Between Hammer and Anvil: Mansoura Ez Eldin on Women's Rights in Egypt

Analysis, posted 01.25.2012, from Egypt, in:
Between Hammer and Anvil: Mansoura Ez Eldin on Women's Rights in Egypt (Photo:

While soldiers on Qasr al-Aini Street in Cairo set about maltreating female Egyptian protesters, the Salafists in Suez were holding spirited celebrations to mark their victory in the second round of elections in a characteristically sexist, macho manner – without any female participation at all. They struck up religious hymns and chanted slogans such as "the military and the people are one", "the Muslim Brotherhood and the Al Nour Party are one" and above all, "God and the people are one".

However, the "people" they are referring to are of course clearly separate from the demonstrators. As far as the Salafists are concerned, "the people" is an exclusive reference to their own supporters.

Paeans of praise for the military

So as the Salafists rejoice in song at their unity with the military, members of this very same army beat, kick and drag around a defenceless woman lying on the ground out on the street – and as if that wasn't enough – tear off her clothes as well.

Neither this episode nor other sad incidents of the abuse and killing of demonstrators as the protests were being broken up in front of the Council of Ministers' headquarters provoked the anger of the Islamists or other religious zealots who invoke their own good morals day and night.

Most of those people who assumed the moral high ground and raised hell when the young Alia el-Mahdi published naked photos of herself in her blog remained notably silent when soldiers stripped a peaceful demonstrator and dragged her through the streets.


By Mansoura Ez Eldin; Translated Nina Coon

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