to be against Sharia or ridiculed her. Follow the link above for the full story in Arabic and if you want to know how people reacted to the news read the comments under the story, while many were supportive many others made disgusting male chauvinist comments like "I'll try not to confuse her with the bride".
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Secrets Kept By Palms

She never got to know how mother found out. Her belly hadn't even rounded yet. She herself hadn't discovered it until six weeks had passed. But mother must have sensed it because she had been giving her suspicious looks for a week. I would never have thought about it if she hadn’t told me, that's why how mother felt it is so confusing. She never dreamt mother would suspect anything, let alone call the mid-wife early one Friday morning to hopefully prove her gut feeling wrong. I heard her screams first: surprised, muffled, then agonized and slow. For a second the silence was too loud; it was all that was there. A second later, mother's shrill scream penetrated it shattering it to pieces. Her screams were mingled with the mid-wife's hissing voice telling her to quiet down; telling her that we didn’t need a scandal. They whole village doesn’t have to know. The door opened quietly. As the mid-wife led mother out of the room wailing and sobbing, I saw her. She was not moving. She was sitting on the bed with her night-dress around her hips, her strong brown calves and thighs naked, her knees clasped together. A key was thrown at me and I heard a voice telling me to lock the door. As I pulled the door towards me, she smiled. While small single tears rolled down her broken smile and fell into her lap, she told me what she had been telling me for the past week. She told me that it was not her fault. ************************ I was sent to fetch him. He walked back with me joking all the way, poking me and asking how everything was. The smile was wiped off his face when my mother greeted him with the news. He looked angry, scared and disgusted. He told mother that this was to be expected to happen when there isn’t a man to take care of things. Women disgrace their families when there is no man to control them. With a crazy look in his eyes, he announced to himself that now he was man of the house. He led her out of the back door with her face battered and bleeding. I ran to the nearest window and jumped after them, following them as they went far into the fields. They kept walking till they reached a clearing where 12 palm trees stood huddled together. He tied her arms and threw her on the soft dirt among the ripe dates. It was dusk and the day was dying behind her. He threw a shotgun on the ground crushing the small ripened pieces of fruit it fell on. He moved closer to her and pinned down her legs to the moist earth with his feet. He pushed her dress up to her waist. Then, she let out a cry that was lost in the twilight; a cry that would haunt me for the rest of my life. As he hovered over her raising his galabiya, she asked him if he was man enough to kill his own child inside her, his own flesh and blood. I turned around and ran all the way home.
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A Visa to Heaven

