Revolutionary Women

A dear friend from Chicago called me last night to check in on me and the uprising in Egypt. She’s been following my work closely and wondered why it seemed like there are few women taking part in the protests. I was shocked, but then I realized that most of my pictures contain mostly men. It may be true that the majority of people at the protests are men, but it’s certainly not by a big margin. While I do try to represent a wide variety of people in my images, I find myself sometimes being overly sensitive when photographing women in this region. I’ve also been told to stop at least a couple times when taking pictures of veiled women. But I will do my best to make sure they’re represented in my photographs from now on. They have been just as present as men during this uprising, and it’s not fair that they’re not represented in the coverage.

Here are some images of revolutionary Egyptian women from Tahrir Square today:

(matthew cassel)

(matthew cassel)

'Mutabanash mutabanash, al-hurriyeh mish balash' -- English translation: 'We're not tired, we're not tired, freedom isn't free' (matthew cassel)

(matthew cassel)

A young girl holds a paper with the images of the revolution's martyrs. Her father behind her holds his wrist up to make sure I know that Christians are also active in the revolution. (matthew cassel)

Minor correction in recent article

Sean Lee, a non-Lebanese blogger in Lebanon (like me) pointed out today an error in a recent article that I wrote with Moeali about citizenship rights for women in Lebanon. Lebanese American prof As’ad AbuKhalil posted a link to the article yesterday on his blog, and a correction with a link to Lee’s post today.

It is incorrect, although to be fair only slightly. That sentence was taken from information obtained in an interview with Abou-Habib, director of CRTD-A, who is also leading this campaign on a regional level and not only in Lebanon. But as the authors of the piece the error belongs only to us. As Lee points out, women are still fighting for citizenship rights (and many other rights) not only in a few, but in most countries of the Middle East (and elsewhere). That line should read: “Lebanon is one of many countries in the Middle East where a mother is unable to pass citizenship to her children.”

One can be born in Lebanon and live here all one’s life, and still not be a Lebanese citizen. Lebanon is one of few remaining countries in the Middle East where a mother is unable to pass citizenship to her children.

Campaigners have succeeded in securing that right in countries such as Egypt, which amended the law in 2004 to allow women to pass citizenship to their children, and in Algeria, which granted women full citizenship rights in 2005. In Lebanon the struggle continues.

“Lebanon is the worst,” says Lina Abou-Habib, director of Collective for Research and Training on Development-Action (CRTD-A) …

What was later realized in a discussion with a few people about this article, is that the original law written in 1925 under the French mandate of Lebanon (the French and British had a mandate of many Arab countries who had previously been part of the Ottoman empire) and was most likely copied from an already existing French law. So, for many countries in the Arab World, Africa, East Asia, South Asia, etc… oh and Latin America, European colonialism can be blamed for the oppression that women, indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities, workers, and many other groups are facing today.

Women Battle for Citizenship Rights in Lebanon

http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=47119

Women Battle for Citizenship Rights
By Matthew Cassel and Moeali Nayel

BEIRUT, Jun 6 (IPS) – One can be born in Lebanon and live here all one’s life, and still not be a Lebanese citizen. Lebanon is one of few remaining countries in the Middle East where a mother is unable to pass citizenship to her children.

Campaigners have succeeded in securing that right in countries such as Egypt, which amended the law in 2004 to allow women to pass citizenship to their children, and in Algeria, which granted women full citizenship rights in 2005. In Lebanon the struggle continues.

“Lebanon is the worst,” says Lina Abou-Habib, director of Collective for Research and Training on Development-Action (CRTD-A), a group leading the campaign for women’s right to citizenship. Abou-Habib argues that the position in Lebanon is at variance with the popular belief that women in Lebanon have more rights than in other Arab countries.

Continue reading “Women Battle for Citizenship Rights in Lebanon”