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Players of the Arab Revolutions Innovative Forms and Expressions

Women in the Libyan revolution between presided over the scene and the marginalization of roles (Abeir Ibrahim Imneina)

Libyan Women have played a prominent role in the revolution since its inception. They organized mass demonstrations and were engaged in relief organizations and media. After liberation and initiation of the process of democratic transition challenges have emerged through modest representation for women and the absence of mechanisms to resist discrimination practiced against her. And also, increase of level of violence and harassment in public and private space, without neglecting the outbreak of anti-religious trend mainly forewomen that the advancement of women in the next phase requires unification of feminist discourse towards the rights to be demarcated in the constitution and bringing up a comprehensive level of society as a whole to change the reality of women to a comprehensive strategy undertaken by each polarity in influencing civil society. [/item] [item title="From Exploitation to Polarization: Egyptian Women Mapping their Space and Discourse (Shereen Abouelnaga)"] How far the multiple gendered identities have contributed to the socio-political chasm and the state of polarization is one of the concerns of this paper. The main purpose is to seek an understanding of what happened between 2011 and 2014. While 2011 witnessed all forms of violations of women’s rights by the military and their supporters; and 2012 & 2013 witnessed the poignant attempts at ‘islamizing’ the concept of gender, 2014 was the year of ululations and dancing in celebration of a new constitution and of the ousting of Islamists by the military. The three years then seem like a closed circuit, that which was shunned in 2011 is now hailed, and those who were elected are now ousted. In all that, one can safely say that women have been, and still are, among one of the major players on the scene. Their powerful presence in the Squares, marches, sit-ins, demonstrations, and participation in the elections cannot be overlooked. The stamina and persistence with which they carried out their socio-political choices and the awareness of their different positional ties is a striking fact that forces one to re-evaluate. Women’s conspicuous presence that augmented polarization at some point is the second concern of this paper. 

The Political Role of Women during the Arab Spring in Tunisia (Lilia Labidi )

This paper discusses the contribution of women to Islamic reformism and to secularization. Lilia Labidi shows how women participated in the construction of a new political culture in a domain that belonged exclusively to the oulama and male political figures during periods when discussion over religion was impassioned. She shows how socio-cultural factors gave women, during each of the periods discussed, new positions and roles, and how the secularization process varied according to historical context and political forces. She explores in this paper some historical and recent events in order to understand what motivated women to rise up against domination and to stand up for equality between the sexes and she outlines the contexts and forces at play in the process of the construction of new hudud/norms, giving new meaning to certain limits/boundaries concerning values, such as the constitutionalization of women’s rights. 

Women Activists “Hoda al-Saddah, Mervat al-Tellawi, Mona dhu-l Fiqar” (Amro Salah al-Din ‘Alaa)

The new Egyptian constitution, approved by a popular referendum in 14 and 15 of January 2014, made strides in terms of the gains achieved by women during the last few decades in Egypt. Owing to the efforts of feminist organizations, an effective role for women was made possible through the Khamsin committee, which drafted the 2014 constitution. The constitution gives a child born of an Egyptian mother the right to citizenship and includes articles on equity and equality between men and women with regards to rights and without discrimination. The constitution also establishes a commission to prevent discrimination against women, and commits the government to a parliamentary quota for women, including 25% in the local councils as well as positions in the higher administration and the judiciary. The battle appeared hard for the female members of the Khamsin committee, who did not make up more than 10% of the total members. This paper uncovers the vital role that the latter played to protect their constitutional achievements, presents the stages preceding the drafting of the 2014 constitution, and summarizes the status of women within it. It also discusses the circumstances that led to the founding of the Khamsin committee, and depicts the political and gender composition of the committee. The paper devotes a great space to the role of the women activists within the committee, namely Hoda al-Saddah, Mervat al-Tellawi and Mona dhu-l Fiqar, during different stages of the committee's work. The stages range from the outset when the activists contributed to the general philosophy of the constitution during the discussion sessions, to the drafting of the texts within the various sub-committees, to the stage when the activists joined alliances and coalitions, until the final stage when they cast their first indicative and final ballots. 

Tunisian Women and the Revolution: Expectations, Challenges and Stakes (Amel Grami)

Since the beginning of the Tunisian Revolution, which saw an exceptional participation of women, these had dreams and expectation that their status would be improved, that the Code of Personal Status be amended to reflect their aspirations in order to achieve effective equality and full citizenship. However, the transition process brought about myriads of challenges that made women deeply concerned with their achieved rights and face forms of physical, verbal and especially symbolic violence. They sought to organize themselves seeking to prove their ability to resist and to invent new resistance strategies. The part one of this research identifies the forms of regression and multiple forms of violence targeting women that emerged in the Tunisian society (the large number of visiting preachers advocating women hate, marginalization, denying women’s participation in the Revolution, sex Jihad, the niqab, veiling young girls, depriving girls of education…). Part two will analyze the reactions of Tunisian women regarding these changes and their views regarding provisions in the draft constitution that do not account for their full rights, namely the forms of resistance adopted by women and the methods they used in developing strategies. The last part will analyze the impact of these changes on women’s movements in Tunisia, their situation, status, gender relations and their views of the future in the light of these challenges.

