tv Doc Film - Fighting Back - Women in Egypt Deutsche Welle October 12, 2017 11:15am-12:00pm CEST
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made for mines. egypt a country where worlds collide modern life merges with traditions that date back to the days of the pharaohs egypt is steeped in history and has more ancient monuments than any other modern country my family and i visited egypt throughout my childhood and i grew up immersed in its history and culture. the last few years have seen major upheaval. the presence of women during these events was unprecedented in what is traditionally a gender segregated society and it seems to indicate that major changes are taking place.
i mean egypt on an undercover journey that will take me to cairo luxor. and london . it's been more than a decade since my last visit and much has happened since then. egypt's revolution is a demand for change that cuts across class religion and gender millions of people poured onto the streets to topple the old regime and later the first democratically elected president the journey was both political and personal for many. people
demanded freedom dignity social justice bread and more gender equality. i've come to london to talk to share. a sexual rights advocate and author of the controversial book sex and the citadel does she believe that egypt is ready for what many are calling a sexual revolution. in egypt and across the arab region we have what are called the three red lines these are subjects that you're not supposed to tackle in word or deed so the first of these red lines is politics and of course that line has been well and truly crossed since two thousand and eleven the second red line is religion one is seeing people ask questions of religion who speaks for islam for example what should be the role of islam in public life and that third red line the third line is sex now the change that millions of us as a liberal
a gypsy has had hoped for hasn't quite come to pass so for not seeing a revolution in political life we're certainly not going to see it in personal life and were definitely not going to see it in sexual life because sexuality at the end of the day is so much more complex than politics it brings in religion it brings in economics it brings in tradition it's like a very complex tapestry and if you want to leave a new pattern that is going to take time so we're not talking about a revolution here we're talking about evolution. the years following the two hundred eleven uprising have been difficult for the city of cairo. the journalist i'm about to meet is just one of millions of women who broke with tradition to take part in the revolution. it from abraham covered those events for a major newspaper but it's the protest escalated she found herself in ever more
dangerous situations. covering the revolution was challenging in many ways not only because i'm a woman but because it was dangerous sometimes i remember one night it was november two thousand and eleven and i was out with a female photographer from the newspaper we first we were running like we were running running like many people like hundreds of people on. street in the you square running and you have the police running after us with guns and you just hear the sound you just have to run for your life and i remember at that time my friend told me that she has seen the red laser just above my head i know it was dangerous but i think i don't know what we were fighting for was for them. would have been really really a very big part of the egyptian revolution if you were on the street you would see many women taking part and that's very new to the egyptian culture like the two women are on the street fighting protesting and saying hey stop this we did and the
corruption and mubarak's rule whatever this was awkward just it's not culturally acceptable women were on the street from the first day and i have like met several friends who used to say i've started going to the revolution taking part because my wife started first because my wife pushed me because my wife was in the square and i couldn't sit here and home watching for lives on the sofa and my wife is there and i'm not there so her being there pushed some men as well to be part because they felt oh if we're going to do this why can't i you guys who have. more than forty percent of the protestors were women but the fall of the regime was followed by a series of sexual attacks many women feared for their safety as the political protest intensified so too did the attacks with this many as one hundred sexual assaults in a single evening. during the first eighteen days of the revolution there was really
no sexual harassment happening it was very very clean safe zone where the energy was all targeted towards the end goal that everyone was looking for when when you have this energy and this cause it's not about sexual house it's about helping the mob attacks of the sexual mob attacks i'm not regarding bad this is not the same mentality of a guy who was going on the street because he's fighting for a cause that's a different kind of mentality which joined the street. later just from the way. by nature i believe i'm a very courageous person but when the mob attacks a sex sexual love attack started and the higher squared i felt we are on safe and i think starting that i decided not to go and cover in tahrir square anymore. harris map is a volunteer organization that's trying to change the way sexual harassment is perceived across egypt the group supports women who were attacked during the uprising nora and ahmed joined harass map after they witnessed sexual assaults on the streets of
downtown cairo. i start focusing on working with second on sexual harassment professionally when i saw a muscled and from like in front of the prism in my view a group of subs like they are saying anything years old girth because she was protesting going to the government. and there was like a policeman in front of them i didn't do anything i remember i called my friends my my female friends and i was like checking on them like even if they are not around but like i feel like insecurity about my friends and my sisters and my family and from here you know i mean i could be in hundred of any more but what motivates men to take part in such attacks. so there are a couple of things that kind of influence the psych mob creation and so one is just the idea that you can. comment on or touch
