MWM: Egypt Edition
With the situation in Syria continues reaching new levels of turmoil, it is easy for news stories to get lost among the shuffle. Although the million man march is known by even the casually high school educated historians, the million women march in Egypt that happened just last year is one that mainstream media has all but overlooked. Egypt, like many countries in the region are at a crossroad, not only for the future of their political policies, but their human rights policies as well.
The first MWM was organized on October 25th, 1997 in Philadelphia by Phile Chionesu. She and other women acknowledged the Million Man March and the day of absence, but felt that they were not represented within the ranks of the men. Their intention was to provide hope and guidance in improving the lives of African Americans. Estimates range from 500,000 to 1.1 million women attended the Million Woman March in Philly.
The Egyptian MWM is one of many protests going on in Egypt as of late. Outcry over the murder and deplorable treatment of female protestors have led women who usually err on the side of political neutrality, to join in march regardless of the consequences.
This relates to African American feminism is a plethora of ways. The most obvious being that Egyptian women are seeking the same level or human rights from their government that American feminists once demanded, and having to deal with a violence that many did not. The outcry, men killing/assaulting women and dragging them through the streets mimics the civil rights movement and violence perpetrated against blacks in the form of jim crow laws and lynchings. Reports of not only protestors, but reporters being physically attacked, as riot squads attempted to disperse the crowds.(disturbing vid below, provided by the huffington post)
Experts will argue that this is nothing new and that women fight, in all parts of the world for equal rights. The point of this was to show that although this is a long drawn out struggle, it is obviously not over until human beings are not dragged through the streets and stepped on.Even with the threat of violence looming the Egyptian Million Woman march attracted about 1000 women. If America’s Million Woman March devolved into such violence, how many would still openly protest?