The resurrection of women’s voices across the Middle East
In the revolutions currently sweeping the Middle East, women’s voices have been heard loud and clear, from Amal Mathluthi singing for the Tunisian revolution, to the “bravest girl in Egypt” leading chants against Mubarak, to the journalist and activist Tawakul Karaman heading protests in Yemen.
Outside the region, R&B artist Ayah added her voice to the single “#Jan25? in solidarity with the Egyptian people, and journalist Mona El Tahawy appeared on countless media outlets, bringing the world’s attention to the events unfolding in her country and the ongoing events in Yemen, Bahrain, Libya, and Iran.
One woman reminds them: “To every Libyan woman, this is your day, your pride, your victory over this tyrant…you are half the population…There is no difference between us and Egyptian women, and Tunisian women.”
Another woman sent a message urging people to: “Come out tomorrow and demonstrate and make us proud! Tomorrow is the day of freedom and dignity…To my Libyan sisters, you are up for this task and I know you are up for it. Even if it is with supplying them with some water.”
Meanwhile on BBC Radio, a Libyan woman calling herself “Sara,” stressed the need for more international attention to be given to Libya, where there is no independent media and where the only coverage has come from videos posted on the internet, and on Feb17 voices.
A woman from Tripoli has been calling in with updates on the situation on the city in English.
In Libya women have been part of a sit-in in front of the Benghazi courthouse; in Bahrain women have joined men in Pearl Square; and in Yemen, Karaman continued to lead protests after being detained.
All of them are holding out for the freedom they witnessed that the people of Tunisia and Egypt had wrested from those in power.
Whatever else this wave of revolutions may signify, it is also a resurrection of women’s voices, and the hope that in an era following the collapse of dictatorships and autocracies, women will be part of creating new and freer societies.