Saturday, October 30, 2010


FINAL CUT - An exhibition by Maria Torffield about Female Genital Mutilation at the Ceres Gallery, New York

This exhibition addresses the subject of female genitals, their natural beauty, and the sexual mutilation of millions of women. This practice is active in 28 African countries, areas of Asia and Arab nations and is increasingly f...ound in Australia, Canada, Europe and the United States, primarily among immigrants from Africa and Southwest Asia.

UNICEF estimates that over 6,000 girls and young women undergo this torturous procedure each day, that is 4 girls or women per minute, and worldwide statistics show at least 130 million women today have had their genitals cut away.

Referred to as a “ritual,” this mutilating procedure consists of a partial or total cutting of the clitoris, labia minora, and parts of the labia majora. The cutting is performed mostly on young girls or teenagers, but also on adults, often by older women , who use razor blades, broken pieces of glass, or other sharp objects. No anesthesia is used.

Afterward, the sides of the vulva are often sewn or pinned with thorns until they grow together. Women who have undergone this cutting commonly suffer lifelong vaginal infections from urine and blood that cannot flow easily, chronic pelvic pain, difficulty walking, and even death.

The most sensitive organ of the female genitals is the clitoris with its bundle of 8,000 nerve fibers, the highest concentration of nerve fibers found anywhere on the body and twice the number of nerve fibers found in the penis.

My goal in creating this juxtaposition is to raise awareness of the beauty and differences in women, while confronting the audience with the subject of genital mutilation, its horror, brutality and sadness, the control of women’s sexuality and the need for this cruel and unjust tradition to end.

Sources: Africa united against Female Circumcision Facebook PageMaria Torffield website

Friday, October 29, 2010

If You Are a Survivor – Know That You Are Not Alone!


* Recovery takes time;
* It was not your fault;
* Being vulnerable or intoxicated is not an excuse for someone to assault you;
* Rape or sexual assault is not an act of sex or lust – it is about aggression, power, humiliation;
* Complying and cooperation is not the same as consent.
* Sometimes cooperating or complying is the best thing to do;
* Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. This includes proper eating, rest and relaxation, doing nice things for yourself, and asking for help

Source: Women's Self Defense Federation

The Girl Effect

The clock is ticking... See how a 12-year-old girl could be the solution the world needs right now.

Every Monday Say NO-UNiTE's YouTube channel features a video on ending violence against women recommended by Say NO supporters. Visitors are encouraged to engage in an open discussion on the featured video or topic at hand by posting comments on our channel
Say NO's video of the week (25-31 October) is "The Girl Effect: The Clock is Ticking." source is: The Girl Effect website
I personally love this video, watch it with me, and please share it with your friends

Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Own Prison: Denied visa -- Spain doesn't want Gohary ... why?

Mohamed Elgohary, aka IRCPresident had a pretty nasty experience with applying for a Spanish Visa for 3 days.
I have no idea what happened and why he was denied, neither does Mohamed. Simply because no one told him the reason for denial!

No one can be pro anything that is against regulations and I'm sure Spain has a good reason -or not- for that, but can we at least know it?

We hope an answer is anywhere close to us. I know I would like to go to Spain someday, and I would so much want to know what could be against me getting a visa.

My Own Prison: Denied visa

Monday, October 25, 2010

What is so good about this “Good Wife”?

For over a year now, I have been watching the TV show “The Good Wife” starring Julianna Margulies as a mother and a wife to a state's attorney who was arrested in a corruption case and who was cheating on her over and over. In the first few episodes we watched her struggle. She got herself a job after staying home for years to take care of her children –of course in Hollywood not having any experience for years can never make you behind at work and you can easily win a job at the most prestigious law firms- she rented a place for herself and her kids, and she managed to “handle the situation wisely”

Why is she good?
1-    Because she didn’t rush into - or even consider- asking for a divorce after she discovered her husband repeatedly cheated on her with call girls.
2-    Because she moved on with her life in career and housing but never in love.
3-    Because she didn’t allow herself to be in a relationship with a man who loves her and she obviously likes him.
4-    Because she doesn’t put her happiness into the calculation at all!
5-    Because even after her husband was out of jail on something like a probation, and even though she can’t stand touching him, she didn’t have it with other men.
6-    Because she is a super-hero who takes care of work, children, house, food, her husband’s election campaign and herself
7-    Because she doesn’t look her age, she looks much younger, she is thin and she wears very sexy clothes – like any normal lawyer does of course!-
8-    Because she always has a masked face and rarely smiles, she barely has emotions because if she had any, she would not dare think of expressing them like a normal human being!
9-    Because she puts almost everyone on the planet before her sake even if that means she’ll live miserable … forever!
Because she is not happy … and she’s OK with it!