a woman in the streets with impunity so you can do it when you go to work there unlike a sunday morning. and you can do it in the square doing a celebration or a protest and nothing would happen it's just kind of like it's allowed it's normal it's it's what guys do and this is of course again like an extreme form of what we see on the streets like every day situations so i might get harassed by a guy verbally and some other guys might see it happening and they think like oh yeah i'll do it too and then they also do it and other people are around them nor will stop them like no one will interfere so the same thing in the you square for example people see this happening and they choose to join in rather than seeing you know this is not ok i would try to stop it because here like horrible stories of the mob myself we are talking about sometimes it's the most within two hundred person like sometimes it's like one thousand or some around one or one levy
like you can you can see if they are. like trying to help pair or trying to harassing her so it's a i mean it's it's a mess and they were very violent. and people were using like sticks and sharp objects a u.n. report estimates that ninety nine percent of women in egypt are harassed daily the vast majority of sexual assaults are not reported including my own experience in the one nine hundred ninety s. i was attacked by a group of teenagers in a local market my father intervened but the locals persuaded us not to report it the boys they said were just being boys. this map wants to change this their online reporting system allows people who witness or experience sexual harassment to record it on their website they conduct
street campaigns to encourage people to intervene or speak out when they see or experience sexual harassment. i have harassed every day. every time i go outside the door i know that this is a possibility that i will experience some kind of sexual harassment it happens everywhere all kinds of areas and neighborhoods it happens all the time morning evening night and most of the time it's verbal harassment or even just like body language or looking up and down. but also touching when you're put in public transport or anywhere where there's a big crowd that it happens very easy. even when i'm on my bike it happens like people try to touch me while they're driving but you have to prepare yourself mentally it's an everyday thing that happens you eat food every day and you get hurt of the day. the city of giza is located just southwest of cairo.
it's on to the pyramids the population is over three million i'm here to learn more about the everyday lives of people their culture and the dynamics of traditional egyptian extended families. there are many expectations on what a woman should be and what the good woman should do and there are many rules put upon you women are expected to take of the house and in many times work as well if you're talking about. more of the class and they get educated but still the way they get married. it's between her and her husband it's more of him superior to her you know was. like fixated
family is absolutely key it is the bedrock of one's personal life and that rock of society because at the end of the day marriage is about families coming together which is important for the state because of. the role of the father and the family you actually in reflection cement the role of the head of the head of the state or the authoritarian figure. you know is the head of his family and has lived for more than twenty years in a home he built himself. out of the ghetto knew one floor and adored the hard. floor eighteen people the family and
living in my home here. and having it on all my life when i went to neighborhood can't everybody by people put a mail with something but i have been living this placing almost twenty years this is. her job is to feed the family. and that and. this. thing and i had it in the woman. i don't see it all together to have the meal together everything is. everything what's happening must you know what every every small piece at my home i must know with you might always have the key. my name is don young i am twenty one years old i have martin from.
my mother in law. we are rarely uses one from the. first of the good. but now i have after the. job you. never know when she got a choice her boyfriend looked like before. i did have a car something like this. that my mother what a joy this for me she was fourteen years i would it's a good thing. i don't wish i was thirty five years old. being married. you know beginning and it was not a choice. the families agreed afterwards. we were engaged for about three years before we married. after the engagement families grew closer together. after then i
have to take care of my husband and the family that i now belong to that's the most important thing and my husband will do the same for me. dalia mohammed's wedding ceremony lasted for three days there were fifteen hundred guests from across the region. while they saw your sister in law i want that i married for almost six years. i got smart in ten years old it's a very normal very very normal like every woman. in my area here at home. works house here with my auntie. arranging my deportment and returned to. her
own food. everything from want to thank your security everything if. there were given a choice and given that freedom you can do what they maybe you want to do any better or something maybe you know richard i think i know maybe you and i actually could do what. everything is everything here not like before but. i don't seem to have benefited from these modern trends before my my. my big dream and my important a dream to go on in my education and. to work in the media and be a journalist. was in another thousand. and my family and my vinci. exley my husband know never approved or lived to live on those or thought when alone my father my father and my husband don't
want me to work my dream was to study art. that's been my only dream and i wish it would have come true. and if the. after i finished high school my father wouldn't let me go to college and right now i don't think i ever will. but maybe later there are the if my debts are all. going to grow all i wanted to go on those are down the study i made you or another or in this ng and those are. a lot helping her. to make her her dream through. this case i feel love my dream. come true my. parents were also concerned about dahlia and while they
safety. everybody a very afraid a fraud to walk alone in the street. whether we should i mean because of the sexual attacks of. the guys heris all the women no matter how they're dressed. the men justify this by saying that the women provoked them because of that clothes or the way they walk but that's not true. they also heris women who are dressed conservatively and then there are women who dress provocatively and the men don't heris them at all. in the least as it should. be out of no. no i'm on my way to meet a woman i'll call them all her life is very different from that of the family we've just met we've agreed to conceal her identity. i was always rebellious. you know things like you can do this you can do that but i
