Are you a sexual harrassment supporter?

Yes, you! And might I also say that it is time we call it what it is, violence against women, which is becoming a norm in Egypt.  Sadly, many people who say they are against sexual harassment are actually supporters without realizing it.

If your first response is, she got attacked because of how she was dressed or where she was, then I am sorry you are a sexual harassment supporter.  No one (regardless of their gender) should be abused or harassed for any reason.  Period.  Why is that so hard to understand?  When people say things like women are like candy and need to be covered up, they really are saying that men can not control themselves and are rapists waiting to happen.  Women are scientists, doctors, engineers, fighter pilots, moms, referees, etc.  They are not candy.  They are not diamonds.  They are human beings who have the right to dress as they choose without having to justify it or be punished for it.

If you think that sexual harassment affects a woman’s honor (شرف ) then you also have a problem.  Her humanity, dignity, soul, heart, psyche, body and more have been violated, but not her honor.  Her honor is only defined by her actions not what someone else does to her.  It is time we stop being dinosaurs and realize that honor has nothing to do with it.

If you are a man and feel that your honor is being violated because a woman was harassed/raped/abused/attacked please take a number, have a seat and wait until hell freezes over.  This has nothing to do with you.  You do not own women.  Your honor is only defined by your actions not by what happens to someone else.  Your job is not to harass women.  Full stop.  If as a decent person (regardless of gender) you choose to stand up against harassment then thank you, that means you have chosen the right thing.

If you feel that videos of attacks make us look bad in the eyes of the rest of the world, then please go drink some arsenic. The fact that you believe that half the population lives in constant fear of being abused or harassed is less important than our collective image means you really need some therapy.  I totally agree that the privacy of victims needs to be protected, they at least deserve that from us. But covering an attack up or pretending that they are not an epidemic is just sick and stupid.

We have a serious problem in Egypt.  It is called misogyny , as defined by wikipedia

Misogyny /mɪˈsɒɪni/ is the hatred or dislike of women or girls. Misogyny can be manifested in numerous ways, including sexual discrimination, denigration of women, violence against women, and sexual objectification of women.[1][2] Misogyny has been characterised as a prominent feature of the mythologies of the ancient world as well as of various religions.

If you find any way to blame a victim or justify an attacker then you are a misogynistic inhumane creep that needs to find a hole in the ground to bury yourself.

If you think you don’t support violence against women, but see people blaming the victim and don’t say anything that makes you a supporter.  If you lead men to believe that this is about their honor and don’t right their views, then you are supporting more violence against women.  If you want to hide the fact that these attacks happen then you are a supporter.

If you do not take a stand against crimes against women, you are supporting them.  If you belittle efforts that are made to stand against these crimes then maybe you support these crimes.

If the only solution to this problem in your view is violence against men then this is another problem, it is called misandry.  We can not fight violence with violence. We can only start educating everyone on how to stop the current epidemic and to make sure it never happens again. We need strong laws and implementation of these laws.  We need to feel safe by knowing that we are protected, not that we need to walk around carrying weapons to fight back.

A stand, is long overdue.

Saying no to the Undershirt

An undershirt
an article
of underwear worn
underneath a
dress shirt intended
to protect them from
body sweat and odors. It can have short sleeves or be sleeveless. The term most commonly refers to upper-body wear worn by males. It also makes dress shirts less transparent. It can also be worn during winter months as an extra layer of warmth. Wikipedia

The undershirt is an ubiquitous item of clothing for Egyptian children and men. Almost always white and something I hate.  It is another example of one of those things that people just do because everyone has always done it.  I think most Egyptians will tell you that their family has worn an undershirt since the time of Ramses the first.  That is basically the real reason why people wear them “we have always worn them”.  Then they will go on about how important they are in the summer because they soak up sweat (gross) and keep them warm in the winter (redundant).

Basically I think it was more about when people did not have automatic washing machines so it was just easier to wear undershirts and wash them instead of having to wash a shirt.  But we all have the wonderful device called the washing machine in our homes so I don’t find that argument really convincing anymore.  Especially for children, since they usually spill something or roll around in any available dirt, so you will probably need to wash their clothes anyway.

As for staying warm in the winter, SERIOUSLY? When it is cold, I usually dress her in a couple of layers so who cares if it is a purple t shirt instead of a white sleeveless undershirt.  If it is about warmth, the layers are what count not what we call that layer.

My grandmother keeps bringing it up until I finally gave up and bought one, so my daughter can wear it when she visits.  I am not really trying to defy anyone.  I just don’t see why it is such a huge deal and why every Egyptian and their mother needs to tell me that I need to dress my daughter in a certain way.

