“In the 18 confirmed attacks that day, six women were hospitalized, according to interviews conducted by human rights groups. One woman was stabbed in her genitals, and another required a hysterectomy.” (NYTIMES, March 25).
This is one of the saddest stories I have read and for a moment, it got me wondering why a nation would choose to ignore the request/pleas/cries of half of its population.
To add salt to injury as the “conservative Islamists in Egypt’s new political elite were outraged – at women.” One the ‘ultraconservative’ police officer had the audacity to say “a girl contributes 100 percent to her own raping when she puts herself in these conditions.”
Lately, the number of gang rape and rape in general has gone up in Egypt and unlike 2011 when women could demonstrate at night, no woman can dare be outside nowadays. What happened? We all thought Mubarak was out and the new era or freedom had finally arrived… Well, the opposite is true (sadly so).
The Muslim brotherhood that drafted the new constitution is now dictating the dominant paradigms of the Egyptian society. The legal as well as administrative institutions are now operating under Sharia law and this is setting Egypt decades back. Women activist are lamenting over the new administration and how the religious fundamentals are creating a real hell out of Egypt (I believe Muslims believe in hell).
To tie this to what we discussed in class about recent developments in the Egyptian society, it is very interesting to see how the law could be use to suppress the subalterns. The same administration that had allowed women TV anchors to wear Hijab in the name of ‘freedom’ is very outspoken about suppressing the women who choose to dress ‘irreligiously.
So what are the real issues affecting the Egyptian people? Is it Hijab or the trumping of human rights? Would Hijab be Ok to replace the right to equal treatment under the law? Maybe the very Muslim fundamental women would agree but I seem to think that some values are universal. Some would probably start thinking of me as a ‘brainwashed’ western critic but the truth is absolute. When someone is raped in Tahris Square, anyone would react the same way as when someone has been raped in Central Park. Only someone who is under a ‘veil of ignorance’ will turn to a religious text to find solace or to find justification for the actions of the victims. Why and how (if I can let my ignorance aloud) would a victim contribute 100% of her own raping?
When people took to the streets in early 2011, there was dissatisfaction with the Mubrak regime. Men and women were very hopeful that the new government would do more to promote women’s’ rights and it is unfortunate that the regime is doing anything substantial. President Morsi failed on his promise to appoint a female vice president and his administration failed to meet the 5% women appointee thresholds (He had promised 20+). The committee that drafted the new constitution barely had women representation and this is reflected on how Sharia law is taking back the efforts of those who had fought for women’s’ freedom fiercely during Mubarak’s regime. By saying this, I do not oppose (well my voice can’t do much anyway) a country to adopt its own laws as it ‘unanimously’ think but to silence the voices to dissent can be alluded to killing the lame (in a group) so the group can walk faster and reach the destination early. Is this the walk that the Egypt is opting for?