Girl in the blue bra. Το Μπλε Σουτιέν.   1 comment








Girl in the blue bra. Το Μπλε Σουτιέν.


Οι Γυναίκες της Μέσης Ανατολής πρέπει να διεκδικήσουν τα δικαίωματα τους. Ειναι ανθρωπινα όντα και οχι αντικειμενα.


CAIRO — The Egyptian foreign minister said on Wednesday that Egypt would not accept any interference in its internal affairs, in response to harsh comments made by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the way security forces dealt with women protesters.
In a speech on Monday, Clinton criticised the actions of Egyptian security forces as showing the “systematic degradation” of women that “disgraces the state”, some of the strongest U.S. language used against Egypt’s new rulers.
Footage showed Egyptian soldiers beating protesters with batons, often after they had fallen to the ground, in what activists described as a forcible attempt to clear a sit-in demanding a swifter transfer to civilian rule. The clashes since Friday have left at least 13 dead and hundreds wounded.
“Egypt does not accept any interference in its internal affairs and conducts communications and clarifications concerning statements made by foreign officials,” the state news agency quoted Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr as saying.


Her face is covered by a veil, her hands raised above her head in submission as two soldiers tear her clothes from her body in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. A third soldier stomps on her now-exposed torso, naked except for a bright-blue bra.
The image of “the girl in the blue bra” — as the unknown woman has come to be called — has circulated the globe and become the most visible symbol of the battle between Egypt’s military rulers and pro-democracy protesters for control of the country since president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February.
“The blue bra is unforgettable and we all became ‘the blue bra’ girl one way or another,” Egyptian blogger Fatenn Mostafa wrote on Twitter.
On Tuesday, outrage brought protesters onto the streets of Cairo.

After female activists launched a call over social media to form a “frontline” of women, thousands of Egyptian women came out Tuesday to protest — but encircled by a phalanx of male protectors. Many clasped posters of the girl in the blue bra as they chanted, “The girls of Egypt are here.”
The ruling military council apologized, expressing “utter sorrow … and total appreciation for the women of Egypt and their right to protest, effectively and positively participate in the political life on the road to the democratic transition.”


(CNN) — The Egyptian revolution has a new, and shocking, image: It’s the Egyptian flag, but the eagle in the middle has been replaced by a simple blue bra. The image refers to the recent, savage beating of an abaya-clad female protester by Egyptian military forces.
Graphic videos of the beating, captured on phones and uploaded to YouTube and Facebook, have quickly proliferated. They show a limp woman being dragged by her arms along the street. Her abaya is ripped open, exposing her naked torso and blue bra. Security forces surround her, many wielding batons. As the beating progresses, the guards hit her and one even stomps on her. Photos of the man bringing his heavy boot down on her bare stomach made the front page of newspapers around the world.
In response, thousands of women — and men — marched Tuesday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Observers say it was the largest demonstration of women in Egypt in decades. Not since 1919, when women mobilized under the leadership of feminist Hoda Sha’rawi in anti-colonial demonstrations against the British have so many Egyptian women taken to the streets. (After representing Egyptian women at the International Women Suffrage Alliance in Rome in 1923, Sha’rawi returned to Cairo and very publicly removed her veil.)
Women have played an important role in Egypt’s modern revolution but have struggled to translate their activism into a political role in the new, emerging system. They have been excluded from important decision-making bodies, and the military leadership declined to continue a Mubarak-era quota for women that ensured them at least 64 seats in parliament. Based on early election results, it appears that few women will win a place in the new government.
Nevertheless, one intrepid woman, Bothaina Kamel, is breaking ground with her candidacy for president. The campaign of Kamel, a well-known television presenter, at first was shocking, and certainly quixotic, with polls indicating her support is less than 1%. But her persistence has gained her credibility. While she has little chance of winning, she is helping to normalize the idea of women in politics — an idea that is deeply contested in Egyptian society. Leaders of Salafi parties, which gained a surprising 20% of the vote in the first rounds of elections, have spoken out against women running for office.
The recent women’s protest may breathe life into a movement that desperately needs new energy. In the early weeks of the revolution, women activists tried to bring attention to women’s issues but never succeeded in getting the masses behind them.
A women’s march in Tahrir Square to mark International Women’s Day on March 8 ended badly. Only a few hundred women showed up, and they were soon harassed by a mob of angry men who shouted at them to go home and warned that their demands for rights were against Islam.
Around the same time, the Egyptian military rounded up scores of women demonstrators, and in a show of raw intimidation, subjected many of them to “virginity tests.” Military leaders at first denied the accusations, and later defended their abuse by claiming the women “were not like your daughter or mine.”
In a remarkable show of courage, one of the victims, Samira Ibrahim, is pursuing a criminal case against the military for her ordeal. The only one of the 17 victims willing to take her case to court, Ibrahim is challenging not only the heavy-handed tactics of the military but also the social stigma associated with her issue.
The woman attacked by the military in the recent protests has declined to come forward, so for now she is only known as “blue bra girl.” But her mistreatment seems to be a galvanizing force. Thousands of people joined the march through Cairo on Tuesday, many of them taking to the streets for the first time in outrage. Organizers of the march used the hashtag #BlueBra on Twitter to encourage people to join them.
Some of the protesters held giant posters of the blue bra/flag icon. Others carried photographs of the beating. Men formed a cordon around the women, chanting “The women of Egypt are the red line.” Still, many Egyptians were not supportive.
Bloggers and tweeters offered negative comments on the blue bra girl — criticizing her for being out in public protesting in the first place and accusing her of being provocative for not wearing more clothes under her abaya.
It remains to be seen whether these new humiliations for Egyptian women will lead to significant changes. But given the country’s deep-seated patriarchy, women in Egypt should not take their rights for granted.


Images of brutal treatment of female protester are a sign of worse to come for Egypt

LAST UPDATED AT 11:01 ON Tue 20 Dec 2011
IMAGES of a young female Egyptian protester being stripped and beaten by the military during a protest in Tahir Square have prompted worldwide outrage and condemnation. “The girl in the blue bra”, as she has been dubbed, has come to symbolise the ongoing struggle for freedom in Egypt for some, while for others she is an example of the failure of the Arab Spring and a worrying sign of worse to come.

