The Square makes your heart sing

Unfortunately the magnificent film Al Midan (The Square) on the Egyptian revolution by female director Jehane Noujaim is no longer available on Youtube but the trailer below is enough to make your heart sing.

Go and see it when it comes to your city. You must.

The revolution is coming back, no matter what…

(Via Abbas Gooya)

Free Sherif Gaber Now

Waleed Al-Husseini of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain just informed me that a young Egyptian atheist who posted on his Facebook page has been arrested for his atheism yesterday after his university informed on him to the police.

This is what Sherif published:

Hi, my name is sherif gaber (Yamirasu) from Egypt. I was taught to be a Muslim; for that my dad sent me to some Sheiks, so I memorised the Quran and more than 1000 (Hadith) until I became very religious but then I started to see the contradictions between the Quran and scientific facts, and day by day for 2 years after searching and reading I knew the truth. Then I became an atheist and hid it for a few months. Then I admit it despite knowing that I might get killed any moment .. My family hasn’t talked to me for more than 4 months and I lost the majority of the people I thought were my friends and for about a year now half the people on my street don’t talk to me .. I’ve got threats every single day on my phone and my Facebook account… Here in Egypt, a lot of young atheists were sent to jail for 10 sometimes 20 years and if they have evidence that you insulted Islam you will be executed! That’s if the Islamic organisations don’t murder you & your family before that! .. Even though I’m not afraid to say I’m an atheist to everyone who asks about my religion… To die for the truth is much much better to live in a lie!

Finally I would say to every atheist .. Be brave, stay strong .. U r holding the truth .. And of course .. Proud to be an atheist .. Proud to be rationalist.

Clearly Sherif has done nothing wrong and must be released immediately. The right to religion, belief and atheism are absolute rights, which cannot be denied.

Also, Egypt better get used to it. Atheists in Egypt as in the rest of the Middle East, Asia and North Africa are on the rise.

Free him now.

Here is a news report which is apparently about him without mentioning his name.

To support Sherif:

Tweet Free Sherif Gaber. #Atheist #Egypt.

Send appeals to: [Read more…]

The historic advance of the Egyptian revolution

The Egyptian revolution has taken another important step forward for the people of Egypt, the Middle East and the whole world. The immense Tamarrod (Rebellion) movement, which organised “the biggest ever demonstration in history”, drove the government of Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood to the brink, finally forcing its downfall by the army. This is the third government, after those of Mubarak and Tantawi, which is being toppled by the power of Al Tahrir and Egyptian revolution. This was not only a decisive step towards weakening the Islamist forces in Egypt and in countries like Iran, but, more crucially, an expression of going beyond the limits of democracy and dealing a fatal blow to the myth of the rule of the ballot, i.e. the rule of the bourgeoisie. The whole world witnessed how tens of millions of women and men came onto the streets in Egypt, directly exercised their will and toppled a government which, although a product of a parliamentary process, nevertheless represented, like all democracies, nothing but a parasitic and reactionary minority. This is a historic watershed which will bear the name of the Egyptian revolution. [Read more…]

12 year old boy on Muslim Brotherhood

If you only watch one video this year, this must be it.

A 12 year old boy speaking about the Muslim Brotherhood, theocratic fascism, economic and political situation, and women’s status…

As I’ve said before, no one knows Islamism better than those who have lived under it.

And once again, long live the revolutionary people – and 12 year olds – of Egypt.

You must watch it now

(via Adam Barnett)

Long live revolutionary people of Egypt

2013-634944836961439419-143Majid Nawaaz writes on Facebook: “With mass protests against Islamist rule in Egypt, I hope we finally see the end of regressive-leftists claiming that Islamism is the “indigenous” voice of Muslims in Egypt. In other words, please be quiet you lazy, ignorant, reverse-racist, reductionist subscribers to the poverty of expectations. Egypt doesn’t want Islamism. Get it yet?”

Woo hoo! Long live the revolutionary people of Egypt!

