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First woman to run for president of Egypt

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Summary of story from Jezebel, June 16, 2011

Newscaster turned activist Bothaina Kamel is running for president in post-revolution Egypt; the first woman to do so in the country’s history.

Kamel had taken part in pro-democracy rallies even before the wave that brought down former president Hosni Mubarak and would act as a human shield on behalf of young demonstrators.

She also used to host a call-in show that sounds kind of like Loveline, called “Nighttime Confessions,: which The Times says would tackle topics like sexual abuse, and premarital and extramarital sex.

The program was abruptly taken off the airwaves in 1998, accused by a state committee on religion of damaging the reputation of Egypt and its youth.

Later, Kamel became a news anchor who recognised the dissonance between the government line she was given to read and the oppressive reality on the streets. Eventually, in 2006, she took a leave of absence rather than lie on-air.

Now she’s running on the vague but impressive-sounding motto, “My agenda is Egypt.” She’s working to try to ease sectarian tensions that have emerged since the revolution’s success.

There’s some promise in this also-vague sentence: “I am concerned with a social revolution in Egypt more than a political revolution. If you don’t have a social revolution in Egypt, all these gains will be lost.”

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