Egypt military’s shame

Hillary Clinton, reports The Daily Telegraph, said: “This systematic degradation of Egyptian women dishonours the revolution, disgraces the state and its uniform and is not worthy of a great people.” She denounced a “deeply troubling pattern” of “military authorities and the major political parties alike keeping Egyptian women out of decision-making”.
The brutal treatment of this young woman reminds us that the revolution is far from over, says Ahdaf Soueif in The Guardian. “The revolution is now an endgame struggle with the old regime and the military. The young woman is part of this.”
The message from those in power is that “we are the regime and we’re back”, adds Soueif. But the old techniques of shaming women will not work. “What they are not taking into account is that everybody’s grown up – the weapon of shame can no longer be used against women.”
Army strategy backfires
Egypt’s generals launched a clumsy and often brutal attempt to end weeks of protests against their rule, says Adrian Blomfield of The Daily Telegraph. “The generals appeared to be banking on the fact that the protesters have become increasingly unpopular, with many ordinary Egyptians seeing them as violent reactionaries preventing the restoration of stability in the country.”
But the image of the female protester has stoked tensions more than any other, adds Blomfield. Many Egyptians who might sympathise with the army are horrified by its brutal response, “which has misfired in the past”.
The way in which the military and police responded to protesters over the past few days was uniquely cruel, says Sarah Mousa on Al Jazeera. But “SCAF (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces) continues to drown in its own mistakes.”

The images of its cruelty – from the abuse of women protesters to targeted killings – have been circulated widely, adds Mousa. And while SCAF may temporarily have a portion of the general public convinced that those in Tahrir are thugs wreaking havoc, as Mubarak had convinced many during the revolution, “their growing political isolation marks their pending downfall”.

Worse to come
But it is a serious mistake to believe that “the girl in the blue bra” somehow represents the Egyptian people, says John R. Bradley in the Daily Mail. Much of the uplifting narrative of the Arab Spring was based on this sort of “wishful thinking in the West”.

This is not the climax of a battle between a great mass of the Egyptian people and a despised military establishment, says Bradley. “It is the last gasp of a tiny idealistic minority as they fight to the death for their core beliefs.” While the military may falter, the “cunning” Islamists will be waiting to exploit the moment to gain supreme power. In the process, the liberals who sparked the January revolution “will truly be crushed to oblivion”.  ·

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Stripped above the waist — save for her bright blue bra — the protester lies in a street just off Cairo’s Tahrir Square, seconds before a soldier stamps on her naked torso.
She has been dragged around by her arms and beaten by frenzied soldiers wielding metal batons, but still they won’t let her escape to safety.
This brutal scene from Egypt has sent new shockwaves around the West in the past three days, as the military regime has become ever more brutal towards pro-democracy protesters. Ten people have been killed and more than 400 wounded.

For the ‘girl in the blue bra’, as she has been dubbed by outraged bloggers across the globe, it is a gross violation of human rights — as well as contradicting conventional wisdom about Arab respect for female dignity and modesty.
For the watching world, it encapsulates the reality that Egypt is rapidly sliding back into brutal tyranny. The overthrow of President Mubarak’s despotic regime in February is already a distant memory, and hopes for a new era of freedom following the Arab Spring have turned to dust.
But it is a serious mistake to  believe that this woman somehow represents the Egyptian people — violated and oppressed by military savagery.


For just as much of the uplifting narrative about the Arab Spring was based on wishful thinking in the West, so the protests in Tahrir Square are being hopelessly misinterpreted.
This is not the climax of a battle between a great mass of the Egyptian people and a despised military establishment. It is the last gasp of a tiny idealistic minority as they fight to the death for their core beliefs.
The majority of the conflict-weary public have now sided with the armed forces — who are seen as upholding order against the continued, anarchic impulses of the demonstrators.
In Egypt in recent days, there has been no groundswell of outrage at the girl’s treatment. Nor have there been any mass rallies in support of the protesters or calls for the overthrow of the military establishment in the main Egyptian newspapers.
Partly this is because the revolutionaries in Tahrir Square are so small in number — probably no more than 3,000 in a nation of 84 million. Their position has been weakened by the military, which has portrayed them, with much success, as conspirators and criminals bent on chaos.
And this process has been helped by the deeply conservative attitudes of most of Egypt’s population. The widespread response to the picture is not anger at the soldiers’ actions, but puzzlement as to why the woman’s family let her join the protest.

Such hostility reflects the deeper reality that the Cairo uprising earlier this year was driven by economics rather than politics. Egyptians were fed up with the fall in living standards, widespread poverty and mass unemployment that the Mubarak government had caused.
Questions of democracy, liberty, and freedom of expression were of little interest to the majority of the population.
It is, of course, easy to sneer at such attitudes. Yet opinion polls show that most British people have little time for the tent city occupiers outside St Paul’s and would welcome their eviction.
Similarly, during the August riots, the overwhelming majority of the British public wanted tough action taken by the police and courts against the rioters. There were even widespread calls for the Army to be deployed.
That is the way most Egyptians view the tiny band of violent activists in their own midst. But in a country more used to meeting force with force, and knowing that the public is on their side, Egypt’s generals are moving in for the kill.

There has been little condemnation from the Islamist political parties, led by the Muslim Brotherhood.
That is because the Islamists, no allies of the pro-democracy movement, are playing the long game. Ultimately, what they aim to construct is a Muslim state run according to strict, fundamentalist Sharia law. And they are well on their way to that goal.
In the first round of the recent Parliamentary elections last month, they emerged as the dominant force.
In the second round, currently underway, it looks as though the Muslim Brotherhood, and the even more extreme Salafi Muslim parties, will again win around 70  per cent of the vote — compared with just over 10 per cent for the parties set up by revolutionaries.
As they march along this road towards a Muslim theocracy, the Islamists are happy for the time being to let the military establishment remain in charge.


Rule by the generals, which has effectively been the method of governance in Egypt since Gamal Abdel Nasser’s coup in 1952, allows the Islamists to avoid the blame for unresolvable economic and social problems.
More importantly, where the Islamists really want to concentrate their energies is in the imposition of their cultural fascism.
Anyone who wishes to understand where Egypt is heading should take a look at the coastal city of Alexandria. For a century this was an open, thriving cosmopolitan port — almost European in its atmosphere of laid-back tolerance.
But, in the early Eighties, the Islamists made it their base and, ever since, freedom has been in retreat. These days Alexandria resembles nothing so much as totalitarian Saudi Arabia. And be in no doubt, what has happened in Alexandria over the past three decades will be repeated throughout Egypt — only in a much shorter timescale, since the Islamists now have a political mandate.