I went today to get my Schengen visa (EU visa) and was glad to get away from the embassy as quickly as I did. You see, visits to "First World" embassies and consulates here in Egypt always remind me of two things: (1)that I am nothing more than a potential illegal immigrant until proven otherwise and (2)that bureaucracy is a European invention. So if you are a "Third World" citizen planning to apply for a Schengen visa here are my suggestions for you to prepare yourself psychologically, mentally and physically for the mission on hand: 1) Never ever go to any EU embassy with the attitude that it is your birth right to get a visa, because it isn't. You are a Third World citizen, your birth certificate doesn't include that right so play submissive till you get it -that is IF you get it. 2) Read your horoscopes daily and if you know of any fortune teller visit him/her regularly to make sure you know before hand if "travel is in the horizon". You see, waiting lists for EU visa appointments are at best between two to four weeks ahead (plus the two weeks you have to wait as your visa gets processed) and so things like "But I just found out I have to go to Europe at the end of this month for a four day conference" or "but my relative will die any minute and I have to see him as soon as possible" won't do. You have to know that you are going to Europe at least two months before hand and even then you might not make it on time. 3) Before your scheduled date for the visa interview go and check the location of the embassy. If people going for interviews are allowed inside then make sure you get yourself a nice bulky book to read. You see, yes they expect you to be on time or your visa interview is canceled but once you are there you'll be kept waiting for at least one hour (this is known in the US army as "hurry up and wait", which reminds me to tell you to make sure you have the day off from work because once you are there you are not going to walk out that easy.) If the people going there for interviews are kept in a long line outside in the street with a guy from the consulate who looks like an ex-prison guard hovering around them like an angry dog waiting for one of them to make a mistake so he can bark at them, make sure you get one of those chairs that can be folded. You see, you will be kept for quite a looong time outside standing with no where to sit (and leaning on green plate cars is a definite no no). Also make sure you have an umbrella, a water bottle and sun screen lotion with you, you don't know how long you will wait. If you are going there in the winter make sure you have an extra jacket. 4) Make sure you have a bank account and/or credit cards. You see, the EU countries are no countries for poor men. What? You think it doesn't apply to you because the people inviting you over are paying for your stay? I'm sorry but you are mistaken. Whether or not your stay is fully covered you have to have a bank account or credit cards. As one of the employees in one of the consulates I have been to said to me when I asked for a three month visa, "We only give those long term visas to very rich people" (she stressed the words "very rich") 5) If you are applying for a long term schengen visa make sure you own a flat. What? You are under 30 years old and do not have the money to buy a flat yet? Well, don't expect to get the visa then. like I said, Europe is no country for poor men besides not owning a flat means you have no intention of returning back to your home country which means that you are planning to become an illegal immigrant! 6) Some embassies hand out an extra application that you have to fill. If you see questions like "Have you ever been a member in a non-governmental military or religious organization?", "have you ever received military training in a camp funded by foreign military or religious organizations?" or "Have you ever made plans or harbored intentions to harm your country?" try not to burst out laughing. Laughter offends their IQs. 7) If you are traveling as a family be prepared to have the application of one of the children rejected and the other accepted or the application of one of the parents' rejected while the rest of the family is accepted. I never tried that but I have seen three such cases in two different embassies. Above all this be prepared to be inhumanely treated by embassy workers who talk to you through shaded glass windows, give you your papers without looking at you, let alone smile and who talk to you in monosyllabic abrupt orders and send you back and forth from the embassy to the house and vice versa at least two times to get a three day visa! And if you complain all you will get is an "I couldn't care less" shrug from them. As one very frustrated middle aged man said loudly as he left one of the consulates I have been to lately, "what is this treatment?!! Are we applying for a visa to heaven?!" Whether or not Europe is heaven that is open for debate. One thing I know for sure is that its embassies are Purgatory.
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إللي إختشوا ماتوا

مرة كنت راكبة مع سواق تاكسي عجوز شوية و كنا معديين من شارع مصدق. ولد صغير عنده 12 سنة كده وّقّف التاكسي عشان يعرف يعدي الشارع ف السواق وقفلوا.أتاري الولد كان بيعدي ببطء غريب عشان – معلش سامحوني ف اللفظ – البنطلون كان مدلدل حبتيين. بعدها بشوية لقيت الراجل بيقولي "إيه الموضة الغريبة دي؟ ده حته الواحد يختشي يبين الغيار بتاعه.مالهم منزلين البنطلون أوي كدة؟ هي الناس حصلها إيه؟ طيب لو إسرائيل ضربتنا هيحاربوا كده؟ طيب هيمسكوا البندقية ولا البنطلون؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟"
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Influential Women's Magazine Silenced in Iran

Iran has a feminist movement I truly envy. Hope its current crazy government wont succeed in putting an end to it like ours did fifty years ago! zanan-3489.jpg
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.
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There must be violence against women

Here is the typical misogynist argument we have to fight against everyday. Human rights and feminist NGOs aim at destroying family morality because they want women to report their abusive family members to the police!!
There must be violence against women

By: Maged Thabet Al-Kholidy majed_thabet@hotmail.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.
Here is the rest of the "article".
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New Year Resolutions

Once again I have been too busy to post for almost three weeks and have missed celebrating my blog's first anniversary at the beginning of this month. Hatshepsut is now one year old and as happy as I am that it has lasted this long I have been unhappy with the fact that I keep missing on writing about real important social issues (that are not properly covered) all the time because I'm too busy most days. For this reason I have made the following two resolutions: first, I'll commit myself to posting every Tuesday (my favorite day of the week) and second, I'm going to slowly add contributors to the blog. These will be other Egyptian girls who will add more diversity and depth to this blog so as to truly reflect the experience of being an Arab, Egyptian woman. Since my Arabic typing speed has improved over the past months, I'll be posting in Arabic as well, something I always felt that I as an Arab should do. The first contributor is Zainab Magdy, a third year undergraduate student in my department who is also a very good friend of mine and a talented writer. More will join soon.
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