An Egyptian women’s rights activist, Dalia Ziada, gave a talk at Tufts a couple of days ago and said what we already know: that the revolution is not an egalitarian revolution, and is taking away women’s rights as opposed to expanding them.
The pro-democracy figure warns that the heady optimism that infused Cairo’s Tahrir Square last year is being slowly replaced by fear that the very political forces that helped sweep long-serving Hosni Mubarak from power are remaking Egyptian society into a rigid, religiously intolerant, patriarchal system.
“What’s happening now is the Muslim Brotherhood is coercing everything,” she said, referring to the once-banned conservative Islamic political group that now dominates Egypt’s parliament and the presidency. “What I fear is that we will be facing the Muslim Brotherhood’s theocracy with Mubarak’s autocracy.”
“I don’t believe our revolution will succeed until one day we will have a woman president. I don’t believe there can be a democracy unless women are properly in power,” she said in a speech at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Medford, Mass., yesterday.
Indeed there can’t, since women are half of the demos.
…the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party agitate for policies and legislation – such as child marriage and female genital circumcision – that, Ms. Ziada argues, are contrary to the ideals of last year’s protesters…
But Egypt’s political life also mirrors traditional social norms, she acknowledged, particularly when it comes to attitudes toward women in public life. She said her organization helped run a public opinion survey not long ago in Cairo, and of the roughly 1,000 people surveyed, every one of them said they did not want a woman to be president.
“Men are telling women, ‘Go back home, it’s not your time now, we want to build democracy, you should be home,’” she said, wearing one of her distinctive brightly-colored head scarfs. “It’s not proper that the people who led the revolution are now completely out of the scene now,” she said.
No it’s not, but the outlook is grim.
I should end on a more hopeful note. I got nothin.