Sunday, May 29, 2005

Call from the Association of Egyptian Mothers

Egypt Wears Black, Wednesday 1 June 2005

The Association of Egyptian Mothers (Rabetat al-Ummahat al-Misriyyat) has circulated this call via e-mail, and it's swiftly making the rounds of the Egyptian blogosphere; the Arabic original can be found at Rehab's. Thanks to Alif for the photo. This is my verbatim translation.

An Invitation from the Association of Egyptian Mothers

All of Egypt Will Wear Black on Wednesday, 1 June 2005

Honourable Citizens, Children of Egypt

On 25 May, the day of the referendum, women and girls participating in peaceful demonstrations demanding democracy in Cairo at the Press Syndicate were subjected to harassment and sexual assault in public, perpetrated by simple people rented by thugs of the National Democratic Party and supervised by generals of the Interior Ministry.

We the Egyptian Mo
thers who dream of a better future for the homeland and a better life for our children have decided to invite the Egyptian people to leave their homes as usual next Wednesday, the 1st of June, but wearing black on their way to work or while running their daily errands.
Every citizen and responsible person before God disapproves of what happened, even if they are not political activists nor care for public activism. We only ask that they leave their house that day as on any ordinary day, but wearing black, and to invite those around them to do the same and explain to them the importance of this symbolic public protest.

As for activists, we call on them in all of Egypt’s provinces to coordinate peaceful, silent vigils in front of their syndicates or in their universities or in certain public places they agree on, in silence and complete solemnity in their black clothes.

The Egyptian Mothers is not a political movement, it is the voice of the silent majority of women, housewives and working women. But they have realised today that the Interior Ministry has overstepped all red lines, and that silence today is a crime and we must stand up in united formation as a united people to defend the Egyptian woman and girl.

Our demand is clear, it is a single demand: the resignation of the Interior Minister.

All of Egypt will wear black in silence on the 1st of June, from the extreme North to the extreme South, its men, women, youth, and aged people, sadness in its streets and a wound in its heart. The people’s demand is simply the resignation of the Interior Minister. We have stood by watching for a long time, but we have decided to go out next Wednesday, for the first time, in defense of the honour of Egypt’s women citizens, women and girls, in police stations and on the street and in demonstrations.

On the 1st of June, all of Egypt will be dressed in black, for the sake of our daughters who were assaulted and had their clothes torn in the street because they dared to say enough instead of remaining silent. We will go out this time (and we are not from the Kifaya movement) to tell Interior whose role it was to protect us: the game is over.

A day of silent popular mourning and a single demand: the resignation of the Interior Minister.

Afterwards, we will either return to our homes and our daily lives, in the way of Egyptian women and their familiar struggle for their daily bread, family, and children since the dawn of this civilisation and throughout the history of this peace-loving homeland, or we will think of a next step if our demand is not met.

We emphasise that we are not from the Kifaya movement and do not belong to any political force, legal or otherwise. But when the Egyptian woman pays the price of her political participation with the sanctity of her body and her honour, then every Egyptian mother and all of Egypt will go out in clothes of mourning to tell the Interior Minister:

We want your resignation…today…now.

We will see you all on Wednesday, the 1st of June, a normal day, in our black clothes, calmly, and in bitter silence, for the sake of a free future.