And this isn’t really about the “undershirt”, it is about all of those little things that we do without questioning because it is how everyone has always done it.  So many cultural practices that make no sense at all.  Questioning things around us is healthy, imperative actually.  Why can’t I start my meal with dessert?  Why do I need a living room when I really need a craft room/family room?  Do I really need to own a TV, when I already watch almost everything online?  Why do couples who get married need to have kids right away? Why do we need to have two children? Why are people who chose to have one child heckled all the time? I have no problem with people making these choices or others, I just wish we put more thought into what we choose.

We have shackled ourselves and our lives needlessly.

I have taken off the undershirt (literally and figuratively).

I invite you to try it.  And if you do want to keep it on, then do it because you like it, not because you should keep it on because someone a hundred years ago thought it was a good idea.

Oh and by the way I googled about the benefits of the undershirt and came up with nothing scientific.

There is a wedding somewhere out there

The sound of jubilant ululating is a familiar sound to Arabs, it means something happy is happening. It is so primitive, yet powerful.  It can also sound like terrifying shrieking when done wrong. A tradition that is synonymous with weddings. We heard them from the building across us last night. Followed by the ma’zoon performing the katb kitab and more ululating and then the happy music followed. Later in the night I wandered into the room that overlooks that building and stood there for a while listening to the music. Every song has a memory. Some of the songs were from my high school years, triggering memories of friends I have not seen for more than a decade. Yes I am that old. Songs that were danced to at weddings, engagements, parties and happy events. Songs that were played in the car with my friends. Every tune, every sound has the incredible ability to reach into my deepest memories. Just like ululating.

I think of the newly weds, I hope they will be happy together, I wish them a life full of wonderful experiences and strength that will carry them through the tough times.  I don’t know who they are and to me, it doesn’t matter, I enjoy praying for people I do not know. Actually I love praying for people I do not know. It is my way of saying thank you to the world. I don’t know how long I stood there, but I am sure it was a few minutes before I realized that there will always be a wedding somewhere out there. And there must be other people who slow down to listen to the ululating and music and think happy thoughts.

لما الريس يحبنا

دار بيني و بين البياع في السوبر ماركت هذا الحديث.
أنا: من فضلك مش عايزه كيس بلاستيك
البياع: ليه؟
أنا: مش محتاجاه. لازم نقلل إستهلاكنا عليان نحافظ على البيئة و البلد علشان تفضل نظيفه
البياع: مش لما الريس يحبنا الأول؟
*حالة ذهول مؤقتة مصحوبة بشلل في الدماغ. إيه دخل الريس في الحفاظ على البيئة؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟؟*
إبتسمت إبتسامة صفراء مشيت

نحب نفسنا الأول، فنحترم نفسنا، فغيرنا حيحترمنا و مش مهم يحبنا.

Hidden Blessings

Another interesting post by RJay about hidden blessings

After a month of the Great Egyptian Revolution we are still picking up the pieces of our lives and cleaning up after decades of corruption and every day we hear about more and more secrets coming out

Even though we are all happy to be part of history in the making and being witnesses to a new dawn of Egypt. It’s been hard on all of us with the absence of police , the rumors and the so called anti revolution we are all stressed and scared but hopeful

A lot of good has come out in this country politically speaking and socially speaking that we all know and are proud of

To lighten up the moods I thought I would list the things I personally think were a positive outcome of the revolution due to the curfew

1-We’re saving a lot of money since no one is going out

2-Spending a lot of quality time with your family since you’re stuck at home

3-My skin and hair has never looked so good since all I do at home is try out all the homemade masks I can think of

4-Broke my record of reading 2 300 page books in one night and working my way thru another two

5-I use the phone home instead of my cell phone and have socialized with a lot of people I hadn’t talked to in a while

6-Facebook has actually become a legit source of comprehensive world news not just a place to check out new sources of gossip

7-My culinary skills have improved greatly I can actually make perfect fatta now

8-I’m starting to re-prioritize a lot of things in my life

9- I don’t want to immigrate any more

10-Finishing up all my pending hand craft projects like my paint by numbers and some random sewing

Last but not least Ive learnt to count my blessings especially the security we all felt that didn’t make us think twice about going out at night or going out at all

To a new Egypt …any price is worth it

هل هذه صدفه؟

إتصل الرائد تامر الملاح ببرنامج مصر في إسبوع و بعدها بساعه إتصل ببرنامج العاشره مساءا

ما هي إحتماليات قدرة شخص واحد أن يتصل ببرنامجين في نفس اليوم؟
إذا كانت هذه صدفه فهي غريبه
و إذا كان هذا نوع من أنواع الخطاب المقصود لتغيير رأي الشعب فهو مستفز لأنه يستهزىء بعقل المشاهد فأين الشفافيه و المهنيه؟
اﻹعلام أداه خطيره إذا استخدمت بغباء
ليس لي أي إعتراض على رغبة و محاولة البرامج أو الشرطه تحسين مظهرهم و المساعده و اﻹسراع في التصالح بين الشعب و الشرطه
و لكن ليس باﻹستخفاف بعقولنا أو بمخاطبة مشاعرنا أو بترهيبنا أو بإستجداء عطفنا
الطريق الوحيد لعلاقه جيده و صحيه بين أي طرفين هو اﻷمانه و الصدق و المهنيه و الجديه واﻹحترام