Infowar On The Web In The Middle-East (Sabrine SAAD, Stéphane BAZAN and Addis TESFA)

The Middle-East Region is presently known throughout the World for its ongoing political and military conflicts. Since 1948, the region has witnessed many forms of confrontations, but recent ones found new strategic orientations with the development of Web access and literacy, among local populations. Increase in networks speeds and democratization of Internet connections since 2005 created new opportunities for online mobilization and information warfare. Organized and efficient usage of Online Social Media platforms has altered the political landscape in many countries of the region, during the 2009 - 2011 periods now called the “Arab Spring”. To clearly evaluate what is really going on in these new zones requires a clarification of several misunderstandings in definitions of information warfare and cyberwarfare. This paper offers methodological directions to identify actions and measure their impact in the specific context of the Web. Research on infowar on the Web is still at an early stage and the question of the true nature of information warfare actions that target the Web needs to be answered at both conceptual and methodological levels.

The Yemeni Woman: From Marginalization to Revolution (Mona Yehya El-Mahakery)

There is no doubt women in Yemen played an important role in the protests of 2011, and certainly fear, as a psychological barrier, collapsed when groups of women left their homes to demonstrate in the squares of change. Women's participation in the demonstrations and their calls for the fall of the regime mark the first time in history that women of Yemen go public. The ghost of the civil war and fear of sectarian fighting explain why women were scared in such a socially divided and economically weak society as Yemen. Women who sought a peaceful resolution and transition of the regime were considered allies of the Ben Ali regime. Thus, they were not considered among the participants in the squares and were neglected by the local and international media as well as observers. During this critical period, political participation was a priority for educated urban women, although the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2014 called on all parties "to secure the protection of women and children, to empower women's contribution in conflict resolution, and to encourage all parties to facilitate, in full capacity, the gender equality on the level of making of decisions." Similarly, the Gulf countries' initiative confirmed women's participation during the transitional period. Most women, however, realized that they were marginalized. In addition to the lack of trust in the traditional parties, women felt that the conflicting political sides would only agree on the political exclusion of women. It is clear that the participation of women in the squares did not contribute to formulating demands for change nor to the adoption of progressive slogans about the emancipation of women. In general, the conflicting parties on the Yemeni political scene, the regime or the opposition, successfully exploited women as was always the case before the parliamentary elections. This transitional phase confirms that not one single party believes in the participation of women in decision-making and women have remained under male political leadership. Further, women and children were exploited to attract the international community for funding and women's work in the squares included preparing food and bread, nursing, and fundraising; such roles by women are considered traditional and tied with the provision of care not leadership. Women in Yemen are still far from reaching the position of decision-makers, whereby the political decision of making war or peace remains a man's decision par excellence. This paper presents a critical reading of the political participation of women in Yemen during the revolution.

When the revolution imposes its pattern: Egypt as an example (Rafif Rida Sidawi)

There have been several designations to describe events that broke out in Egypt in January 2011. This study aims at revealing the course of events that allows us to designate it as a “revolution”. The designation is based on laws that govern revolutions in general; and on internal and external situation that engulfed Egypt at the time, in parallel with the collective component of the Egyptian revolution itself. The study reveals that what was happening in Egypt was a real revolution which already has imposed its own pattern. As for the progression of events that may have impelled Egypt towards the edge of a civil war, (most important: the counterrevolution and the candidate of the Muslim brotherhood Mohamad Mursi winning the presidential elections), it did not deviate the revolution from its own course. For it succeeded in overcoming one essential obstacle of chain obstacles blocking the march towards a democratic path. That is the alternating power which afterwards turned to be “a personal inheritance”. This leads us to conclude that past, present and future obstacles in addition to legitimate fears, that might disable this revolution from guiding Egypt towards true democracy, do not disown the events that took place in Egypt its revolutionary stamp, especially, with the awareness for the need to change on a first level, the will to change on a second level and the effort put to substantiate new social values on a third level. So that social activists understand fully the goals of a revolution and its reasons; thus they have reached the point of no return in order to attain the values they have revolted for.

Additional Info

  • Volume: XVI
  • ISBN: 978-9953-0-3137-8
  • Editorial Committee: Amal Habib, Hosn Abboud
  • Year: 2015
  • Pages: 519
  • Publisher: Lebanese Association of Women Researchers