Man ! We really live in a patriarchate world!
You know I’m pro-choice, any choice. And if a woman chooses such a life for herself with her own will, I see no place for me to comment or judge. But it’s the stereotype that pisses me off!
This is the “good” wife? This is how a woman is supposed to live in order to be good in our society’s eye? Unhappy? Miserable? Always doesn’t consider herself?
What’s even worse is when a woman chooses not live such a live! She’ll be judged as selfish, self-centered and doesn’t deserve the blessings she has!

I thought this is only here in the Middle East, but it turned out that any society that comes anywhere close to family values tends to put most –if not all- the burden on the woman. She is supposed to keep her husband, she is asked to always keep him interested, she is expected to ignore his infidelity if it happens because at the end of the day “this is how men are like!”, she is the one who should live with the motto “family comes first”, and she is the one to be blamed if anything happened to the family.
Family comes first? Of course it does! But it takes two people to start a family, it takes two fully committed parents to bring up a stable child, and it takes two dedicated and mature persons to maintain that. Single parents are everywhere and I am not saying that they are necessarily doing a bad job of course, but we know that’s not the rule.
All what I am saying is that the responsibility is on both. And a woman should not be asked to take all of it alone. A woman should not neglect herself and her feelings all the time for the rest of her life to be a good wife.
You know I wouldn’t have written all that if it had been called “The Good Mother”? Because I believe this is what a mother is. But it’s the focus on her being a good wife that provokes me. It’s about the man and for the man. 
She should not allow herself thinking of being happy as long as she once got married!
In Egypt we have a saying “Better get a shadow of a man rather than that of a wall” which proves that a woman needs a shadow to live under and that a man is her way to get that, otherwise she won’t be “good”!

You are good, ladies! You are. Don’t allow someone who knows nothing about your life to decide for you your choices in order to call you good. Because you are as good as you make your life!

Talking about sex in Egypt

CAIRO: Premarital sex, masturbation, circumcision, oral sex, infidelity and pornographic movies are some of the main topics discussed in the documentary movie “Talking about Sex,” directed by Amr Bayoumy. This movie was played last Sunday in Galaxy cinema, followed by a discussion between the audience, the director, Amal Abdel Hadi from New Woman Foundation and Noha Rushdi from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR). More

P.S.: I took the photo myself, looks like this photojournalism workshop that I'm attending is working fine with me :)


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why Domestic Violence Against Women?