Pascal Descamps of Communisme Ouvrier has been sending in regular updates of the protests in Egypt. You can read them below (it’s summarised translation from French):

Egypt, July 3, 3pm:

The ultimatum of the army will finish in 2 hours an half. Revolution continues. The Al Monofiya governate decided civil disobedience against Morsi’s speech. After the fightings in Giza, “People’s Committees” block the streets and control the cars, looking for Moslem Brotherhood members. Near Cairo’s University, where there were 16 deaths last night after violence organised by Moslem Brotherhood, anti-Morsi people stop a bus of Islamists and put the buses in fire. In front of Ittihadiya Palace, more and more tents and the streets are blocked by the people.

Egypt, July 3, half past 6pm
Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrate again in Tahrir Square in a party atmosphere. People chant “The people rid of the regime”. People take the streets in Alexandria, Tanta, Damiette, Mahalla, Suez, Luxor, Mansoura… People’s Committee are created again as when Mubarak was overthrown. Half past 4, everyone is in front of the TV to see what the army will say. Giza government is dimissed, 30 senators dismissed. At 5 o’clock, in Tahrir there is a rumor that Morsi has been arrested by the army and the people are shouting with joy. Fighting in different cities.

Egypt, July 3, 8pm
It seems that there is a military coup d’etat inside the revolution, the goal of this coup d’etat is to stop the revolution, to not allow the revolution to go as far as its goals. Army did the same in 2011 with Mubarak, when the army did not support Mubarak the army defends the interest of the ruling class. This 2 years, the protest did not stop and become stronger since December 2012, with more and more social fights. The army can not be with Morsi against the current revolution. Army tried a military coup d’etat in June 2012, but was stopped by people, and they give the power to Muslim Brotherhood (2 millions members in this time). Now, in June 2013, the situation is worst for the army. Muslim Brotherhood lost all its influence and the revolutionary movement is stronger than in January 2011. And the social situation is more tense. The future is social revolution, not just in Egypt, but in Turkey, Brazil…

Egypt, July 3, 9pm
Morsi is no longer in power and a new “technocratic” government is created until creation of provisional government. The Islamic constitution has been suspended and there will be new elections. Huge celebrations; people are singing, shouting, kissing each other in the streets, cafes, underground, buses… People shout “free prisoners”; the revolution continues.

The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood is arrested at the Libyan border. Misr 25, the TV of Muslim Brotherhood, stops its programming.

***

Not sure if I said it yet but LONG LIVE the revolutionary people of Egypt.

Egypt’s fight is against Islamism

660x390photo_1372510675398-1-0Millions of protesters are demanding Morsi’s resignation; 22 million signatures have been collected calling for him to step down.

If anyone mis-labelled the “Arab Spring” a “Black Spring“, they should think again.

The uprisings and revolutions of the Middle East and North Africa were never in support of Islamism though it was labelled as such – both by the pro-Islamist Left and Guardian types so they could carry on justifying their love affair with Islamism on the one hand and the far-Right like Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller and the EDL who consider all “Muslims” to be Islamists in sheep’s clothing on the other.

The anti-Morsi demonstrations are of all cross-sections of society with large numbers of women, many unveiled.

If anyone had any doubts which side they must stand on, there must be none now.

From Turkey to Algeria to Egypt, the  fight is for bread, social justice and freedom but also against the Islamists…

It’s our fight too.

***

Below is one of my talks at the Dublin Empowering Women through secularism conference, which speaks of secularism as a right and historical task and duty.

The philosopher A C Grayling says secularism is a basic right. This is an important truth.

I would add given the vile realities of Islamism (which is a religious-Right movement) across the world, it is also a historical task and necessity.

And it’s not just the necessity of a secular Europe that we often hear about but of a secular Middle East, North Africa and world.

Nonetheless it’s a right and necessity that is vehemently opposed by Islamists with murder and mayhem but also by cuddly culturally relativist and post-modernist Liberals, feminists and a pathetic excuse of a pro-Islamist Left – and I say this as someone on the Left myself.

