Monday, June 20, 2011

End Sexual Harassment (for a better Egypt)

I was walking down a Cairo street, like I usually do, trying to reach my destination.
I try to control my anger, I try to hold back the tears.
Like I usually do.

I try to block the words they say and the looks they give...the sounds they make..
Like they usually do.

"I want to have my penis inside you"
"Look at that ass"
"You have such luscious boobs/lips"

And the dirty, dirty looks on their dirty, dirty looking faces and they make me want to slap them. But I keep the rage within me.
Like I usually do.

I want to complain, I want to explain to people how demeaning and degrading that feels, how it generates so much negative energy within me. Such disdain.

It makes me forget all the good things I know about myself, that I am a smart young woman, that I am a respectable and respected young woman. That I am a lot better than those sleazy men. And if anything, yes, I should look down on them rather than be objectified by them.

I was driving back home, with my cousin, again, like I usually do. It's one of the narrower streets, barely two lanes wide.

Him and his friend decide it would be fun if they drive next to us in their big SUV and swerve their car closer to ours on the small street. I try not to panic, and not to look to my right. I turn the music up so I don't hear what they're saying; infuriating. They've been following us for a while, and I sense it's becoming more dangerous.

I change routes and they're still following us.
I enter my grandmother's building's garage. Stay in there for a while, as I cautiously make my way out, they were gone.

I am lucky. To have never been touched by such sordid beings, to have never had an encounter per se and for that I am thankful. But this doesn't mean it has never happened, because it has. It has happened and it has happened a lot. All forms of sexual harassment, even veiled girls get harassed. (so it's never about what you were wearing) and it happens all day (it's not about you staying out late)

I don't know why it happens, but I know that it should end.
I should be able to walk down the street knowing that I am worth much, much more than to be objectified, and than to be forced to bear with it because if I take it to the police station, I will get harassed, again, by the police officer.   

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Guardian Angels

I believe in guardian angels. Or maybe just guardian beings.

Or in simpler terms, I believe that some people are sent your way to protect you, or are there at this specific moment in time to save you. When I first met my boyfriend, my car had broke down as I was just about to enter a parking lot, and it turns out his driver was around. And no, that's not what I mean by people being there to save you.

Yesterday, I was driving back from Sokhna with both my sisters and my cousin with me in the car, we had convinced my father to let us spend the night as he went home with my brother and my (other) cousin's son.
We had just left the gas station without checking the tires and it wasn't long before I lost control of the car and  it just kept swerving on the highway (my sister thought I was playing) thank god I didn't break which I heard makes it worse.

The boyfriend was there. He had gone to Sokhna with his friends and we had planned to go back to Cairo, have lunch and then he goes home to study. But with a flat tire, four girls and no spare tire (in sight) he was our only hope.

A few phone calls later, he managed to fix the spare tire in place, we drove back to the gas station, they supposedly fixed my main tire, installed it and we were on our way again.

A bit less than fifteen minutes later, the same thing happened again, this time boyfriend installed the spare tire and we had to drive all the way back at a speed of 80 km/h and it took so long. Sokhna is an hour away, it took us 5 hours to get to Cairo yesterday.

I believe he was there to help us. And save us from all the harassment that could have happened yesterday. (four girls asking for help on a highway is not the best of ideas) He was there for a reason yesterday, and I don't know what could have happened had he not been there. I really don't, and I don't want to begin to imagine.

We could have gotten into a serious accident, all of us. We're safe and that is all that matters, right? 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Update (Finally)

I'd be lying if I said I have a lot of things to do and that I have been too busy to blog. Because, the truth is, I am just waiting for my grades to come out. I have been trying to catch up with things that classes have kept me from doing. And today, my grades are out and I did okay (I did well, I guess, I just never like to admit it)

Things like...seeing my best friend. Going to the writing workshop I am part of, or just spending time with my brother. And remember how I used to complain about not having any work to do? Yeah, I don't even get the chance to leave my desk anymore. It feels so good! It feels so good leaving work and people telling me you look tired, and me replying "uh, it's work" instead of "you look depressed" and I used to say "I hate my job"

I don't know if I am happy about that.

I am finding it really hard to believe that it is June already when January feels like yesterday- it really does. I remember January very clearly, even more so the echoing of hundreds or thousands of voices as the square shook with anger. It was like yesterday.

I remember getting an iPod for Valentine's day (because how can I forget that?) and it was our first Valentine's! Then the months all blend together, I don't really remember what happened in March, or April, or May. I mean, nothing that makes the months stand out.
I feel like I am forgetting things that are important (ones that have happened in March, or April, or May) and that I am making a big mistake saying they were not so important months. But hey, it's okay!

I guess.

I had a brilliant, brilliant weekend and for that I am thankful. It really was a beautiful weekend filled with smiles and good food (the best things in life, more or less.)
I love the summer, it's just a very festive season with everyone getting married and engaged and myself having to dress up; something I don't get to do as often as I would like, but I actually get to go to the hair dresser's to do my hair and maybe even dye my hair (tons of grey) I get to wear makeup (and not just kohl) and buy dresses (also one of the best things in life)

This weekend I have an engagement outing and a Katb ketab (pre-wedding contract signing...or something along the lines of) to attend, and next Thursday, a wedding! I am so excited!