October is almost over. And for the whole month, I have been trying to post info about domestic violence against women which I consider my main cause and the reason why I am alive and the only way I could sometimes deal with what I have been going through in my life; to make me tougher to be able to fight this.
For some application, I was told to write about why I am that passionate about domestic violence against women. Why this cause in particular?
First of all, we have to agree on what is violence and what is domestic. Violence? Well, that includes all form of human pain; physical, sexual, emotional, terrorism, and even financial. Domestic? Anything that runs in the circle of people someone considers “close”. A family member, a father, a brother, a husband, even the boyfriend.
Let me give the big picture of how I imagine helping empowering women should be.
First of all, bring her up in a home full of love and support, love her unconditionally and respect her. Then educate her with the basic education in her country. After this, she’s good to go on her own.
She’ll make choices that are not reactions to what she has been through. She’ll get married to the man who is really good for her not the one who can get her out of the house, the one who loves her not the one who scares her because fear is the only emotion she can feel to a man, who will respect her not underestimate her because she knows that she is not less than him in any way or form.
A woman who was brought up in a home where she was never touched against her will, will never put up with a boss who crosses the lines with her, she will not be able to process an eye or a hand in a bus, and she will be firm with any sort of disrespect that she might face in the world because “she is a woman”
A woman who was not cut into pieces because she was born a woman or forced into either covering or uncovering her body is a woman who is in peace with her sexuality, proud of her feminine nature … she is a shining woman!
A woman who was brought that she can be whatever she wants will end up just as she wants! No one told her she should not have high hopes because eventually she’ll get married and there’s no need to stress herself with education and work.
A woman who was always loved from her family will love her husband from her heart, adore her children with her soul, and add a lot to her community.
Women are all hearts! We are beautiful creatures who cherish beauty. Keep her heart as pure as it was when she was born and she will give you all back much more and more.
When a woman is physically hurt, her pride is hurt. But it’s by someone she loves, her soul is hurt! A lot of time, and serious work is needed to overcome that.
Education? That’s the number one tool to empower her. I don’t care what she will do with this education. It’s her right as a human being to obtain the basic tools by which she explore herself, her potentials, her options, and her world!
So I guess living with a cause to fight domestic violence against women is not a very weird thing when I tell you that love, respect and education is all what a woman needs to glow, and then, she’ll give a lot to the world!

Friday, October 22, 2010

About Honour Killing

Honour Killing – Some Key Facts [1]
  • The United Nations Population Fund estimates that 5,000 women are victims of honour killings every year[2].
  • Most honour killings of women occur in Muslim countries, although such murders are NOT sanctioned in Islamic religion or law.
  • Honour killings are likely most pervasive in Pakistan, where they are known as karo-kari. Women are treated as property whilst honour is so deeply entrenched in society, that the government often turns a blind eye to these honour killings[3]. Instead, the murders are reported as suicides or accidents.
  • In a study of female murders in Alexandria, Egypt, 47% of the women were killed after the woman had been raped[4].
  • In Jordan and Lebanon, 70-75% of the perpetrators of these honour killings were the women’s brothers[5].
  • In some countries, men who carry out honour killings escape with lesser penalties. In Jordan, honour killings are sanctioned by the law[3].
  • Teenage brothers are often selected to be the executioner as their sentences are generally lighter than those handed down to adults.

October 29th, The International Day for Solidarity with Victims of Honour Killings

Let's all try to participate in any way. Put your profile picture on Facebook or Twitter like this, use the info into raising awareness, or gather info if you don't have any.
Talk to people that it is NOT in Islam
Talk to people that it is a MURDER
Do anything, everything matters.
Picture from my friend Yassin AlSoweha's blog 

  1.  Facts about Honour Killings, The Pixel Project
  2. “The State of World Population 2000 – Chapter 3: Ending Violence Against Women and Girls.” United Nations Population Fund.
  3. “Case Study: ‘Honour’ Killings and Blood Feuds.” Gendercide Watch.
  4. Krug et al. 2002. World Report on Violence and Health. Geneva: WHO. 93. Cited in “Facts & Figures on VAW.” United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
  5. UNIFEM. 2002. Regional Scan, Arab Region. Cited in “Culture of Discrimination: A Fact Sheet on ‘Honour’ Killings.” Amnesty International USA.

Afghanistan ... Somalia ... Zambia

Wednesday, October 20, 2010



Sunday, October 17, 2010

UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women 1993

 Article 3

Women are entitled to the equal enjoyment and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.
These rights include, inter alia:
(a) The right to life;
(b) The right to equality;
(c) The right to liberty and security of person;
(d) The right to equal protection under the law;
(e) The right to be free from all forms of discrimination;
(f) The right to the highest standard attainable of physical and mental health;
(g) The right to just and favorable conditions of work;
(h) The right not to be subjected to torture, or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Domestic Violence and Abuse ... Signs of Abuse and Abusive Relationships

Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, yet the problem is often overlooked, excused, or denied. This is especially true when the abuse is psychological, rather than physical. Emotional abuse is often minimized, yet it can leave deep and lasting scars.
Noticing and acknowledging the warning signs and symptoms of domestic violence and abuse is the first step to ending it. No one should live in fear of the person they love. If you recognize yourself or someone you know in the following warning signs and descriptions of abuse, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Understanding domestic violence and abuse
Domestic abuse, also known as spousal abuse, occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence.
Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only: to gain and maintain total control over you.” Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you in his grip. Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.