Last week, they announced they want to ban mixed-bathing, bikinis on the beach, and the consumption of alcohol in popular Red Sea resorts like Sharm El-Sheikh. The same strictures might soon appear across swathes of North Africa.
Already Tunisia and Morocco, both historically renowned for their openness, are becoming dramatically more repressive as the Islamists take control.
In Tunis, for instance, radical Islamists recently announced the formation of a religious police to impose radical Islamist social norms.
The military establishment in Cairo might like to think it can maintain its power in Egypt, as it has for the past half century, for the Egyptian chiefs have no ideological unpinning and are happy to work with the Muslim hardliners. Their sole concern is protecting their own privileges and positions.


But they could pay a heavy price for this pragmatic stance in the longer term.
Egypt remains in an economic mess, with tax revenues plummeting, debts rising, growth non-existent and crime rates rocketing.
Thanks to the events of the past year, tourism — once the mainstay of the economy — has almost collapsed, with the number of tourists to cities like Luxor and Aswan down by 90 per cent.
Images of semi-stripped women being dragged through the streets by police will hardly help to restore confidence among potential Western holidaymakers.
And although the Egyptian masses crave stability and peace for now, when they can no longer afford basic foodstuffs, when power cuts become a daily occurrence, then they might yet be forced to take to the streets again.
If they do, the military establishment will become the focus of their fury.
And the Islamists, with all their cunning, will exploit the moment to gain supreme power, siding with the people against the army. In the process, the liberals — who helped to spark the January revolution — will truly be crushed into oblivion.
John R. Bradley is the author of After The Arab Spring: How Islamists Hijacked the Middle East Revolts (Palgrave Macmillan).

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Αθήνα:  Διεθνή κατακραυγή και σοκ στον αραβικό κόσμο έχουν προκαλέσει φωτογραφίες και βίντεο που δείχνουν τον βάναυσο ξυλοδαρμό, στην πλατεία Ταχρίρ της Αιγύπτου, μιας άγνωστης γυναίκας που είναι γυμνή από την μέση και επάνω.

Το εσώρουχό της φαίνεται καθαρά, ένα ταμπού στον μουσουλμανικό κόσμο, ενώ η άσκηση τέτοιας βίας επιβεβαιώνει ότι η επανάσταση στην Αίγυπτο έχει πολύ δρόμο να διανύσει ακόμη.

Η γυναίκα είναι νέα, αδύνατη και ξανθιά. Έχει πέσει ανάσκελα, περικυκλωμένη από τέσσερις στρατιώτες, δύο από τους οποίους την σέρνουν από τα χέρια, που τα έχει σηκώσει πάνω από το κεφάλι της. Αντιστέκεται και κάποια στιγμή ίσως να έχει λιποθυμήσει.

Κανείς δεν ξέρει, επειδή το πρόσωπό της δεν φαίνεται στις φωτογραφίες και το βίντεο. Φοράει τζιν παντελόνι και αθλητικά παπούτσια. Αλλά το πιο σοκαριστικό είναι ότι φαίνεται καθαρά, γυμνός ο κορμός της: βλέπει κανείς καθαρά την κοιλιά της, το μπλε σουτιέν, τα χέρια της.

Γύρω από τον γυμνό ήμισυ του σώματός της, σαν θλιβερό μαύρο φωτοστέφανο, τεκμήριο βάρβαρης καταστολής, είναι η αμπάγια, το φαρδύ ένδυμα που έχει σκιστεί και δείχνει ότι η κοπέλα φορούσε χιτζάμπ, όπως ορίζουν οι θρησκευτικοί μουσουλμανικοί κανόνες.

Πριν από έξι χρόνια, όταν λαϊκές διαμαρτυρίες άρχισαν να εμφανίζονται στους δρόμους της Αιγύπτου, καθώς οι άνθρωποι του Χόσνι Μουμπάρακ κατηγορήθηκαν για νοθεία στις βουλευτικές εκλογές του 2005, το καθεστώς πέρασε στην αντεπίθεση – όχι μόνο με την παραδοσιακή βία από τους άνδρες της Κεντρικής Ασφαλείας – αλλά με έναν νεωτερισμό: δυνατοί, εκπαιδευμένοι παραστρατιωτικοί έδερναν τους άνδρες διαδηλωτές, αλλά και τις γυναίκες, αφού πρώτα τους έσκιζαν τα ρούχα, εκμεταλλευόμενοι την περίσταση για σωματική επαφή.

Η «ιδέα» ήταν να υπονοηθεί ότι οι γυναίκες που συμμετείχαν στις διαδηλώσεις ήταν αμφιβόλου ηθικής.


Buthayna Kamel
Μποθάινα Κάμελ

Η Μποθάινα Κάμελ είναι υποψήφια γυναίκα για Πρόεδρος της Αιγύπτου.
Ο Στρατός πρέπει να καταλάβει ποιος είναι ο ρόλος του σε μια Δημοκρατία.

Οι γυναίκες της Αιγύπτου πρέπει να διεκδικήσουν. Με κάθε τρόπο.




Egypt’s First Woman President?

May 20, 2011 6:06 PM EDT

The talk-show host has rattled religious conservatives, the state-owned media and now the army, too. Ursula Lindsey interviews Buthayna Kamel, Cairo’s most outspoken woman.

When Buthayna Kamel announced she would be the first woman to run for president of Egypt, it was a challenge to religious conservatism and social expectations here—to the widespread belief that women aren’t meant to wield high authority.

Now, for good measure, she’s decided to take on Egypt’s state-owned media and its ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces too.

Last week, Kamel was on a talk show on Egyptian State TV when she began criticizing the actions of the council. The director of State TV himself called to order the program interrupted. The flustered TV presenter announced that the show was being pulled off the air and told viewers, “I may not see you again.” Now Kamel is charged with the crime of “insulting the army.”

“I respect the Egyptian army,” says Kamel. “But we all have the right to criticize the policy of the military council. They are in a political position. Democracy tells us we must be transparent, we must hold accountable the politicians. That’s what I did. Criticizing doesn’t mean insulting.”

