Ayesha Kazmi

Reflections from a Cairo cab

In The Political on 08/06/2012 at 16:05

I wait for less than a minute before a white taxi pulls up by my side. ‘Masr al-Gedīdah min fadlak,’ I tell the driver, sliding into the sun-warmed leather seat. I roll down the window, swig a thick gulp of air swollen with heat and smog, and sit in anticipation of the eight mile jaunt from the ex-pat haven of Zamalek to the buzzing district of Heliopolis.

I’m in Cairo on a work project, and I brace myself for the daily commute in the notorious Cairene traffic. We begin well. To my right sprawls the Opera House with its seven theatres built in the late 1980s. The city’s former nineteenth century opera house, which staged the first ever performance of Verdi’s Aida, was entirely destroyed in a fire. I imagine the ghostly soprano voices resonating within its former grandeur – the building was intended to be an enduring symbol of the arts. Egypt continues to lead the Arab world in a spectrum of arts and culture,

The function of the Muslim woman victim in western feminism and the war on terror

In The Political on 18/05/2012 at 17:32

This piece was originally published at e-feminist. You can find it here.

The declaration of the War on Terror has done much to shed light on the plight of women in the Muslim world. Since, western feminists have actively chided the unfathomable illiteracy rates in nations like Afghanistan, the long dark robes covering women’s bodies in theocratic Muslim regions, the choking of freedom on account of not being able to drive in Saudi Arabia, and perhaps the most harrowing of all, the mutilation of young girls private parts thus preventing them from enjoying their sexualities as adults in parts of the African continent. The war on Muslim patriarchy has given the broader feminist movement a sense of common purpose. It has also provided them with a strong sense of what and who they are not.

Oh, Mona!

In The Political on 24/04/2012 at 22:27

Since yesterday it appears Mona Eltahawy has had her hands full fending off the massive outrage her Foreign Policy article entitled “Why do they hate us? The real war on women is in the Middle East provoked. Even much to the dismay of disappointed feminists, her tweets suggest those disagreeing with her have not bothered to provide intelligible debate. However, it was pretty clear, even yesterday, this was certainly not the case.

I realise Mona has likely been quite swamped with responses. But her tweeting patterns suggest that she is responding mainly to two types of people: those that are lauding her work, and those that have been shamelessly slandering her. The problem is that there is a whole host of people in between who want to engage with her intellectually and respectfully while explaining to her precisely why they disagreed so deeply with her piece.