think my parents had a hard time with really hard time because. i was just not conforming with whatever . rules they were putting for me i was actually born in my grandmother's placing visa my dad was he came from saeed upper egypt started from from nothing he had actually absolutely nothing my mom would live things are she was one of ten i never really knew the difference between a boy and a girl but when my brother was born and then i actually saw the difference he is the war you are the girl you're supposed to be doing certain things and he was supposed to be. the powerful things as far as i saw it i was in allowed to to be back home after eight o'clock and this is something i really hated right from the start. almost father worked in britain and decided to move the entire family to london. hated it because i was taking from my
friends people that i loved but as time went on you know i started to see the good side of it and that was like company would couldn't believe how free they were but seeing a man and a woman kissing the street you know to me was you know how could you do that and this is where most of. my. how can i say with all my rebellion years and finding myself and knowing what i want. i remember having a conversation with my dad where i was saying what if i don't want to get married what would happen and. he said but you mean you don't want to get married you know you have to get married you know women who don't get married are looked upon very badly in society and cannot be not married i said but what if i don't care you have to know this that you are on the my dominance and you wouldn't be under it no
matter what you cannot get out of that until you get marriage and if i die it will be your brothers who will be taking care of you and when i heard this i was at the age of twenty three and it was then that i decided i'm going to leave home no matter what happens i would actually leave his daughter being going away from his house without getting marriage it is breaking news on a my if it takes my dad killing me because that was the option if you need home you die but i felt that i would die anyway. egypt is home to ninety five million people and the population is expected to increase substantially over the next decade every six months one million new egyptians are born and every year more than a million of them get married. i
think if a woman just that they get married might be egypt like starting twenty five thirty . you start a question mark start raising up next why aren't you married aren't to aren't interested in marriage so what's wrong with you great fear here is that she will go off the rails that she will want to have sex before marriage she might be tempted to do that or she might make excessive sexual the man's eye for her. has been during which both of which are marriage killers and so in order to preserve this this this rigidity families will go the sorts of lengths to preserve virginity for example female genital mutilation in order to keep girls on the straight and narrow so they're not tempted to have sex before marriage is the belief that underpins the practice in many cases this is about the family's honor this is not about individual honor this is the families on the family has succeeded in bringing up
their girl that she is a virgin and they have managed to deliver the genuine article to the groom on the wedding night i'm all knew what would happen if she left her family but she did it anyway. i made a decision to leave home my dad didn't kill me right so i survived that but i worked in england for some time and that was my way to be independent because i worked really hard so i had the money i had the financial backing of me i started to live my life and pursue my my dream. i've always loved my country you know. you know it's always a treasure to me i love being here i love the people i love everything about i love the warm so i love the sun and england was and he did me that so i had decided that i was going to go back to egypt and live my life in egypt with all the restrictions
but i'm going to manage it one way or another and that's actually the from the beginning of the story of how i got married. i met an unconventional man open minded just it was all coincidence you know like one night we were having fun and partying and talking as usual and then it was brought up like i was saying i want to i want to have kids. but i don't want to get married but i why i really want to have kids i want to feel i want to be a mother and he said me too you know i want to have kids but i'd the one the commitment of a family. the women being financially dependent and i don't want the conventional. life in many ways i thought wow this is this is just the right guy for me and that way was the way for me to be accepted again by my parents and that's how my father accepted me back because of that look i'm going to get married i'm going to do what you like and then i went to egypt and he came to egypt as well but we've never
lived like a married couple i actually have two boys we agreed think in ninety six that let's let's start working on having a baby and this is when my first son came. but that's not where this story ends a most unconventional marriage allowed her to explore an alternative lifestyle. i always felt that there was something. not right about dating men. i didn't want to be the other one so that's why i did it. but i started feeling different feelings at the age of i think thirteen fourteen you know feeling the feelings towards certain. women friends that i had and that's when i started thinking oh i'm weird overseas homosexuality is. regarded as a taboo religiously and culturally assuming that there's no abundance of lesbian ism is a wrong assumption because there are plenty of lesbians and i know plenty. you
do not admit. and some of them do not admit to themselves what they are it is regarded worse for men than it is for women finding. for a man to be gay that's really bad you see being gay takes the manhood from them so if you if you are gay then you're not a man how can you be accepted. right after being away from each other. i was at this time a very different person than i was ten years before i was. capable of making my own decisions and capable of making things happen i was still in love with the woman i was at at the age of sixteen we started a relationship straightaway you know as soon as i came five days afterwards we managed it in a way that she was able to live with me but that had to be applied and that we