Walk like an Egyptian

When we first moved to Scotland, it was just my luck that a few years ago The Bangles had a hit song called “Walk like an Egyptian”. [WikipediaYouTube]. I was taunted endlessly with that song. Whenever the kids heard I was Egyptian I’d get the full dance and song routine. Being 10 at the time and very proud of my heritage (I still am proud but definitely not 10 anymore) I would correct them and tell them that wasn’t how we walked.

Today, I will walk like an Egyptian.
A tall and proud Egyptian. Not just proud because of the revolution, but proud because it is deserved. Because my people are great, my country is great and my heritage is beyond great.

I will walk like an Egyptian to inspire the coming generation to walk even taller and prouder than I do.
My country’s flag has been hanging proud in my car for a year now. I was proud even before the revolution. Today, I am asking you all to hold your head up high, to straighten your back and don’t hunch your shoulders.

You are what you believe you are.

Friday’s Five: Giving back

I posted a Friday’s Five yesterday because I spaced out and in my defense it felt like a Friday :-)

It is time we start giving back to the community.  Most people naturally give money to charity as Sadaqa or Zakat but sometimes giving things other than money might be more useful.

  1. Start a company outreach program.  If you are a business owner, consider training more interns or organizing free classes in your field to help the unemployed gain vocational knowledge that might help them find a job.
  2. Buy products made locally.  I’ve probably said this before and I will keep saying it.  Buying local products helps the economy, helps create jobs, increases cash flow in the country and also has another super important benefit.  It reduces carbon footprint, because the products you buy don’t need to travel half way around the world.   If you can recommend a good Egyptian product please link it up in the group.
  3. Related to the previous point, if you use local product and you think it could be improved contact the producer.  This helps producers improve their products.  Just remember to be polite, objective and to the point.
  4. Donate old books.  School books can go to organizations like Resala so they can help the less fortunate study.
  5. Volunteer. Volunteer, VOLUNTEER.  Volunteering your time is an amazing experience.  It is very fulfilling because you can actually see how you are helping people right away.  It also helps increase your awareness and compassion towards whatever area you are working in.  It is always easy to give money, you hand over your cash and walk away and forget all about it.  But when you spend time working on issues you believe in, your attitude is altered substantially.  I am pretty certain that people who have taken part in local street cleanups will find it very difficult in the future to litter.

Friday’s Five: Five ways the Egyptians have amazed me since Jan25

  1. They revolted.  I thought that since it had never happened before it would never happen and that we were genetically mutated and a non revolting nation.
  2. The amount of creativity was absolutely AMAZING.  Music, artwork, stand up comedy and everything else.  If the same rate of creativity continues I am sure Egypt can be totally transformed.
  3. Seeing normal people clean the streets.  I hate litter. I HATE LITTER.  Is it clear?  I always keep a plastic bag to keep wrappers and empty cans so I can throw it away when I find a trash can.  It is that simple.
  4. The amount of conspiracy theories that have come out.  What is even more amazing, is the number of people who are willing to believe them too.  Most of those theories belong in science fiction books.
  5. The stand taken by Egyptian expatriates all over the world.  A new sense of pride, solidarity, belonging and ownership emerged.

Happy Friday everyone.

Raising little Egyptians

The older generation would never had imagined that they raised the generation that would start the spark that changed Egypt forever

Lets all try to:

  1. Be more patient with our children.  Don’t yell.  Listen more.  You have no idea how impressed you might be when you just give them a chance.
  2. Help them explore the world.  Children are curious by nature, do not squash it.
  3. Accept that they might stray from the more accepted paths and let them follow their dreams.
  4. Give them the freedom to do what they love.
  5. Teach them honesty by example.  Do not lie to them or tells lies.  Children see, children do.
  6. Help them be creative.  Who cares if they make a mess?  If you are really worried that they make a mess, teach them to clean after themselves, lay out old newspapers so they keep the place clean.  The amount of creativity that exploded during a time of stress and difficulty during the protests has me totally blown away.
  7. Give them chores.  Even toddlers can learn how to pick up their toys.  Good habits are a gift for life.
  8. Teach them responsibility.  A responsible generation is a successful one.
  9. Teach them to give.  Twice a year ask them to give away toys and clothes.  Children are naturally compassionate, help them learn how to express it in a more useful way.
  10. Teach them good manners.  Saying please and thank you, opening doors, being polite and the rest of those good manners really can take you very far in life.
  11. Have faith in them.  They already have faith in you, it should be mutual.