Friday, February 8, 2013

Women on the offensive against violent assaults in Cairo

The Arab uprisings highlight more than anything the leading role of women in social transformation. The tenacity & determination of women in Egypt, Bahrain, & elsewhere is a glory to behold. As harassment & violence toward women protestors crescendoed in Egypt--almost certainly by police agents to deter women from participating in social protest--women activists began organizing to reclaim Tahrir Square as conquered territory of the Egyptian revolution & to rid it of violence toward women.

On Wednesday, thousands of protestors hit the streets denouncing the Morsi regime for refusing to take action to stop the violence. Men & women, young & old, Muslims, Christians, & seculars joined a march organized by feminist groups, including OpAnti-Sexual Harassment & Baheya Ya Misr (groups involved in defending & rescuing women under assault). Many of the women protestors brandished knives to show defiance; many carried banners of respected women from Egypt’s history. OpAnti-Sexual Harassment formed human shields around the marchers to protect them from possible attack.

This is the kind of leadership the Egyptian revolution is producing. As violence wielded as a political weapon toward women increases around the world, the women of Egypt stand as a beacon for how to stand against it & defeat it.

This extraordinary album of photos is from the Wednesday march:

(Photo of women marshaling protest by Mai Shaheen)

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