Egypt’s first female presidential candidate has a warm, engaging manner and the talent for interacting with the public you might expect from a TV-personality-turned-activist: In the lobby of the hotel where we meet, she discusses politics attentively with several members of the wait staff.
She is passionate about her politics, wearing her beliefs, quite literally, on her sleeve. She sports a cross-and-crescent necklace (to signify solidarity between Muslims and Christians—Kamal herself is Muslim), a Make Poverty History bracelet and a pin that reads “Egyptians Against Corruption.”
She, like women across the country, was an enthusiastic participant in the January 25 Revolution.

“Women are always at the front of revolutions,” she says. “But then men want to take all the results.”
But, she insists, “I’m not just women’s candidate. I am a candidate for all of Egypt.” She is running for “the peasants, the workers, the women, the handicapped, the Copts, the Nubians, the Bedouin”—all of whom are marginalized, all of whom have been denied their rights. To change women’s status requires changing all of Egyptian society, she says, learning to “accept others and accept criticism.”

“He told me: ‘You know what would make Egypt better? A woman president. Because women worry about the future.’”

Kamel has a long history of raising uncomfortable subjects and rattling the authorities. In the 1990s, she hosted a late-night radio show, Night Confessions, in which callers discussed their social and sexual problems frankly. The show became a hit among young people. In 1996, it was suspended, on the advice of a committee of religious scholars and government officials, for “damaging Egypt’s reputation,” because it featured young people discussing “sinful relations.”
In recent years, Kamel Hosted Please Understand Me, a late-night TV show in which she was joined by a psychologist or other specialists and together they take calls from viewers. Kamel focused on subjects such as sexual harassment, domestic violence, even—after arguing with management—abortion. The show was canceled by its Saudi-owned satellite channel in February.
Kamel had already been dismissed from her job as a State TV news broadcaster – now, she’s no longer welcome there even as a guest.
Kamel was also one of the creators of the activist group (”We See You”). Back in 2005, when President Mubarak announced the country’s first multi-candidate elections, Kamel and two other women formed the group to be an on-the-ground monitor of the supposedly democratic process (which turned out to largely be a sham, and got Mubarak handily re-elected). She is also a member of Kifaya, the activist group that first called for an end to the Mubarak regime.
The idea of running for office dates back to a casual conversation, several years ago, with an old man outside a polling station. “He told me: You know what would make Egypt better? A woman president. Because women worry about the future.”
That turned out to be true. Last month, Kamel decided to run partly out of concern over the emergence, post-revolution, of Islamic fundamentalism. “I saw that society could go back to something even worse than under Mubarak,” she says.
Kamal, 49, describes herself as a social democrat and will run as an independent in the presidential elections scheduled for the end of this year.
Women are active participants in Egyptian society, but they rarely occupy top leadership positions. At the moment there are a handful of female judges; one female minister; and no female governors. Many here believe that men are better suited to leadership positions, and that Islam itself proscribes women from holding authority over men.
But Kamel says the people she’s met campaigning—in a village in Southern Egypt and in the Sinai Peninsula, among other places—have accepted her. “Until now I haven’t faced any rejection from the people because I’m a woman,” she says.
“Everywhere I go, I ask people…what are your demands? I’m trying to know what Egyptians want,” she says. What she hears will inform her platform as a candidate. Her aim is to be a model and to “raise the ceiling of people’s expectations,” she says. “Even if I don’t win, even if my electoral program isn’t implemented right now, those demands will be out there.”
Ursula Lindsey is a Cairo-based reporter and writer.



Buthayna Kamel

• Född i Kairo 1962. Fadern arbetade i oljeindustrin. Modern var lärare och utbildade revisorer.
• Har dottern Mariam, 20, med Egyptens sittande kulturminister Emad Abu-Ghazy, som hon är skild från.
• Examen i ekonomi och handel vid universitetet i Kairo 1993. Har också en master i afrikansk ekonomi och politik.
• Grundade år 2005 rörelsen (”Vi ser dig”) som arbetar för att sprida kunskap om demokrati och stärka medborgarnas fri- och rättigheter.

Η δημοσιογράφος που τα έβαλε με το καθεστώς Μουμπάρακ από το βήμα της… κρατικής τηλεόρασης είναι η πρώτη γυναίκα που διεκδικεί το προεδρικό αξίωμα στην Αίγυπτο. Η ίδια αναλύει τις προσδοκίες της υποψηφιότητάς της.

Υπέρμαχος της δημοκρατίας με δράση δεκαετιών, πολέμιος του παλαιού καθεστώτος και της κρατικής διαφθοράς, δημοσιογράφος φημισμένη για την παρρησία της (για πάνω από 15 χρόνια παρουσίαζε κάποιες από τις δημοφιλέστερες εκπομπές στο ραδιόφωνο και στην τηλεόραση, οι οποίες λογοκρίθηκαν), η Μποθάινα Κάμελ είναι η πρώτη γυναίκα που βάζει υποψηφιότητα για την προεδρία της Αιγύπτου.

Προτού πέσει ο Μουμπάρακ, η Κάμελ μαχόταν επί σειρά ετών να τον «εκθρονίσει». Μάλιστα, ως παρουσιάστρια της κρατικής τηλεόρασης, είχε αποφασίσει το 2006 να μη διαβάζει όσες ειδήσεις της φαίνονταν ψευδείς (κίνηση η οποία έμελλε να της κοστίσει τη θέση της).

Τώρα που ο Μουμπάρακ έπεσε, η 49χρονη έχει βαλθεί να τον διαδεχθεί. Οσοι τη γνωρίζουν, λένε πως αυτή «μετράει όσο εκατό άνδρες». Η ίδια, πάντως, προτιμά να αποκαλεί τον εαυτό της «κορίτσι της επανάστασης».
Στέκεται στο πλευρό της νεολαίας, βλέπει με καχυποψία την τρέχουσα στρατιωτική κυβέρνηση της Αιγύπτου και προσπαθεί να συμφιλιώσει τους μουσουλμάνους με τους χριστιανούς συμπατριώτες της (αν και μουσουλμάνα, η ίδια φοράει στον λαιμό της όχι μόνο την ημισέληνο αλλά και έναν σταυρό).