This lot imply that secularism, equality, free expression, the right to criticise religion, and women’s liberation are only for those who are “white” and “western”. [And have you noticed how even so-called “minorities” like the “Muslim minority” who’ve lived in the west for generations are still not considered deserving of the rights and freedoms reserved for those who are “western” – they are never equal citizens.] The rest of us must live under Sharia law even in Europe, and be grateful for the veil as a right and “choice”. We are only allowed “freedom” and “rights” within the cultural and religious confines of Islam.

Thanks but no thanks. [Read more…]

We have changed with the revolution and will not go backwards

34 year old Egyptian female cartoonist, Dooa Eladl who calls herself a Muslim anarchist is facing blasphemy charges for her political cartoons that poke fun of Islamists.

“The extremists don’t scare me,” she insists. “Whatever they do, I will continue to use my skills to poke fun at them. They must understand that we Egyptians have changed with the revolution, and we will not go backwards.”

Here are some of her brilliant cartoons:

Egyptian-Female-Cartoonist-Pokes-Fun-at-Fundamentalists_html_215a5681-e1364525773158

One against FGM: [Read more…]

Only you are to blame

734128_500427196691818_1634755817_nIslamists who are supporters or part of the Morsi government have said that women are to blame for the increasing rape and sexual assault in Egypt.This despite the fact that there is clear evidence that much of it is state-sponsored and that a large number of those assaulted are veiled women.

“How do they ask the Ministry of Interior to protect a woman when she stands among men?” Reda Saleh Al al-Hefnawi, a lawmaker from the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party, asked at a parliamentary meeting on the issue.

“Sometimes,” said police general Adel Abdel Maqsoud Afifi, “a girl contributes 100 percent to her own raping when she puts herself in these conditions.”

Television preacher, Ahmed Abdullah, known as Sheik Abu Islam said “You see those women speaking like ogres, without shame, politeness, fear or even femininity”. Such a woman is “like a demon,” he said, wondering why anyone should sympathize with those “naked” women who “went there to get raped.”

And this is the main issue at hand; Islam hates disobedient women – veiled or unveiled – topless or not. And will blame them for any and every calamity and disaster.

Listen up Islamists: You and your lackeys can blame women all you want but we all know that only you are to blame. Now can you please fuck off to the Middle Ages and leave the 21st century for us?

(News via Mohsen Ebrahimi)

I could have told you that

anti-Muslim Brotherhood banners during a demonstration in CairoYou must have seen the Muslim Brotherhood statement against a UN Commission declaration against violence against women?

The Brotherhood outlines a very, very long list of objections, including what it says is the granting of “girls their complete sexual freedom, as well as the freedom to choose their sex and the freedom to choose their sex partners.. with rising the age of marriage”; “equality between illegitimate… and legitimate sons in all rights”; “granting homosexuals all their rights”; granting “wives all the right to sue their husbands with charges of rape or harassment”; “equality in inheritance”; replacing “guardianship with partnership, and fully share the roles within the family between men and women”: “equal access to the marriage legislations such as: Stop polygamy, Iddah, mandate, and the dowry…”; withdrawing “the authority of divorce from husbands and authorize judiciary and share property after divorce”; and cancelling “the obligatory authorization of the husband in travel, work or going out or use contraception”…

Not surprisingly, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Russia and the Vatican concurred.

The Muslim Brotherhood adds that all these very basic rights “collide with the principles of Islam and its basic…  elements of Quran and Sunnah”.

Well I could have told you that (and have).

The MB says that these will also lead to the “dismantling” of society. In reality, any gain for women’s rights is a loss for them and will lead to the dismantling of their rule. And that is all they are really concerned about…

Of course women’s rights campaigners and organisations have given their unequivocal response. One such response says:

* Stop using justifications based on religion, culture, tradition or nationality to block the progress of laws at all levels, including in the sphere of international law… These justifications must be challenged. The violence they cause is unacceptable and cannot ever be condoned or tolerated.
* End the harmful use of religion, tradition, and culture to safeguard practices that perpetuate violence against women and girls.

