Opinion: Female body under siege in post-revolution Egypt


Egyptian writer Mansoura Ez Eldin sketches a bleak picture of post-revolutionary social conditions in her homeland, where she says women face political marginalization and are being robbed of their basic rights.

While soldiers on Qasr al-Aini Street in Cairo set about roughing up female Egyptian protesters last month, the Salafists in Suez were holding spirited celebrations to mark their victory in the second round of elections. They struck up religious hymns and chanted slogans like “the military and the people are one,” “the Muslim Brotherhood and the Al Nour Party are one” and, above all, “God and the people are one.” Women did not participate at all.

The “people” they are referring to are, of course, something different from the demonstrators. As far as the Salafists are concerned, “the people” refers exclusively to their own supporters.

As the Salafists rejoiced in song at their unity with the military, members of this very same army were beating, kicking and dragging around a defenseless woman on the ground out on the street and – as if that weren’t enough – tearing off her clothes as well.

Neither this episode nor other sad examples of the abuse and killing of demonstrators while the protests were being broken up in front of the Council of Ministers’ headquarters provoked the anger of the Islamists or other religious zealots, who invoke their own good morals day and night. Instead, they condemned the victim for leaving the house to demonstrate in the first place.

Mansoura Ez EldinMansoura Ez Eldin’s books have been translated into a number of languages

Their response fits right in with the publicly propagated, misogynistic views and behavior of the Salafists.

In an era when Egypt must tackle the many problems that have stacked up during 60 years of military dictatorship, these disciples of Islam (Salafists and Muslim Brothers in equal measure) view the body of a woman as the root of all evil. As a consequence, they see covering it up as their most pressing priority, all the while recklessly ignoring key issues such as repression, poverty, corruption and the decline in educational standards.

It would appear that the debate over the female body has in the meantime become a priority for all factions of the Egyptian political spectrum, to varying degrees. The Islamists want to forcibly command that body back into the house and exclude it from the public arena.

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About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

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