-Παλεύετε για δημοκρατία στην Αίγυπτο ήδη από την εποχή που ήσασταν έφηβη. Πλέον ο Μουμπάρακ έχει ανατραπεί. Πώς νιώθετε γι’ αυτή την εξέλιξη;
Πολύ ευχαριστημένη, φυσικά. Ωστόσο, για εμένα η δημοκρατία αποτελεί νοοτροπία και η κοινωνική κουλτούρα της Αιγύπτου θέλει ακόμη πολλή δουλειά, έπειτα από τόσα χρόνια δικτατορίας. Είμαι σίγουρη, πάντως, πως κινούμαστε στη σωστή κατεύθυνση.

-Είναι αρκετή η πτώση του Μουμπάρακ από μόνη της για να λυθούν τα προβλήματα της Αιγύπτου;
Όχι, σε καμία περίπτωση, παρά το γεγονός πως ήταν ένα τεράστιο βήμα. Πρέπει εμείς οι ίδιοι να κάνουμε ακόμη πολλά για να διορθώσουμε τη ζημιά που έγινε όλα αυτά τα χρόνια.

-Εμπιστεύεστε το στρατιωτικό συμβούλιο το οποίο κυβερνά επί του παρόντος τη χώρα;
Σε γενικές γραμμές είμαι αντίθετη στη στρατιωτική διακυβέρνηση. Είναι εκεί από το 1952 και η μέχρι σήμερα εμπειρία δεν ήταν πολύ ευχάριστη, όπως γνωρίζετε.

Οι Αιγύπτιοι, στην πλειονότητά τους, θέλουν να αποκτήσουν ένα πολιτικό κράτος, όχι ένα στρατιωτικό. Θεωρώ πως το στρατιωτικό συμβούλιο έκανε λάθη, μερικές φορές τεράστια λάθη, όπως για παράδειγμα όταν οδηγούσε απλούς πολίτες ενώπιον των στρατοδικείων. Και εγώ η ίδια είμαι αντιμέτωπη με το στρατοδικείο, κατηγορούμενη επειδή άσκησα κριτική στο στρατιωτικό συμβούλιο.
Πρέπει να έχουμε το δικαίωμα να ασκούμε ελεύθερα κριτική στους κυβερνώντες. Διαφορετικά, η εξέγερση έγινε για το τίποτα. Θα περιμένουμε να συσταθούν πολιτικοί θεσμοί, να υπάρξει πρόεδρος και κοινοβούλιο. Τότε οι στρατιωτικοί θα πρέπει να επιστρέψουν στα στρατόπεδά τους χωρίς δεύτερη σκέψη.

-Ποια είναι τα μεγαλύτερα προβλήματα που αντιμετωπίζει η αιγυπτιακή κοινωνία σήμερα;
Η οικονομία είναι σίγουρα ένα από αυτά. Ανακοίνωσα ένα πρόγραμμα καταπολέμησης της φτώχειας το οποίο συνέταξα με τη βοήθεια επιφανών Αιγύπτιων οικονομολόγων.
Ωστόσο, οι άνθρωποι πρέπει να διδαχθούν από τα μαθήματα του παρελθόντος. Εάν εγκαταλείψεις την ελευθερία σου για ένα κομμάτι ψωμί, είσαι καταδικασμένος να τα χάσεις και τα δύο.

Οσο για το σύνθημά μου, αυτό είναι «ευζωία, ελευθερία, ανθρώπινη αξιοπρέπεια».

-Ποιες είναι οι μεγαλύτερες προκλήσεις για την Αίγυπτο στη μετα-Μουμπάρακ εποχή;

Η ελευθερία, η ανθρώπινη αξιοπρέπεια, η διαφάνεια και η καταπολέμηση της διαφθοράς.

Την περίοδο του Μουμπάρακ ίδρυσα μαζί με άλλους ομοϊδεάτες κινήματα με στόχο την καταπολέμηση της διαφθοράς: το και το «Αιγύπτιοι Ενάντια στη Διαφθορά».

Εξακολουθώ να πιστεύω πως πρέπει να συνεχίσουμε στην ίδια κατεύθυνση. Μετά την οικονομία, η μεγαλύτερη πρόκληση είναι η ασφάλεια, η οποία πλέον έχει χαθεί δεδομένου ότι ο λαός δεν εμπιστεύεται τις αστυνομικές δυνάμεις. Αναφορικά με την αστυνομία, πρέπει να προβούμε σε μεγάλες αλλαγές. Πρέπει να αλλάξουμε ακόμη και τις στολές των αστυνομικών. Για την αποκατάσταση της εμπιστοσύνης θα χρειαστούν χρόνος και μεγάλες προσπάθειες.
Επιπλέον, εκ μέρους των δυνάμεων ασφαλείας θα πρέπει να δοθεί προτεραιότητα στην καταπολέμηση της εγκληματικότητας (και όχι στο κυνήγι πολιτικών αντιπάλων, όπως γινόταν στα χρόνια του Μουμπάρακ). Κι όλα αυτά υπό την ομπρέλα ενός πραγματικά ανεξάρτητου δικαστικού σώματος και ενός κράτους δικαίου που θα σέβεται πραγματικά τις ελευθερίες και τα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα.

-Φοβάστε πως η σκληρή κριτική που ασκείτε μπορεί να σας βάλει σε προσωπικό κίνδυνο;
Ήμουν καθημερινά στο επίκεντρο των εξεγέρσεων. Πέρασα πολλά. Είδα νέους ανθρώπους να χάνουν τη ζωή τους μπροστά στα μάτια μου. Το πιο σημαντικό για εμένα τώρα είναι να δω τη χώρα μου να στέκεται στα πόδια της.

-Νιώθετε πως μπορείτε να νικήσετε;

Εσείς νιώθατε ποτέ ότι ο Μουμπάρακ θα μπορούσε να χάσει;

-Ποιες είναι οι κυριότερες κατηγορίες ψηφοφόρων στις οποίες απευθύνεστε;
Δεν κατεβαίνω στη μάχη για την προεδρία ως φεμινίστρια παρά μόνο ως Αιγύπτια. Το γεγονός πως είμαι γυναίκα δεν αποτελεί για εμένα προεκλογικό χαρτί. Βασίζομαι και απευθύνομαι σε όλους τους Αιγύπτιους.

