Muslim Brotherhood -- what will it mean for Egyptian women?

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Timebandit Timebandit's picture

That always reminds me of what NRA activists say:  "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

You cannot seperate religious law from the religion that spawns it.  That goes for repression of women through "biblical law" and any other faith-based legal system out there, not just sharia.  It's a cognitively dissonant statement.

MegB

Timebandit wrote:

That always reminds me of what NRA activists say:  "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."

You cannot seperate religious law from the religion that spawns it.  That goes for repression of women through "biblical law" and any other faith-based legal system out there, not just sharia.  It's a cognitively dissonant statement.

True.  But what spawns the religion?  Organized religion is mostly - if not always - patriarchal (Wicca and a few other Earth-based spiritualities excepted).  Anything organized along patriarchal lines is inherently favourable to men almost in direct proportion to its detriment to women.  At the time Sharia law was devised, it was actually more progressive than anything women had under Western religions.  Of course, that was over a millennium ago  ... this is what observant Muslims - men and women - say in defense of Sharia.  And the historicity of it is valid - but only as a piece of history I think.

Fundamentalist religious sects like to hearken back to a time when men were men and women were property.  People with power over others don't willingly give up that power, even if it's to their - and society's - detriment.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Esther Pinder wrote:
Egypt is already awash in anti-female behaviour. To the credit of the previous government special train cars were set up for women only, but that only shifts the issue to another location. The society needs fundamental change when it comes to accepting women as complete equals and I really do not see that happening under a religious government.

I think back to the scenes from Tahir Square where every person was male. Where were the women?

Great post, Esther -- and welcome to babble.

This for me is about the long and short of it. And it also speaks to the problems arising in this thread. I don't think there's anything uniquely patriarchal about the brotherhood--it's on the same continuum as the police and thug rule before the Arab spring. Some babblers have asserted that criticizing the Brotherhood for its misogyny feeds into imperialist narratives. This is certaily true, but what rarely gets asked is how much of the anti-imperialist discourse of the West feeds into patriarchal narratives or otherwise ignores the voices of women, especially women of colour. It's a tough tightrope to walk, but easy to see: "where are the women?" indeed.

quizzical

Rebecca West wrote:
  People with power over others don't willingly give up that power, even if it's to their - and society's - detriment.

i don't think people with 'power' actually give a shit about what's better for society and other people. if there are some i've never met 'em.

self-serving power is the drug of their choice. imv it's an addiction.

i was at a pancake breakfast on Sunday and a bunch of men were  talking 'bout God. the opinion was all the stuff going on was 'cause God was mad. mad 'cause society strayed away from God's laws and  until we go back the world is going to be a mess. the micro translation to me in my hungover state was they had all lost their good forestry jobs and their wives were supporting them and their wives were getting uppity.

and to get all biblical on my own part i see men as being the same as they were in the garden of eden. unable to take responsibility for their own actions and they gotta blame "the woman".

NDPP

 

The Hidden Feminine Side of Egypt's Revolution

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/rights/women-egypt...

"If not for a group of Egyptian women leading the way to Tahrir Square last January 25, said Muslim Brotherhood media researcher Sondos Asem, the revolution might never have begun. Even the male dominated Muslim Brotherhood has women in powerful places.."

www.400monkeys.com/God/

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

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kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

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MegB

Thanks for the links NDPP.  While it's true that the mainstream Western media didn't show many, if any, women protesting in Tahir Square earlier this year, they were there.  Relative to the men's presence they were a scant few, but it doesn't serve anyone to dismiss their role.

 

eastnoireast

wasn't it a woman who set the whole thing off with her twitter or facebook posting? (a u.s. educated-maybe-cia woman, but that's another story..).

women in tahrir were generally not on the "front lines" for a variety of reasons, and so would tend to garner less coverage.  backline is often as, if not more, important.

here's an article speaking to women's role in the uprising.

http://english.aljazeera.net/indepth/features/2011/02/2011217134411934738.html#

Women of the revolution
Egyptian women describe the spirit of Tahrir and their hope that the equality they found there will live on.

Fatma Naib Last Modified: 19 Feb 2011 12:11 GMT

"I have never felt as at peace and as safe as I did during those days in Tahrir. There was a sense of coexistence that overcame all of the problems that usually happen - whether religious or gender based."


from what i've read, my sense of the muslim brotherhood is that they are, as has been mentioned here, pragmatic and compromised.  they were very slow and reluctant to back tahrir, and fairly cooperative with the powers that be, as they are one of the entrenched powers themselves.  that being said, they are not monolithic and contain old-schooler, ideological, power seeking, and reformer factions.  sorta like the ndp.

not at all to detract from legitimate concerns, inquiries, and actions regarding women's realities in any culture, but the western meme of "we're so righteous we need to intervene in country x to save the women" makes me want to puke.  hint: if peter mackay, harper, bush and obama flaunt something, it's probably shit.

often half the problems are originally caused by outside powers empowering the local strongman for their own purposes.  afghanistan/taliban anyone?

women never fare well in war zones, and neither does civil society as a whole. 

