Mission un-accomplished. 

About 100 years ago, the women of Egypt were denied one of the most basic civil rights. Yes, they were deprived of voting in political elections.
Around 61 years ago, the female population was finally given the opportunity to officially vote as well as participate in elections. A mere year later, Rawaya Attya became the very first female Arab delegate to enter a parliament in 1957. 
Today, Egyptian women represent a 14.9% of the 2015 Egyptian Parliament. Even though it might seem as an insignificant percentage, it is the highest one in the entirety of the Egyptian parliaments. 
Despite our slowly growing progress in politics, girls and young women in Upper Egypt are still in grave danger. Women have won several battles in the past century, yet still Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is practiced.
Decades have passed and traditions have changed, and yet the only common feature between today and the early 1900s is FGM. 
If you are still unfamiliar with the term FGM, it is, by definition, all the procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons (WHO). It is also sometimes referred to as female genital cutting or female circumcision. Such hideous act is usually preformed between the infant’s first few days of life and their puberty. Nevertheless, it is widely spread in Egypt with a shocking 87% (according to UNICEF) between the ages of 15-49. 
You may be asking why would anyone want to do such horrendous act to anyone, whether a toddler, a young girl or a woman. The unreasonable reasons you would be presented with most probably contain the word “honour” and how the society would perceive her if she did not undergo such surgery. What is infuriating as well, is that the second most common excuse they come up with is usually “We’re following the footsteps of our parents and grandparents.”
If you are wondering whether maybe, just maybe, this monstrous operation might have a bright side, it does not. Until this day, there is not a single identified positive outcome from this gruesome act. 
Strangely enough, I have come to realize that even though FGM is quite the danger to women, most youngsters aged 12-20 have no idea what it is or what danger it imposes on Women. 

The question typically asked at this point is “How do we put an end to this?”
The normal answer here would be; find the reasons why and then fight them. If ignorance and illiteracy are the prominent factors, alas, they should be the first to be eliminated. Proper and informative educational programs should be available everywhere and to everyone, regardless of gender, from Upper to Lower Egypt. Not only would women and young girls be taught their rights, male Egyptian youth would grow up rejecting the idea of such nonsense and fully aware of the consequences FGM bare on females subjected to it.
I daresay, I hope by the time I have children that FGM would have become a topic that is easily discussed and is viewed as a threat of the past.
Written by,

Salma Hamed 

Resources:

1- https://www.google.com.eg/amp/s/www.sasapost.com/arab-women-and-elections/amp/

2- http://m.youm7.com/story/2016/1/3/اللواء-رفعت-قمصان-لـ-النواب-نسبة-الشباب-والمرأة-داخل-البرلمان/2521496

3- https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_genital_mutilation#UNICEF2016

4- http://forwarduk.org.uk/key-issues/fgm/

5- http://www.endfgm.eu/female-genital-mutilation/what-is-fgm/

 

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A dance scene. 

I, probably along with few others in the world, have not danced once in my lifetime. So I thought about how I’d want it to go, and I came up with the most cliché scénario of them all and decided to write in down. Here it is:



But I don’t know how to dance!” she exclaimed loudly, as he swiftly swept her off her feet to the center of the fancy restaurant. “It doesn’t matter! I can teach you all I know..
He carefully placed her hands on his shoulders, and wrapped his own around the small of her waist. They swayed softly to the jazzy tunes of Sinatra’s ‘Something Stupid’. Her eyes were frantically searching, anticipating his next moves so that she wouldn’t make a fool of herself. He, however, was caught up watching her struggle with her steps to actually teach her anything.

Oops, sorry“, she’d say whenever she accidentally stepped on his foot. And with each apology, he’d hold her a little bit closer to his heart.

A song turned to two, and her tiny confidence grew. She stopped counting the steps, and she started looking up to him. She caught his blue eyes, so much different than her mousey brown ones. She had once promised her friend that she wouldn’t exaggerate when it came to her ‘silly’ sentiments; yet as they were swinging along, all she could think of was how she wouldn’t mind drowning in those ocean-like orbs. 

“See, you’ve already gotten the hang of it.” He whispered quietly, “It’s only a matter of time and you’ll be even better than I am!”

She giggled shyly, hiding her face in the corner of his neck and answered back: “Liar, liar, liar!”


Photo from the infamous movie, ‘Scent of a Woman.’

Dear H.F.

Thank you! I practically owe it all to you and all the effort you’ve put out for us throughout the year. Honestly, It was such a pleasure to be taught by you. I do have to apologise though for all the hideous writings you’ve had to read, they were definitely not my finest work, hahaha. In my defense, some of them were written in cars, buses and some on your actual doorstep. A fair amount was done when I was so stressed out, worked up about the exams and trying to prove myself. I’m terribly sorry for ranting on, but I feel as though I need to say this. You’ve taught me something I should’ve learned earlier on. It’s that whenever you think your writing is good, you’re probably wrong and it’s just the ego talking. There were countless “masterpieces” that turned out to be such trash whenever I read it after your correction. Anyways, since I’m an aspiring writer/journalist, I’d like to thank you very much for all the grammar lessons you’ve taught us. It’s probably the best thing that’s happened to me since discovering the Beatles, and trust me, I’m their number 1 fan. 
Sorry again for ranting, it’s just now I can actually say this without being afraid of walking up to you in front of a 50+ class. I think one day I’ll be remembering all those lessons and smile 🙂

Thank you.

Yours truly,

Salma Tageldin. 

The fallen angel.

I thought you were an angel at first, one that needed protection and deserved the upmost perfection. That’s why I always made sure no one dared get close to you with harm, or even cross your path with ill thoughts. Afterwards, the only thing left with me was the notion of how I was not good enough for you, not remotely near your sky-high standards. So I set myself on a mission; a mission with the sole aim of pleasing you, of appealing to you. I started searching for ways to grab your attention for as long as possible, yet still my record stands at those damned 18 minutes. I figured it was my fault; I wasn’t trying hard enough or searching well enough. Months pass yet I’m still convinced I’ll be able to sway you more than the others, but I only ever manage to scrap the surface of your interest. It’s been almost a year, and you’re never there for me as I’m always there for you. I thought maybe if I distanced myself from you that maybe, just maybe, you’d realize how much I sacrificed and still endure for you. It’s quite naive honestly, how I hoped you’d somehow come to terms with that and magically appear on my doorstep. You didn’t though; you didn’t come knocking on my door, begging me to come back. No, you blamed good old me for loving you, for believing in you. You made it seem as though I was the villain, when all along I was a brainwashed, willing victim. 

I saw you again, just hours after deciding to leave you. My heart leaped a thousand beats a second when I saw you smile. I guess I can’t quit you after all.

Blue, White and Purple.

Blue. White. Purple.
Blue. White. Purple.                       Blue. White. Purple.

I repeat the pattern until my fingers ache, until I almost no longer remember it. It’s the only thing keeping me sane. 

Stop‘, they say, ‘Stop or you’ll weary your brain’. 

But,

“I have to carry on or else I’ll go insane”.

I repeat the pattern. 

Blue. White. Purple. 

Blue. White. Purple. 

Blue. White. Purple.

I repeat until it means nothing no more, till I wish I remembered why I was so unsure. My hands shake so bad I have to pause for just a minute and it all floods back as though it never left. I stare at my hands, willing them to stop but they don’t, they never do.

Blue. White. Purple.

Blue. White. Purple.

Blue. White. Purple.

I don’t care about my hands anymore. I have to get on with this, I gotta finish this, I must prove them wrong and I should be strong. I clutch the colors harder, I can’t let them slip away further. Not like everyone else.

Blue. White. Purple.

Blue. White. Purple. 

