Why Women Must Continue Solidarity with Egyptian Women

Photo: Mosa’ab Elshamy

It has been a tragic day, the Black Wednesday for Egypt yesterday. It’s heartbreaking to watch the mass killing of the hundreds of casualties from wherever political side they come from. Human beings’ lives come first before all the world’s politics. Considering all the conspiracy theories have been said, it’s also important to condemn the burning of churches that happened across the country. The world was in disbelief to see such a rise in violence and hatred in Om Aldonia, Egypt. “Will Egypt turn into another Syria? Unlikely. Egypt is neither a sectarian state – it never has been, even with 10 per cent of its people Christian – nor an inherently violent one,” writes acclaimed journalist, Robert Fisk.

Undoubtedly, yesterday’s tragic events, along with the current unresolved conflict between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Army, affect all Egyptians, women, men and children. It’s hard to comprehend that armoured cars and bulldozers rolled into two camps on opposite sides of Cairo, with tear gas deployed and used live bullets, while there were among the demonstrators women and children. Whoever committed those atrocities must be hold accountable.

Not undermining the fact that the status quo affects everyone in Egypt, women remain a minority of combatants and perpetrators of conflicts and wars, hence they increasingly suffer the greatest harm. As we work to support women in conflict and war zones, this is another reminder that in such turbulent times, we must continue to support women, peace and security. How? We, women rights’ groups, must join our efforts and do whatever it takes to make sure that more women are on power and attain equal political representation. Plus, we must urge to include more women in the conflict resolution processes to secure a lasting peace in the country.

Today, Denmark stated that they are suspending financial support to Egypt that is channeled through state institutions and that NGO-led projects will still be supported. Indeed, the hope lies at the civil society NGOS and groups. One of the fundamental obstacles for women in Egypt to be active in the political and public arena alike is the rise in sexual assaults and harassment against women. Nearly %99 of women in Egypt have experienced one form or another of sexual assault and harassment. Just last week, a dramatic consequence of sexual harassment led to the death of a young Egyptian lady, Shorouq al-Turby. However, several civil society NGOs and groups in Egypt have been restlessly working in addressing the issue; supporting sexual assaults and harassment’s female victims wonderfully by the continuous filed protection, documentation and prevention work they have done, while the political system turn a blind eye to the increase of violence against women. Therefore, we believe the hope lies in the great work done by groups such as I saw Harassment, Operation Anti-sexual harassment\assault and so on.

Rough time is ahead of Egypt and “it only gets worse from here,” as journalist, Issandr El Amrani writes. Therefore, this is an urgent reminder that women must continue solidarity with their sisters in Egypt and refuse to let them suffer the greatest harm.

Stöd Kvinna till Kvinna! Vi stärker kvinnor i krig och konflikter för att kvinnors makt och inflytande ska öka. Ditt stöd är nödvändigt för att vi ska kunna fortsätta göra det.

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