don't live together in front of people i managed to get. like one floor in a building where it has two flats opposite each other that was the the cover up and that's how we did it and we were together until. two thousand and ten things have changed back in the nineteen seventies egypt was much opened. i think there was a wave that came in and i think it was in the early one nine hundred eighty s. where. a lot of. men were having jobs in saudi ok and when they go to saudi they get to learn it's flat as it should be they come back to egypt and. obviously they they they do it the right way and that was the start of. when i sold all my own skating the belt in no time
my family is very religious and most of my aunts were and were niqab. the only person with no way to get in my family mother and father aside is me. at least ten percent of egypt's population is christian and while christianity and islam have major theological differences both religions share similarities when it comes to taboo subjects and the importance of marriage. my boys has always made me feel like this is a subject i don't want to get into maybe when they get older i kept saying maybe
when they get older oh no and now my son is much older so it is not an easy feeling because when you feel that he can be rejected by your own son and that there is a there is a possibility that you are rejected by your own son or that your son could be ashamed of you it's going to be tough so the the decision is very hard. the ancient city of luxor is located about five hundred kilometers south of cairo it's sometimes called the world's greatest open air museum because of the numerous monuments temples and tombs that are located there. the rhythm of daily life in luxor seems to have stayed the same for centuries.
tourism is the region's main source of income but the number of tourists has fallen sharply since the revolution i've known mohamed since he was a young boy working on boats with his father tons of change here. says the city it is now it's not many theories because about the problems in cairo and like these and tourist it's our life you know. all in my village all people whom we believe they work for towards. men like mohammad who don't earn much money can't afford to get married. everyone need money but because too much at least ten minutes i was in egypt at least nine if you want to be medium sometime families they are you choose to the bed so and then your family. they ask about it about head and body that who don't walk because they must be good family. affair then
you will have engaged if that ok you will fight. all be beauvais in you know in a village because they you go to get your life and then. enjoy it. you can see here is good or not because you don't know anything about what you know or what is the special she is ok or not talk like this and we say you like what are after your open door with a muslim you will see if it's a good test and like this you will keep it and if not after two city you i'm upset and it is not good. but it is for the people they have money. where i live it's said no women what are they saying if the women work you will not be the boss she would be the boss you know it's getting about all of them they are
relies on him. in the saying they family spend mind they have to pay for everything and with it always she spent your money. when then here it's intelligent. people that love it is a very important part of that they was have a dog for love and love it is a from soul to sort of from how to do how to. when i have a children i want to give good life to them i want to look after them that it went to school everything but i want to have a relationship because i miss the run. when it comes to discussing sex and sexuality sometimes it takes an outsider to break
down the barriers. my name funda i live in scotland i first came to egypt and two thousand and eight since then i have been fifty times i don't know fifty people the sunshine of the view i just love only. to begin with i just knew the man once they got to know me. i was invited more to their homes i have met wife i have met children i have met the mother of my sister i think because of bella put away she shipped with many of the egyptian men here a lot of them see me as like a motherly figure but for an basque many things the best of it is shy about asking not so much my because they know that they can ask me and some of the things they tell me a few. frustrated for them i find that they are lacking over q. like sex education that
even by old year that your body they don't know about their own bodies never mind. sayed is a local businessman he's agreed to discuss some of the more complex aspects of sexuality in egypt. and say that i'm a former. fisherman before and i work in the nile and my neck member lover of the fish i mean when i ask the question of why you love the boy more than the get not really boasts of him garrett meek family where the heart very a bit out of all the world don't care this boy even and go be no good that man can be you know that's ok forget it you know so difficult to get must be got
must be got again are not allowed even to go. to have some boy to walk on with what maybe she don't stick a little ship was someone i love i'm going to do a noise in or maybe some boy or man get her stalk and she relaxed so much. and have a go like that's on these you know one can touch. it for us and clearly on the other side it but why other told what he. was of only do it to have. big trouble would kill her you know about me bad with all the family. as for sex egyptian men don't know what to do many of the european women are actually teaching the young men some of
them speak about the experience of their wedding night they didn't have a clue they sat with their right for an hour and a half after everyone had finished the party and they were so shy and they physically did not know what to do they just seem a man many have told me it's their duty if their husband wants sex is their duty to be in marriage seven years my wife she mocks parents she don't understand. she church really i'm not saying she not god or she moved understand the no i give her the arms and future i'm the son bulldog so i'm to god's experience too. but that wasn't allowed i'm a bear so ok. i believe from what i hear as the woman has been and the home to make the babies to
cook the dinner i'm the man who's been there not like it was in britain many years ago people that i know here from the likes of fifty year old right down to the twenty one year olds. they know. it's no good to have it this way but they don't know how it's going to change because it's sort of people to the tradition tradition a day out of looking for love and i believe that the rights to looking for love as well but they don't know how to give each other love the only nor the possession she's in the home having the children on he said and then the money.
