Globalization: Social & Geographic Perspectives

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Blog #5: Saadawi and Joya Clips

May 10th, 2011 · 1 Comment
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In the Middle East, examples of democracy being under attack are evident. Dr. Nawal Al Saadawi states that the revolution in Egypt brought men and women together because they were united for a common cause – the resignation of President Mubarak. Post-revolution Egypt faces new challenges, one of them being electing a new president. While there is no female candidate so far, Dr. Saadawi thinks that one of the men and women she met who rallied in the square should become the next president because of their close relationship with fellow revolutionaries, not Mubarak. She goes as far to say that the new Egypt doesn’t even need one person governing the country. Her vision for the new Egypt is collective leadership where men and women, Christians and Muslims are equal. We’ll just have to wait and see who will take over. Dr. Saadawi also mentions that the former first lady, Suzanne Mubarak, didn’t help women because she was an image of her husband, a quality she thinks queens and first ladies all have in common. Now that Mubarak is out of the picture, Dr. Saadawi seems hopeful that Egyptians could try again to rebuild the Egyptian Women’s Union. Unity among women can bring forth women’s rights. A final point Dr. Saadawi makes is that the Egyptian constitution must be rewritten in order for it to become more secular. In doing so, she thinks this will allow for women and men to become equal. Additionally, she believes that the fight for democracy and the fight for women’s rights are one in the same because women are a part of society and deserve rights. Justice and democracy are classified as meaningless if the government does not make it possible for women to participate democratically or protect women’s rights. Malalai Joya, another women’s rights activist and author, stresses in her interview that she wants to see U.S troops leave Afghanistan. Since President Obama entered office, more troops have been sent to Afghanistan, but this has caused more problems and obstacles for her people. She mentions that civilians, including women and children, have been killed by U.S troops referred to as “die teams.” Joya finds the news of these war crimes heartbreaking and wants to see an end to them in the name of democracy and women’s rights. She also points out that the U.S appears contradictory because Obama supported the Egypt revolution but the killing of innocent people still continues in Afghanistan. While troops in the die teams are on trial, families receive $2,000. Joya finds this disrespectful because it puts a price tag on a family’s loss and, in a sense, the dead family member’s worth. Democracy is difficult to come by in Afghanistan because, as Joya says, the people have three enemies: warlords, the Taliban, and U.S troops. She believes that if the U.S occupation forces leave her country, the Afghani people will know what to do with their own destiny. She points out that her people hate the warlords and the Taliban. There are democratic-minded parties present, but U.S troops are eliminating them, thus creating problems. Her main point is simply: how is the U.S going to bring democracy to Afghanistan if they are massacring innocent civilians?

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1 response so far ↓

  • 1    dianab // May 16, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Rewriting a constitution is easier than it sounds. The manner in which Egypt handles the issues facing it right now in regard to its sovereignty will determine its course of history for decades to come.

    I wanted to add to the discussion you began on Afghanistan. I read an article in NY Times Magazine called “A beast in the heart of every fighting man” (may 1 2011 issue) that I recommend to anyone interested in the “die teams.” The military by no means supported the actions of those men, at least officially, as Gen Petraeus has said the alleged murders were committed without authorization or approval.

    It was not right for innocent civilians to lose their lives, but I think it happened as a result of the severe mental illnesses which our troops develop while serving in the middle east wars. Rates of PTSD increase every year and are rarely reported.

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