-Είστε αισιόδοξη για το μέλλον του αραβικού κόσμού γενικότερα;
Προσεύχομαι για τους ανθρώπους που μάχονται για τα δικαιώματά τους σε Λιβύη, Συρία και Υεμένη. Γενικότερα, ναι, είμαι αισιόδοξη.


Στον δρόμο για τον εκδημοκρατισμό.
Από τις 11 Φεβρουαρίου (οπότε ανετράπη ο Μουμπάρακ) και μετά, η διακυβέρνηση της χώρας βρίσκεται στα χέρια του στρατού.

Συγκεκριμένα, την εξουσία έχει αναλάβει το 20μελές Ανώτατο Συμβούλιο των Ενόπλων Δυνάμεων υπό την ηγεσία του στρατάρχη Μοχάμεντ Χουσεΐν Ταντάουι (ήταν υπουργός Αμυνας επί Χόσνι Μουμπάρακ). Το Συμβούλιο δεσμεύθηκε να οδηγήσει τη χώρα σε προεδρικές και βουλευτικές εκλογές πριν από το τέλος του 2011.
Οι προεδρικές εκλογές προβλέπεται να διεξαχθούν τον ερχόμενο Οκτώβριο ή Νοέμβριο και ήδη έχουν ανακοινωθεί ορισμένες πρωτοκλασάτες υποψηφιότητες. Ξεχωρίζουν αυτές των: Αμρ Μούσα (πρώην γενικός γραμματέας του Αραβικού Συνδέσμου και υπουργός Εξωτερικών της Αιγύπτου, ο οποίος προηγείται στις δημοσκοπήσεις), Μοχάμεντ Ελ Μπαραντέι (πρώην διευθυντής της ΙΑΕΑ και κάτοχος Νόμπελ Ειρήνης) και Αϊμάν Νουρ (ηγέτης του κόμματος El Ghad, ο οποίος, ωστόσο, ενδέχεται να μην μπορέσει να κατέβει στις εκλογές λόγω νομικού κωλύματος).


Πόσο εφικτό είναι για ένα κράτος που στερείται δημοκρατικού παρελθόντος να πραγματοποιήσει το πέρασμα από την τυραννία στη δημοκρατία υπό την ηγεσία μιας γυναίκας;

Για μια γυναίκα που υπόσχεται έμπρακτα πως γράφει ιστορία τη στιγμή που ήδη μετρά αρκετές πρωτιές στην αιγυπτιακή γη το εν λόγω μεγαλόπνοο εγχείρημα δεν φαντάζει τόσο ανέφικτο.Η Μποθάινα Κάμελ είναι η πρώτη γυναίκα στην αιγυπτιακή ιστορία που διεκδικεί την προεδρία της χώρας της. Όπως είναι και η πρώτη υποψήφια αιγυπτιακών εκλογών που ανακοίνωσε
την υποψηφιότητα της στο Twitter. Η παρουσία της 49χρονης δημοσιογράφου στα μέσα κοινωνικής δικτύωσης δεν είναι τυχαία. Γνωρίζει καλά ότι εκεί βρίσκονται οι ρίζες της «αραβικής άνοιξης» και κατ’ επέκταση το μέλλον της. Άλλωστε εκείνη είχε τοποθετηθεί από την πρώτη στιγμή υπέρ των νεανικών κινητοποιήσεων και της γενιάς του Facebook.Στο διαδικτυακό προφίλ της αναγράφεται «γυναίκα, δημοσιογράφος, μητέρα και υποψήφια προεδρικών εκλογών». Η Μποθάινα Κάμελ δηλώνει ωστόσο ότι «αν και γυναίκα, δεν εστιάζω μονάχα στα δικαιώματα των γυναικών αλλά σε εκείνα των Αιγυπτίων».Αυτοαποκαλείται κοινωνική δημοκράτης και κατεβαίνει στις εκλογές ως «ανεξάρτητη». Αν και μουσουλμάνα, είναι πολέμιος των αιρετικών θέσεων και υπέρμαχος της ίσης μεταχείρισης των τόπων λατρείας κοπιών και μουσουλμάνων. Φορά άλλωστε στον λαιμό το ισλαμικό μισοφέγγαρο μαζί με έναν χριστιανικό σταυρό.Η Μποθάινα Κάμελ δεν περίμενε την πτώση του Χόσνι Μουμπάρακ για να εκφράσει τις πολιτικές, θρησκευτικές και κοινωνικές της ιδέες. Η επαγγελματική της καριέρα είχε σημαδευτεί πολλάκις από επαναλαμβανόμενες αντιπαραθέσεις με τις αιγυπτιακές Αρχές.ΔιαδηλώσειςΣυμμετείχε σε όλες τις αντικυβερνητικές διαδηλώσεις των τελευταίων χρόνων πριν από την ιστορική 25η Ιανουαρίου 2011. Στο παρελθόν συντόνιζε δε για έξι χρόνια δημόσιες συζητήσεις στη ραδιοφωνική της εκπομπή «Nightime Confessions» γύρω από αμφιλεγόμενα κοινωνικά θέματα όπως οι προγαμιαίες σχέσεις και η σεξουαλική κακοποίηση των γυναικών. Μέχρι που διατάχτηκε η διακοπή του προγράμματος με πρόφαση τη θρησκεία.Στη συνέχεια εργάστηκε ως παρουσιάστρια στην αιγυπτιακή κρατική τηλεόραση, ενώ παράλληλα υπήρξε τηλεοπτική οικοδέσποινα της εκπομπής «Please understand me» στο δορυφορικό σαουδαραβικό κανάλι Orbit.Το 2005 αναγκάστηκε ωστόσο να εγκαταλείψει τη θέση της στην κρατική τηλεόραση της Αιγύπτου, αφού εναντιώθηκε στην εκφώνηση ειδήσεων που θεωρούσε αναληθείς, καθώς και στη συμμετοχή της στην προπαγάνδα των τότε προεδρικών εκλογών.Όσο για την εκπομπή «Please understand me», διεκόπη ταυτόχρονα με το ξέσπασμα της αιγυπτιακής εξέγερσης, αμέσως μόλις οι Σαουδάραβες ιδιοκτήτες συνειδητοποίησαν την ταύτιση ιδεών της τηλεπαρουσιάστριάς τους με την αιγυπτιακή επανάσταση.Η Μποθάινα Κάμελ έχει επιπλέον υπάρξει συνιδρύτρια του γκρουπ «We are watching you», που είχε ως ρόλο την παρατήρηση και τον έλεγχο των βουλευτικών εκλογών, και ιδρύτρια της οργάνωσης «Αιγύπτιοι εναντίον της Διαφθοράς».