You can read the full statement here. Equal Rights Now – Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran is a signatory to it.

Sexual Harassment of Women is State Sponsored Say Egyptian Women

Today was a day of action against sexual terrorism in Egypt.

One Islamic cleric gave a fatwa justifying the sexual assaults saying women were going to the protests to get raped.

Nonetheless he and his Muslim Brothers have received their response by women on the streets of Egypt.

See the magnificent protest below:

Here are what some of them have said:

HAFIZ: Rights groups and activists are convinced the systematic attacks are products of state-sponsored repression.

LODNA DARWISH, ORGANIZER, OPANTISH: This is not the first time that the government uses sexual violence to intimidate men and women, especially women. We’ve been seeing, since Mubarak years until now, the government paying thugs—and it’s proven—to come and sexually harass women. They would come to the protest and not beat up women, just sexually harass them, undress them, drag them undressed—and everybody probably saw the video of the blue-bra girl who was stripped of her clothes and dragged on the streets. This was the army. And then there was the virginity test, the so-called virginity test, which was like a rape incident of the army again, forcing 18 women to go through virginity tests. So it’s a continuous pattern of sexual humiliation… [Read more…]

A warning to European Secularists

European Secularists are quick to say Egypt has “turned out exactly as they predicted” even whilst Egyptians continue to battle the Islamists on the streets.

A warning to you:

If you focus only on political Islam, you will not be able to see the resistance and dissent even when it is staring you in the face.

How can you play your role in supporting secularists if you are already conceding defeat on everyone’s behalf?

The battle continues. Where are you in it?

A victory for women!?

Have you seen the new Egyptian channel called Maria where women must all wear the niqab and full Islamic veil to work there?

An Islamic ‘scholar’ says this is a ‘victory for women’.

Really?

Is anyone else finding absurd the contradiction of hiding women away in a mobile prison and then putting them on television for all to see?

The ‘scholar’ may package it any way he wants but clearly this is another attempt in ensuring that women know their place in Egyptian society.

It’s the Islamists, however, that need to know their place – somewhere in the dustbins of history…

 

(Link via Dawood)

Actually it’s the same old same old

The Muslim Brotherhood has hailed Morsi’s narrow win of Egypt’s presidential election as the ‘start of a new era‘.

It’s actually same old same old.

Egyptians were given the [non] ‘choice’ between Mubarak’s former general and the Muslim Brotherhood, both of which were there to bring an end to the revolution that has changed much of the landscape of the region.

As journalist Amir Taheri has said: The ‘despotic-Islamist twins still enjoy immense tactical advantages. But most Egyptians have shed their fears of both.’

This is by no means the end of the revolution but what happens next is up to secularists and the working class in Egypt as well as the international solidarity we mobilise in their defence…

 

 

Women cane morality police

Islamists have been harassing shop owners and female customers in rural towns around Egypt for ‘indecent behaviour’ and enforcing Sharia law. Shop owners have been told they can no longer sell ‘indecent’ clothing, barbers can no longer shave men’s beards, and customers ordered to veil and threatened with severe punishment if they did not abide by ‘God’s law on earth’.

Okay yes, I know business as usual… But when they burst into a beauty salon in the Nile delta town of Benha and ordered the women to stop what they were doing or face physical punishment, the women struck back, whipping them with their own canes before kicking them out to the street. [Read more…]

Nude photo of Egyptian blogger is a scream against Islamism

Student, atheist and blogger, Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, 20, posted naked pictures of herself on her blog to show her “screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy”. Showing her body particularly at a time when Islamists in Egypt are trying to secure power is the ultimate act of rebellion. Don’t forget Islamists despise nothing more than a woman’s body. In case you didn’t know, women are the source of corruption and chaos and must be covered up at all times and not seen and not heard. [Read more…]