AWID Celebrates The Power Of The People In Egypt
Following over two weeks of mass protests across the country, Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak finally succumbed to the will of the people and resigned after 30 years in power. AWID celebrates with the men and women of Egypt who have shown the world that when people come together for a common goal, the unimaginable can become possible.
At least 300people have died and several thousand have been injured in clashes with security forces and pro-Mubarak protesters since the uprising began January 25.Despite this brutal response to the peaceful demonstrations, hundreds of thousandsof Egyptians continued to gather at Cairo’s Tahrir Square and other placesaround the country every day, fighting for their right to decide their own future.
Egyptian women and girls have taken centre stage in the country’s democratic revolution,challenging the common stereotype of Arab women as being powerless, submissive and isolated from political events. Women of all ages and social backgrounds –wearing everything from jeans to face-covering niqabs – have been protesting alongside men and boys on the streets. For many of them, Egypt’s uprising has also been about women’s liberation. They say that in Tahrir Square, they are treated as equals.
Inthe past few weeks, the world has witnessed history in the making - not only in Egypt, but also in other parts of the Middle East and Northern Africa. In December and January, street protests in Tunisia led to the ousting of PresidentZine El Abidine Ben Ali, who had ruled the country for 23years. Tunisia’s uprising, labelled the Jasmine Revolution by some media, spreadlike wild-fire, inspiring similar protests in other parts of the region including Algeria, Yemen and Jordan. Economic stagnation, high unemployment,corruption and lack of civil rights are just some of the grievances that havecaused the protests that aim to sweep away the Arab world’s ruling regimes.
The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) stands in solidarity with the people of the Middle East and Northern Africa who are mobilizing and riskingtheir lives to fight for freedom, equality, democracy and justice. Their courage and boldness is a breath of fresh air and gives hope to all those who are struggling in different corners of the world for the full respect of human rights of all peoples, in all their diversity. In particular, we express respect and solidarity to the women and feminists in the region, who have historically been an important part of civil society and social movements in the Middle East and Northern Africa.
A number of Western powers, such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France, have long been staunch supporters of dictators in the Middle East and Northern Africa. In the name of ensuring security and stability, they have turned a blind eye to continuous human rights violations.
It is now time for the international community to support a process that truly responds to the demands of the people in the streets of Egypt and other countries in the region for freedom, democracy and justice. We call on the international community to support a peaceful transition to democratic regimes which protect the rights of all people, and donot perpetuate the control of the same powerful elites.