Recognizing abuse is the first step to getting help

Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. Emotionally abusive relationships can destroy your self-worth, lead to anxiety and depression, and make you feel helpless and alone. No one should have to endure this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need.

Signs of an abusive relationship

There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most telling sign is fear of your partner. If you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around your partner—constantly watching what you say and do in order to avoid a blow-up—chances are your relationship is unhealthy and abusive. Other signs that you may be in an abusive relationship include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.
To determine whether your relationship is abusive, answer the questions below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you’re in an abusive relationship

Do you:
  • feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
  • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
  • believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless? 
Does your partner:
  • humiliate or yell at you?
  • criticize you and put you down?
  • treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
  • ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • blame you for his own abusive behavior?
  • see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
Does your partner:
  • have a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you? 
  • threaten to take your children away or harm them?
  • threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
  • force you to have sex?
  • destroy your belongings?
Does your partner:
  • act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • control where you go or what you do?
  • keep you from seeing your friends or family?
  • limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
  • constantly check up on you?
 To be continued 
Source: - A trusted Non Profit Resource

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Time ... Cairo and Berlin

When we got into the group that was supposed to talk about "time", It was thought things were going to be really funny. Specially that the three Egyptians participating in the summit were in that group, and naturally it was!
We were 4 Arabs from Lebanon and Egypt and 2 Germans.

First it was obvious to start with talking about how crazy Cairo's traffic is-which was our first debate for why bad we as Arabs are when it comes to time-. But when Annina started to tell us that an average trip in Berlin takes 45 min- which is not very far from the average here in Cairo,  it was obvious now that traffic is not to be basically blamed! :D
Funny thing is, though Chris and Annina didn't agree a lot about their perspectives about time and how Germans deal with it, it was still clear that regardless the reason, Germans are punctuate! :D

When we Arabs found out that traffic could not stand as a valid excuse, we tried blaming family and social obligations, plus the fact that it is more acceptable for Germans to live by themselves while we are tied. But it turned out that even though the four of us mentioned it- passionately- , none of us actually follows it even though all of those actually happen to come late! :D :D

So... as expected, it has nothing to do with how much you have to do or who you live with, the value of time seems to be a matter of "culture" and here in the Arab world, we tend to deal with time like it's a dear friend who will always understand!

Young Media Summit 2010

Good morning everyone,

Right now I'm in Mariot hotel, Cairo to participate in the " Young Media Summit 2010" on the invitation of DW-Akademie and Deutschland Zentrum Kairo. 

We are a group of six German and twelve Arab bloggers, of which Tarek Amr (@gr33ndata), Amira Taher (@AmiraTaher   ), and me are from Egypt.
The complete list of Arab bloggers will be given shortly.

Details are here. Stay with me here and on my twitter to be updated.

What is Domestic Violence Against Women?

Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating. 
Examples of abuse include:
  • name-calling or putdowns
  • keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends
  • withholding money
  • stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job
  • actual or threatened physical harm
  • sexual assault
  • stalking
  • intimidation
Violence can be criminal and includes physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity), and stalking. Although emotional, psychological and financial abuse are not criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence.

The violence takes many forms and can happen all the time or once in a while. An important step to help yourself or someone you know in preventing or stopping violence is recognizing the warning signs listed on the "Violence Wheel."

Victims can be of any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment or marital status. Although both men and women can be abused, most victims are women. Children in homes where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused and/or neglected. Most children in these homes know about the violence. Even if a child is not physically harmed, they may have emotional and behavior problems.

If you are being abused, REMEMBER

  1. You are not alone
  2. It is not your fault
  3. Help is available (not here in Egypt yet :$)

source: here

Friday, October 01, 2010

What is Violence Against Women?

Violence Against Women is, as the United Nations defines it:

“Any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

Violence against women includes (but is not limited to):

1-    Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household,
dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence
related to exploitation.

2-    Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation
at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution

3-    Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs.