One columnist assesses what it means to be a woman in Egypt today, while another discusses Prime Minister Hesham Qandil and his cabinet.
The Difficulty of Being a Woman
Gamal Abou Al-Hassan
Al Masry Al Youm
Columnist Gamal Abou Al-Hassan tackles the subject of being a woman. He first mentions his daughter Lila, who seems to be “mesmerised” by actress Soad Hosni and her sense of “truthful joy”. He also mentions that Hosni was “unashamed” of her body, and was not shy to announce her admiration for a man in her song Ya Wad Ya Te’eel (Oh, you who are playing hard to get). He describes her as a woman “that looks straight into men’s eyes instead of looking at the floor in coy shyness”.
He explains that Hosni was a “daughter of the sixties, a time of national liberation”. He then compares between being a woman in Egypt today and back in the sixties, saying that it has become “more difficult, tiring and embarrassing to be a woman in Egypt. The disdain and harassment of women has become a daily reality. The highest levels of authority in Egypt unflinchingly address the worst insults to women, therefore it is not strange that society acts aggressively and with hostility towards them”.
He then states that it is difficult to be a woman anywhere in the world, citing the gang-rape of a 23 year old Indian woman on 16 December 2012. She suffered from being raped by six men, and then when they were finished with her, they shoved a metal rod inside her until it reached her diaphragm. The male friend that was accompanying her was severely beaten, leading to his death. The woman died 13 days later due to her injuries.
He also mentions Egyptian activist for women rights, Dina Farid. He concludes that the “future will not be easy for young Lila. She will realize that society is less accepting of Soad Hosni’s role model, with her boldness in facing the community and her self-confidence. Her challenge will be not to be forced by society to be ashamed of being a woman. She has to journey along her path without being broken”.
Dr Hamza Zawba’a
Freedom and Justice Party Newspaper
Columnist Dr. Hamza Zawba’a chose to tackle the subject of the “suggested” cabinet change. He mentioned that he was recently a guest on the TV talkshow 90 Minutes on Al-Mehwar. Dr. Zawba’a mentions that he was among other guests and was “triumphant” in defending the role of Prime Minister Hesham Qandil.
He mentions that Qandil is “unlucky” to have become Prime Minister at this time, and then Dr. Zawba’a says that the “media have failed to highlight the efforts of the Prime Minister”. He describes Qandil as a “firefighter for endless fires”. He then criticises how the media portrayed his words concerning Qandil during his appearance on 90 Minutes. He says that half the media accused him of saying that Qandil can’t communicate well with the media, and the other half said that he considered the cabinet change to be “a public demand that has to happen”.
He then says that he is “sure that Dr Qandil is doing all that he can during this difficult and sensitive stage”. The columnist then adds that he is saying this because he is used to being “fair and just”. He says that Qandil lacks “an experienced media team that is in touch with reality”. He adds that “there might come a day when we long for one day of Hesham Qandil’s rule”.
He concludes that when he demanded a cabinet change –including a change of Prime Minister– he did so due to the scheduled elections, which have now been postponed.