Γκαντα Αμπντελ Ααλ.



The rules may differ from country to country, but the dating game is a universal constant.
After years of searching for Mr. Right in living-room meetings arranged by family or friends, Ghada Abdel Aal, a young Egyptian professional, decided to take to the blogosphere to share her experiences and vent her frustrations at being young, single, and female in Egypt.

Her blog, I Want to Get Married!, quickly became a hit with both men and women in the Arab world.

With a keen sense of humor and biting social commentary, Abdel Aal recounts in painful detail her adventures with failed proposals and unacceptable suitors. There’s Mr. Precious, who storms out during their first meeting when he feels his favorite athlete has been slighted, and another suitor who robs her in broad daylight, to name just a few of the characters she runs across in her pursuit of wedded bliss.
I Want to Get Married! has since become a best-selling book in Egypt and the inspiration for a television series. This witty look at dating challenges skewed representations of the Middle East and presents a realistic picture of what it means to be a single young woman in the Arab world, where, like elsewhere, a good man can be hard to find.



“I want to get married” is a perfectly normal thing to say for a young Egyptian man. But when a girl says it in such a conservative society – let alone writes a book with that title – she is making a political statement.

“Girls are not supposed to be actively seeking something, a girl simply exists for someone to marry or divorce her,” says the author of the top-selling book, Ghada Abdelaal. “To say she wants something is seen as impolite.”

The book started as a blog, before it was spotted by an Egyptian publisher and printed as a series of comic sketches in which flawed and failed suitors came knocking at her parents’ door.

A paranoid policeman, a hirsute fundamentalist, a pathological liar and other hilarious caricatures are portrayed in sparkling Egyptian vernacular.

Marriage anxiety

The veiled, softly-spoken Abdelaal is a sharp and witty observer of social incongruity in Egypt, a feisty spirit trying to tear up stifling tradition.

They ask young girls here when they are three or four, who would you marry… they implant the idea your only purpose in life is to get married
Ghada Abdelaal

She says her target is not Egyptian men but a tradition known as “gawwaz el-salonat” (living room marriage), where a stranger is brought to the family home and the daughter must decide whether to marry him on the basis of this brief encounter.

“People who go for a picnic need to know each other a little longer than that – let alone make a lifelong commitment,” Abdelaal says.

The book’s popularity – it is in its third print run with a sitcom in the offing – reflects a widespread anxiety in Egyptian society. More and more young people cannot afford to get married.

Although the book focuses on finding Mr Right, she acknowledges finding an affordable flat remains an almost insurmountable obstacle. Many young people stay engaged for years before they can save up enough money.

“By the time they actually get to live together, they are already tired of each other,” says women’s rights activist Nihad Abou El Qoumsan. This causes the unusually high rate of divorce among the newlyweds in Egypt, she says.

Such is the impact of property prices on the marriage crisis, a popular talk show has invited engaged couples to join a draw to win a flat.

A new apartment will be given away by a wealthy businessman every day of the fasting and holiday month of Ramadan, in September. Huge numbers have registered.

Sexual frustration

Some describe it as a social time bomb. Religious customs mean there is no sex before marriage. So how do young people react to this situation?

I don’t think people who harass women on the street are necessarily single, or necessarily sexually frustrated
Anthropologist Hania Sholkamy

Sociologist Madeeha al-Safty of the American University in Cairo believes one consequence is sexual harassment of women and rape reaching unprecedented levels in Egypt.

“If you are frustrated, there is the possibility that you take it out [through] violence.

“Some people choose the safer way in moving towards a more religious attitude – not necessarily extremism, but it might reach the point of extremism,” she adds.

But anthropologist Hania Sholkamy hesitates to link the problems of sexual harassment and rape to the marriage crisis.

“I don’t think people who harass women on the street are necessarily single, or necessarily sexually frustrated. There are many millions of people who are extremely frustrated, but they do not harass women.

“I think the issue is one of violence and gender disparities, pure and simple.”

Gender disparity is a theme running throughout Abdelaal’s book, from the provocative title questioning the women’s passive role in a traditional society to the way children are brought up.

“They ask young girls here when they are three or four, who would you marry… they implant the idea your only purpose in life is to get married.

“Even after she goes to school they tell her that a girl’s only future is in her husband’s home. So what happens when a girl for any reason cannot get married. Should she set fire to herself?”


Σε λίγες εβδομάδες η Γκάντα θα γίνει 30 ετών- δυστυχώς για τους συγγενείς της. Δυστυχώς γιατί ζει στην Αίγυπτο και είναι ανύπανδρη. Τα τελευταία 5 χρόνια θείοι και θείες έχουν αποδυθεί σε ένα ανελέητο κυνήγι γαμπρών για την αγαπημένη τους ανιψιά.

Καθώς τα 30ά γενέθλιά της πλησιάζουν, φίλοι και συγγενείς έχουν πλέον ξεχάσει τις προϋποθέσεις που έθεταν την τελευταία πενταετία για τον ιδανικό γαμπρό. Τώρα πια ένα είναι το κριτήριο- γαμπρός να ΄ναι και ό,τι να ΄ναι.

Ύστερα από μια παρέλαση ανδρών τα τελευταία χρόνια- 30 υποψήφιους είδε η Γκάντα Αμπντέλ Αάλ μέχρι σήμερα: έναν πρώην ντετέκτιβ, έναν άκρως συντηρητικό, έναν άλλον που… έπασχε από αμνησία και ξέχασε να αναφέρει πως η πρώτη του γυναίκα ζει με τα παιδιά τους στο εξωτερικό- η Αιγύπτια φαρμακοποιός ξεστόμισε επιτέλους ένα τεράστιο «Όχι».

Και δεν έμεινε εκεί.

Κατέγραψε στο μπλογκ της όλες τις εμπειρίες της, όλα τα κωμικά γεγονότα που συνόδευαν σχεδόν κάθε υποψήφιο σύζυγο.