-

MegB

I don't know. The whole Tariq Square narrative is high on rumour and low on facts.  But your last statement is undeniably true - women never fare well in war zones. 

"Those who start wars, never fight them."

                   -- Michael Franti

Maysie Maysie's picture

eastnoireast wrote:
 not at all to detract from legitimate concerns, inquiries, and actions regarding women's realities in any culture, but the western meme of "we're so righteous we need to intervene in country x to save the women" makes me want to puke.  

Yes. This. Thank you.

It seems my earlier post was too subtle.

quizzical

yep Canada controls its religious extremists and their treatment of women and girls making our lives much better.............as this article 'bout a religous man shows us.
 
The 49-year-old man - who can't be named to protect the identity of the victim - pleaded guilty to assault and was given a two-year conditional discharge Monday. He admits striking the girl 10 times in the buttocks, which caused her to go to hospital with minor injuries.
"I understand now that it was the wrong thing to do," the man told court during his sentencing hearing. The Crown was seeking a suspended sentence, which would have resulted in a blemish on his otherwise clean record.
But Queen's Bench Justice Doug Abra said he was impressed by the "honestly and candour" displayed by the accused in explaining his actions.
"This has taught him a significant lesson," said Abra.
Crown attorney Debbie Buors told court the man was quoting Bible verses as he struck the girl, who was put in his family's care by Child and Family Services after being seized from a distant relative. He was telling her "Spare the rod, spoil the child" and "When you are evil you go to Hell," while dishing out the punishment in a bar on the family's property in eastern Manitoba.
http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/Man-spared-criminal-record-for-whipping-daughter-with-riding-crop-160449305.html
i'm so angry. wtf was the judge thinking??? wtf are Canadians thinking letting this go on as much ado about nothin???????

Maysie Maysie's picture

"What men say to men who harass women in the streets" from Egypt.

Unfortunately some of the subtitles are difficult to read, but very much worth the time.

Excellent video.

 

MegB

Most excellent video - thanks Maysie!

ElizaQ2

 

  I don't have that much to add on the current state as I don't feel I know enough to comment in detail beyond what some other posters have covered.  I admit that I stopped following current events in Egypt (and a lot of other places) a while back.  Just getting back into the world again. 

I can comment about women's roles in the Revolution from my personal experience beyond what was happening on the ground in Tahir square from personal experience.   When it was happening I followed social media around quite closely.  I had dozens of people on my Twitter list as well as quite a few websites.  The overwhelming majority of people I followed and in a couple of cases directly talked too via twitter were women (or at least identified themselves as women).   These women got information out about what was happening long before MSM picked it up.  A few became go-to people for up to date real time info as well as using their nettworks to figure out what was going on.   In my opinion they participated in one of the key reasons that events happened as they did.  

A number of these women did participate directly in the on the ground events.  A number as was commented about played more 'background' roles as information disemminaters which was just as important.  Several also acted as translators so non-arabic speaking people could understand arabic tweets. 

One women spent most of her time finding and coordinating getting supplies to people.  Others took people in for safety at the worst of some of the times.  Others worked at finding out what happened to people who had disappeared. 

In hindsight I wish that I had saved all this for easier access.  It got to the point where through their tweets each one had their own story laid out for anyone to see.  

At many times as events unfolded I found myself feeling quite helpless and distressed because the only thing I could do was sit and watch as the text scrolled by.  All I could do was express my solidarity, retweet if asked and act as a witness.  What I found though after tweeting back a few times to a few of them that this was what they wanted and appreciated and just the fact that so many people were paying attention around the world helped some.  They were tweeting just as much for the 'outside' as they were for internal coordination and info disemination. 

My most memorable interaction was with a woman who I had been following for days.  She tweeted that she had finally made it into the square.  It was at a time when they were showing live shots on tv.   I tweeted back "stay safe, stay strong, watching on tv right now from Canada, maybe I see you ;)."  She tweeted back "I'm the one on the left wearing the grey hijab, lol".  I laughed back.  This started a bit of tweet fest with other people with the revolutions version of "Where's Waldo".   It was hysterical on both ends, a bit of international levity in a tough time. I think human interactions like this matter.

Anyways if I as woman and a western white woman can take anything from this experience and apply it to what's happening today I feel that my response would be much the same.  I don't know enough, it's not my daily lived experience to be making any sort of proclamations of what should happen or what they should do.  If the women I had contact with through social media are any indication of the women on the ground right now they are strong, intelligent and know what's up better then anyone not there can.

 I can do the same thing now as then. Express my solidarity, help if it's requested and it's something I can do, listen, learn and act as witness in their struggle.    

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