Thursday, April 29, 2010

Young Arab Feminist Network: a New Hope

In Marrakesh 2008 was the start, the “issue” of young feminists was discussed and considered in AWID meeting. It was like a stone thrown in lake, it created many waves on ideas and further on initiatives. In this meeting the young feminists articulated their interests; they started to show the invisible struggle they are facing. It was not the patriarchal societies we are living in, or the authoritarian regimes we are living in, it was the daily endeavor they young feminists go through, to claim their right to exist and show a different feminist discourse.

Many claims can be raised to disqualify the young feminists, like they lack the needed information and experience, they are not well prepared to join the decision making process and they should be allocated according to the needs and priorities of the institutions they are working in, all these claims are gathered to hinder the progress of young feminist attempts to change the status quo of the feminist movement.
When We the young feminists realized that we can do more than preparing coffee and tea, or fixing the seniors problems with technology, we argued that we have potentials and we can change our situations, we will not be satisfied by the mid career promises nor we will play the role of communicators with the foreign donors, we thought that we need an entity that empower us, build our capacity , offer us support and aggregate us, and here was the start of the Young Arab Feminist Network.

The network is a result of months of deliberations between young feminists from all over the Arab region, they discussed all the challenges we are facing and they attempted to realize their own dreams, they sought an inclusive network that can offer a safe space to its members regardless ethnicity, class, background, ideological affiliation, sexual orientation. We aimed to create a platform where we can articulate our interests, raise our concerns and shape our own struggle strategy.

We are launching the Young Arab Feminist Network in Cairo, it is step one in the road, I know that we need perseverance and passion to continue, and our road is full of obstacles, but I am quite sure that we belief in our cause will guide us through this hard road.

From more information on the Young Arab Feminist Network check Young Arab Feminist Network.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Racism: added item to list of misery

I live in Ain Shames in Eastern Cairo, it is not a fancy rich place. The governmental clerks or artisans are the inhibitors of it. In Ain Shames I was used to see crowds gathered to buy the subsidized bread, or gathered to ride the public transportation in the early morning to go to work, and many other form of situations that show the daily struggle of the people in Ain Shames.

Back in the eighties and nineties, many sectarian clashes took place in Ain Shames, the most famous and most dangerous was the Adam street Church, it was fight over a piece of land as the reason of the majority of sectarian clashes. Recently the racial dynamics is taking a new trend, the clashes are not between Muslims and Christians anymore, the new comers are the subjects of the racial sentiments here.
Generally we can say that lower middle class is the large sector of the inhabitants of Ain Shames, but others sought peace and decided to live here too, those are the Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers, where they can afford living next to the Egyptians.

Sudanese are the largest refugee community in Egypt, they all fled Sudan to save their lives from the wars in the South and in Darfur, they thought they will find peace in Cairo, but sadly the situation in Cairo is not as they dreamed. They are suffering too much here, not only the scarcity of resources and the lack of services, but also racism is a major problem.

I saw many fights and nasty speeches directed to them, it is very common to find young Egyptian boys following the refugees and calling them racist names related to their black color, and the reaction of the people around them will be negative as well, they will say "you invaded the country" or " we are already having many problems and you are adding to our problems" and many other racist speeches.
I see this and I can not change anything, I saw the massacre of Muastafa Mahmoud mosque in 2005, where many were killed and I was sad but what made me sadder, were the comments of the Egyptian public and racist speeches against the poor victims .

Ironically that is taking place in Egypt, a dark color but not black nation, I will not refer to the black Egyptian from the South who face similar situations, I really do not understand the ridiculous white supremacist attitude of Egyptians, I just want us to see the misery the refugees are going through daily, they are suffering enough so please do not add a new item to the list .
This post is written in the campaign of Twenty Four Seven campaign to discuss the migrants rights .
check the campaign website :