Blue. White. Purple.

I’m tired, so tired. I don’t wanna try anymore. I don’t care, I don’t care if I go insane tonight. I think I’ll just huddle by moonlight. 

School Gates Encounters 

I’m sitting next to my old friends, like really old. We were inseparable back in the day, from kinder garden to the fourth grade. Such a pity. We’re so different now; they’re talking about Instagram celebrities and I’m reading a 50-year old book and watch 10 seasons long series. It’s a pity. They’re so beautiful now, always were I suppose but it’s like they’ve glowed up like everyone else. I’d love for them to know my thoughts at the moment. How I wish we could talk without me getting scared of even saying ‘Hi’ incase they reject me. I suppose it must be my fault, I’ve never tried to keep in touch. I’m so happy they’re still friends though, it’s such a blessing they have. 
Update:

I actually showed this to one of them and although it was quite awkward, I think it’s nice we chatted a bit. 

رسالة الي أبي.

بابا،

وحشتني اوي يا حج عجة. ايوه، حج عجة. الأسم curtesy of سيف الي قارفني طول النهار والله. عامل ايه؟ مبسوط؟ يا رب تكون مبسوط عشان أنا بدعيلك كتير أوي. 

عارف لما تربط حد بأغنية؟ أهو أنت يا بوب أول واحد يحصلي معاه كده. فاكر لما كنا بناكل و الراديو شغال و جات ألف ليلة و ليلة؟ كانت اول أغنية للست أحبها، غالباً عشان كانت بتيجي في أعلان في رمضان ساعتها، و أنت عارف أنا كنت دايماً قدام التليفزيون! قعدنا نغني سوا كلنا، وأنتَ عارف الكلمات كلها و أنا يا دوب كام كلمة من الي سمعتهم في الأعلان، كنت مبسوط أوي عشان أنا و سيف كنا بنغنيها معاك بالحب كده. المهم، من ساعتها وكل متوحشني اوي بسمعها. يمكن عشان بحس أنك لسه قريب مني، أو يمكن عشان بنسي الواقع و برجع ليومها. مش عارفة ليه، المهم أني بسمعها و خلاص.

أكثر حاجة بتخليني فرحانة دلوقتي هي لما حد يجي يتكلم عنك يا بابا، بتبسط اوي اوي يعني حتي لو حاجة مش مهمة جدا يعني بس بتبسط. 

وحشتني عشان مفيش حد بينادي عليا ب’لومي’ زي زمان لما كنت تيجي من برة عشان أجي أحضنك او لما يجي فيلم/مسلسل أنت عارف أني بحبه. 

وحشتني عشان كنت اول حد يمسك أيدي و يحسسني أن كل حاجة كويسة و أنك طول ما أنت جنبي عمر ما حاجة وحشة ممكن تحصل. 

وحشتني عشان كان حضنك أكتر مكان بحس فيه بالأمان، عشان مهما حصل كنت بتشجعني، عشان دايماً كنت بتزعق لسيف لما يضايقني…

سيف، أنا عارفك أنك مبسوط منه، و أنا كمان والله. بقي أقرب حد ليا و بيحاول يعملي كل حاجة أنا و ماما عايزينها عشان يريحنا، زيك تمام. 

ماما، أكتر حد بيدعيلك، أظن أنك عارف بس اهو. ماما بتحاول متخليناش نحس بحاجة هي حاساها، لكن بنعرف. بنعرف لما بتقاعد تحكي عنك طول الوقت حكايات عشناها و سمعناها مليون مرة. بنعرف لما بن-group hug- و تبقي هي أكتر حد محتاجاه مش أحنا. بنعرف لما نروح نقولها قد ايه وحشتنا. سنتين كتير اوي.

معلش طولت عليك، المهم تكون كويس و مبسوط. أحنا تمام متخافش، أنت سايب وراك راجل و اتنين strong ‏independent women!

بنتك،

لومي.