Monday, June 06, 2005

The street is theirs

I received an email that's in circulation about an apparently new movement in the building called The Street is Ours. The movement is being initiated by a group of women whom are having an event in the Press Syndicate and affirming the role of the Egyptian woman in the desired political change. The email and English version of the invitation are below.

The girl who initially sent the email and invitation had her name and mobile number in the email, which I didn't think is particularly the smartest thing to do. I think this thing is getting way too emotional, which is partially fine, but is quite dangerous and ineffective I think.

Anyway, so since the girl had her number in the email and asked for the widest possible circulation, I decided to call her up. She was a bit defensive. I would too, if a total stranger calls me up and asks me that he received an email about an upcoming protest next Thursday. Well she immediatly said that its not a protest, its an event. So I asked where the financial contribution is being directed to, and what entity will be receiving those funds. She said there is no entity, but was a group of people, and the funds were being directed to finance this Thursday's event only. I asked her if this was a new movement, she said, not yet, but they are contributing to the public forces that are asking for change and they have similar demands. I asked her if Dr. Heba was one of the organizers, she said yes. I asked why the division among the opposition and the separation from Kefaya. She said its 'nice' to have a multitude of opposition forces aiming for the same goal, similar to other movements like the Youth for Change movement. I told her the Youth for Change movement are under the umbrella of Kefaya, she said No, they are only coordinating with them but not part of it (I was there and they said they were under Kefaya umbrella, but ofcourse she knows better!). I actually think it could be effective to have more than one movement with the same goals, as long as they coordinate as much as possible. One movement down, 10 others to go. Not a bad model. Oh, and I asked her if this was a pure feminine movement, she said no, all are welcome.

Anyway, so here's the email and the invitation. Haven't decided if I should go or not. The timing is certainly more suitable than the usual Kefaya demos, so this is an encouragement to me.

Dear All,

In light of the dramatic events of May 25th, and as part of a stand against the systematic targeting of women in the public sphere, I am attaching an invitation (in Arabic and English) for a political gathering organized by a number of women-activists and non-activists -next Thursday 9 June.

Your participation is invaluable. Also your financial contribution would be highly appreciated since the event is organized independently form any institution or organization.

If you have any questions, suggestions or would like to make a contribution please email me at: or call 012-xxx-xxxx.

Please give it the widest possible circulation.


[Invitation Below]

The Street is Ours!!
A political gathering organized by Egyptian women
Thursday, 9th of June 2005:

Political meeting: 5 – 8 p.m.
Press Syndicate – 4th Floor

Everyone is invited!

On Wednesday the 25th of May the Egyptian Ministry of Interior and the Egyptian ruling party joined hands and efforts to attack men and women protesting the farce referendum, which the Egyptian regime is trying to sell to the international community as evidence of political reform. On the same day the Ministry of Interior and the ruling party used a tactic that was new to them. What was new is that they used it in the streets of the capital, in clear daylight and in front of everybody who was around the points of gatherings, which we had wanted to be peaceful.. the tactic was to target women, using violence, molestation and sexual harassment.

On that day the Ministry of Interior send a clear message to the women and their families, friends and colleagues, that women should stay at home.

Wednesday the 25th of May was not the first time where sexual harassment was used to terrorize women and limit their participation in public life. They harass us in public buses and when we complain they tell us to stay home! They harass us at the workplace and when we complain they tell us to stay at home! They harass us in demonstrations and when we complain they tell us to stay home?

But we shall not remain imprisoned by fear in our homes. The street is ours. It belongs to us as it belongs to all Egyptians. We have taken to the streets as pupils, students, workers, peasants, housewives, professionals and faculty.. we have taken to the streets in solidarity with the heroic Palestinian Intifada and protesting the criminal war against Iraq. We have taken to the streets protesting the desecration of the Koran in Guantanamo and in solidarity with the women peasants in Sarando and the women of Arish and the ESCO and Asbestos workers.. We shall not retreat!!

Thursday the 9th of June 2005
An open political meeting
for women to have their say in the struggle for change.


haal said...

You called the girl up. Wow. How bold? That is so funny. I would never do that.

Mohamed said...

Well, she asked for it, right? The email she wrote said: "If you have any questions, suggestions or would like to make a contribution please email me [...] or call"!!