«Είμαι ένα από τα 15 εκατ. κορίτσια που πιέζονται σε καθημερινή βάση από την κοινωνία να παντρευτούν», λέει η Γκάντα. «Δεν μας επιτρέπεται να επιθυμούμε κάτι, απλώς υπάρχουμε για να ΄ρθει κάποιος και να μας παντρευτεί». Η 29χρονη φαρμακοποιός και διάσημη πλέον μπλόγκερ και συγγραφέας από την Αίγυπτο, φορά μαντίλα αλλά δεν φοβάται να πει αυτό που θέλει. Το βιβλίο της, το οποίο πούλησε ήδη 15.000 αντίτυπα από την έκδοσή του τον Φεβρουάριο, ρίχνει φως στους περίφημους gawaaz al salonat- ή αλλιώς, στους γάμους από το σαλόνι– δηλαδή στους γάμους που γίνονται με συνοικέσια.

Αφού εντοπιστεί ο ενδιαφερόμενος, επισκέπτεται το σπίτι της κοπέλας για κουβέντα και τσάι. Έτσι έγινε και με την Γκάντα. Μια φορά μάλιστα, απέτυχε παταγωδώς λόγω της εμμονής του υποψηφίου με το ποδόσφαιρο. Κάποια στιγμή, ενώ κουβέντιαζαν, άνοιξε την τηλεόραση, και άρχισε να παρακολουθεί τον ποδοσφαιρικό αγώνα. «Αντιλήφθηκε όμως ότι εγώ υποστήριζα την αντίπαλη ομάδα και αυτό ήταν. Βρέθηκα εκτός λίστας». Όμως η οικογένειά της δεν το καταλάβαινε. «Μπορείς να αλλάξεις ομάδα, ποιο είναι το πρόβλημα;», της έλεγαν. «Έτσι άρχισα να αμφιβάλω για τον εαυτό μου. Ίσως αυτοί να είχαν δίκιο κι εγώ άδικο. Ήταν γελοίο».

Στη Μέση Ανατολή, ο γάμος θεωρείται ακόμη, ειδικά για τις γυναίκες, έξοδος προς την ελευθερία, τη σεξουαλική δραστηριότητα αλλά και την κοινωνική καταξίωση, για να μην αναφέρουμε τη θρησκευτική υποχρέωση, λένε οι ειδικοί.

«Εγώ έλεγα ότι όλοι ήταν ακατάλληλοι και οι συγγενείς μου απαντούσαν πως αυτός ο τελευταίος ήταν ο Ιδανικός. Η επιτυχία του μπλογκ και του βιβλίου μου έδειξαν πως είχα δίκιο. Στην Αίγυπτο οι γυναίκες είναι πιο δυνατές από τους άνδρες, με έντονη προσωπικότητα. Θέλω έναν άνδρα με ισχυρή προσωπικότητα, ο οποίος θα διαθέτει ανοιχτό μυαλό», καταλήγει.


Ghada Abdel Aal lost count of marriage proposals after her 65th suitor – although by her account she is already two years past her sell-by date.

“The expiration date is 30,” she declares. “Now that I’m 32, there are fewer and fewer offers.”

But it was the endless trail of unsuitable would-be husbands that brought her international fame with a hilarious blog, the trigger for a best-selling book and a hit TV series.

There was “hot stuff”, the doctor who interrupted their introduction to watch his favourite football team on television, then swore at Abdel Aal’s mother for daring to intervene.

There was the hirsute fundamentalist, a “big ball of hair that had sprouted some eyes”, who was keener than the two wives he brought along for good measure.

And there was the charming, briefcase-carrying admirer who made off with the contents of her wallet.

Abdel Aal’s satirical blog, entitled I Want to Get Married, shone a light on the interfering relatives, inappropriate matchmaking and pressure to wed quickly in the practice of gawwaz el salonat, or living room marriages, whereby women in Egyptian society are paraded before their suitors in awkward, stilted meetings over cups of tea and expected to decide whether to spend the rest of their lives together after that first brief encounter.

Borrowing heavily from her and her friends’ experiences, she wrote in the voice of a character called Bride, interjecting her incisive observations on “our magnificent little two-faced society … [in which] girls are programmed over and over again to think that the only thing that’s expected of them in life is for them to get married and have children”.

Her wry insights struck a chord in a country where there are said to be three million single women over the age of 35 while almost half of all men between 25 and 29 are unmarried and a third of marriages end in divorce in the first year.

Within a couple of months, her anonymous blog had 700,000 followers. When the publishing house Dar El Shorouk approached her about a book deal a year later, Abdel Aal, a pharmacist, was forced to come out from behind the veil and acknowledge that she was the author.

The response has been huge. I Want to Get Married, or Ayza Atgawwiz, as it is known in Arabic, has sold 40,000 copies globally and been translated into English, Italian, German and Dutch. Last year the book, written in colloquial Arabic, was turned into a 30-episode television series starring the Tunisian actress Hend Sabri. It was aired on nine channels during Ramadan and became the No. 1 show in Saudi Arabia.


“Women were saying, ‘Finally someone is expressing what we are thinking’,” Abdel Aal says. “It is not just my stories – sometimes they were my friends’ and I would go over the top to make them funnier.”

The diminutive author, immaculately dressed in a brown-and-cream outfit with a matching hijab, was visiting Dubai in March to speak at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature about the role of women writers in the Arab world. With her sweet, baby-faced features, she looks a picture of innocence.

But woe betide any unsuspecting men who turned up on her doorstep clutching “a teeny box of candy”, or worse, arrived empty-handed.

All prospective marriage candidates were dissected with the razor-sharp wit and scathing eye that have won her so many fans among Arab women and men alike.

But her blog has not been without controversy. She has been labelled “dissolute” and “the worst example of unmarried girls” by some male readers, while there has been something of a backlash from feminists objecting to her portrayal of hysterical women vying for the perfect husband.

Little wonder then that when she began blogging in August 2006, it was under cover. Like many Egyptians in their 20s and 30s, stifled by Hosni Mubarak’s oppressive regime and forbidden from open dissent under threat of arrest, she first started a political blog.

But the internet offered another outlet shortly after her mother, Hanaa, died at the age of 50, when Abdel Aal was just 23. Without a matriarchal figure to look up to, she turned to cyberspace.



Posted December 25, 2011 by bmplefour in Egypt

One response to “Girl in the blue bra. Το Μπλε Σουτιέν.

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