so in the one hand they want to have these dynamic and exciting sexualized put on the other hand the expectations are pumped up by they've huge volumes of porn that is going down across the arab world the video clips and all this culture has intensified like the sexual. energy or the sexual desire in egyptian men yet you watched you open on the t.v. and you watch with your family a woman who was dancing wearing performed at the close that you will accept a daughter to wear neither your wife to wear and you really liking it most young people in egypt find it very difficult to get a job so men are having to wait to get married until their late twenty's the question is what are you going to do in all that time because again if you don't get married it's hard to live out of your family's place you're not supposed to be having sex and you're not supposed to be having children now the prophet muhammad
has suggested that we as muslims if we if we have to wait to get married we don't we should fast but the prophet mohammed did not mean that we were supposed to fast until our thirty's ridges conservatives no matter what the faith use. yes as a tool to control people because it's very powerful if you control someone's sexual life you control them at the heart of their lives. the important thing to keep in mind is that women in the arab region women in egypt are not helpless and they are not hopeless they are getting on with life says very often they do it in a different way that women are empowered that women have more control over their lives does not mean that men missed this but it is no easy task in egypt or
anywhere in the world. with courage and determination a mall has managed to create a life for herself in the country that she loves. telling my son it's like a journey specifically in the past two years i've been preparing him for this because i know eventually i'll be able to to say it. and that's what happened you know when they were just chatting and it was very surprising to me because. he was asking questions not about why or who i was with he was just asking generally a question around the subject it was very nice it was they were it was. actually much better than i expected i expected him to be maybe a bit of anger a bit of you know disbelief nothing of the household it was like i was telling him a better story. stepping outside.
the boundaries of society than the rules in the cultures and the religion is very difficult it's not easy at all we need to learn to accept our differences we need to listen. to each other which we've done in the last years in egypt have been really that. i wanted to see a better egypt i want to see egypt that is accepting differences in every way and i thought the ribbon lucian would shuffle. it did in a way shuffle some things but where it's ending now. people can't stand each other for political differences let alone other differences about teaching our children do not stop you know keep going keep finding ways for yourself. keep fighting for who don't give up. this is been a remarkable journey for me and i've been amazed that people have been so willing
to share their stories. egypt is an extraordinarily diverse and complex country and it will remain a part of me forever. it's a wild week on the w. good good good good good good good to hear everything revolves around our animal kingdom and their two legged fans. car subjects are usually the four legged pariah the. photographer on the claim and for an animal model.
who wrote that in thirty minutes d.w.t. one. mile wide family. from a jedi on somebody. to pass on the world and international brand. a shared passion. f.c. byron munich to truly understand all the unique history words. to me as some young. men yet tell me i don't see kind of you can touch us live via the phone by an. exclusive journey to the song of my own munich. yes i mean it's a kind of culture to walk we are who we are in accept us for what we are we're
a family unbelievable. to be a sun media phenomenon starting october fifteenth on d w me a phony. this is the w.'s live from berlin palestinians are pretentiously a step closer to reconciliation after a decade long split between bitter rivals i'm awesome fetzer say they've reached an agreement on key points during talks in cairo while we're in jerusalem for the later.