Sharing voices

Interviews about rights of women in Egypt – Hopes and Aspirations 

Since the Arab Spring, Egypt has become a country that has got the attention of the entire world. The fall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime supposed the starting point of a new age for Egyptian society. In a country that has suffered many changes lately, one of the hot issues is the gender system and women’s rights. Nevertheless, how do women live there? What about their thoughts and feelings?

Therefore, in order to answer these questions, this little initiative aims to make us approach (from outside) to that reality through experiences of some women who want to share their stories, thereby learning from their impressions, thoughts and feelings. These are the stories of two of them.

Maryam Massoud (35 yeaMaryamrs old) specialized in Science during high school, graduated top of her class in art direction from Fine Arts in 2003, started an English-teaching career in 2005 and joined the American University in Cairo in 2008. The same year when she embarked on her journey in self development and spirituality, for a fellowship in Teaching English as a Foreign Language of which she graduated in 2010. Although she is now a teacher trainer and testing expert in her field, her heart has led her to make a career shift into self-development and spirituality, where her work will help focus in a more direct manner on creating change in Egypt.

MARYAM: “MY HEART AND MY TRUTH TOLD ME THAT I AM A LIBERAL PERSON, THAT I AM A FREE SPIRIT, THAT I LOVE BEAUTY AND I LOVE FEMININITY. I LOVE JUST BEING FREE”
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A Strong Man : Watch the new film created by refugee men calling for violence against women to stop

white ribbon
A group of refugee men who fled their homes in countries including Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan and Syria to seek sanctuary in Scotland have launched an online short film* calling on other men to stop violence against women.

*(for non-English language links see below)

A Strong Man, which echoes the messages of the White Ribbon Scotland campaign, calls on men of all cultures and faiths to take pride in being gentle and to teach their friends, families and communities that violence against women is wrong. Global Minorities Alliance welcomes this inter-community contribution to the ongoing efforts to end violence against women, and supports men and women from all backgrounds who are united in their condemnation of such unacceptable attitudes and behaviour.

The film was made by 67 men from the Maryhill Integration Network’s men’s group who originate form 11 countries, with the support of Glasgow film-makers media co-op.

Firew Desta, a refugee from Ethiopia involved in the making of ‘A Strong Man’, said: “The topic of the film project is a really important one because violence against women is happening in cultures and communities all around the world.

“We wanted to send a strong message that violence against women is wrong no matter what your culture or religion. We must teach our children this; to be respectful and listen to each other. This film gives us a chance to help to change attitudes.”

Rose Filippi, Maryhill Integration Network men’s group co-ordinator added: “All of these men have fled violence or the threat of it to seek safety in Scotland, so this is an issue that resonated with them.”

“The film allowed the men to use their considerable skills, and also to find a way of communicating a powerful message to other men in their communities, in wider Scottish society and beyond. It’s been a powerful and positive process.”

Vilte Vaitkute of media co-op, who developed the film with the group over a period of eight months was impressed by the ideas and creativity the men brought to the project.

“I was blown away by the fact many of the guys have suffered torture and violence themselves in their own countries, and are so sensitive about issues of violence against women in the home,” she said.

The two-minute film, which is available in English, Arabic, Tigrinya and Amharic, reflecting the first languages of men involved, will be distributed by an online social media campaign and available for interested men’s groups, community groups and other organisations.

The film is backed by the White Ribbon Scotland. Callum Hendry, campaign coordinator, said: “It is vital that men are able to raise awareness of the nature and cause of the issue and to challenge the attitudes of those who excuse violence against women or gender inequality.”

Watch this important film here :

Arabic Version: https://youtu.be/J8zJu0paY2E

Tigrinya Version: https://youtu.be/R-eoC2vvhww

English Version: https://youtu.be/mwGEz3YhD6Y

Amharic Version: https://youtu.be/_pXPPIHH_1Q

For more information or images contact Rose Filippi at Maryhill Integration Network on 0141 946 9106 or email rose@maryhillintegration.org.uk

The ‘normal’ negotiating of religious texts towards domestic violence

Garden of Eden

Picture: “The Garden of Eden” by Lucas Cranach der Ältere

   Women and men are equally made in the image of God; however in theological teachings of religious texts throughout the world, the two beings sit separately from each other. Dr Elizabeth Koepping, a Priest and theological lecturer who has taught at the University of Edinburgh, conducted extensive research on the subject of church responses to domestic violence. This article will share her findings as a necessary dimension in tackling the phenomenal scale of global gender inequality.

 “It would be better to be dead than for me to leave. Even if I die, I stayed with my husband, and I will go to heaven as a reward because I endured”. [Research participant]

Dr Elizabeth Koepping from the English Church in Heidelberg, Germany has conducted research in Tonga, Burma, Korea, Ghana, Germany, India, Trinidad and Scotland on the subject of domestic violence in Christian contexts, and the perfectly normal cultural negotiating of religious texts. Her findings from qualitative interviews and observations underpin the unjust and widespread manipulation of readings by Church members in response to experienced violence. This is leaving women to bear continued or new dangers in countless areas of the world. Can this not be viewed as disobeying the faith while diminishing the value of equality set out by God himself?

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