Let’s back up. Let me set the scene.
The day is March the 8th. The International Women’s Day. This day also happens to be the second day of a nasty cold I’m coming down with. I’m tired, can barely speak and haven’t had anything to eat all day.
Even as I type this, I’m surrounded by a box-worth of used tissue paper doused in my nasal fluids, sipping on orange juice and sneezing uncontrollably.
Life is great.
I’ve been fervidly awaiting this day for the past week. I was so excited, in fact, I sent out my “Happy Women’s Day” tweets 3 days early. (Of course, I hadn’t known they were early but still) Yours truly is having a bona fide male feminism high and loving every minute of it.
On Twitter and Facebook, reports rang out of a planned march for women’s rights in Tahrir square on the 8th. Great, I though. Let’s capitalize on our new found (albeit somewhat curtailed) freedom of speech and protest to improve gender politics in Egypt. The feminist in me was dancing with joy. What could go wrong, right?
March the 8th.
I checked in to Twitter for the latest on Egypt and the Int’l Women’s Day. I even tweeted a few tweets myself that I’m quite proud of. (Shout out to two of my favourite tweeple CWKhalil & SarrahGabriel)
Bad news was to follow.
Completely out of the blue, the peaceful protesters (a couple hundred or so) found themselves surrounded by what can only be described as a mob of baltageya. (Egyptian for thugs) They harassed them, verbally and physically, until they were forced to leave. An expression of utter ignorance and vile misogyny if ever there was one.
Where’s the Tahrir spirit? where’s the intoxicating climate of tolerance, acceptance and national unity, you ask?
I don’t know. I’m still in shock, to be honest. Miles away, I could honestly say I felt for my sisters in Tahrir. I was disapointed and disgusted beyond belief.
Which brings us to the crux of the matter. Feminism. Or more specifically, gender equality. Our revolution will come to mean absolutely nothing if, say, my sister, isn’t given the same rights as me. I’ll be damned if I let that happen.
This leads me to one of two conclusions. One, these thugs do represent the average voice on the street and Egypt isn’t ready for democracy. Or two, these thugs don’t represent us and we are -and deserve- better.
Which is correct? You tell me. (seriously, in the comments section below)
So now you’ll understand why I haven’t exactly had a rosy day.
As much as I would love to rant on about this, I won’t. Because I simply can’t; I’m too tired to do it.
No matter what though, I’m still hopeful.
You can’t hold that against me, can you?