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oD 50.50 Editorial highlights 2016

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Since January 2011 openDemocracy 50.50 has been monitoring the uprisings and social movements in the Middle East and North Africa, providing a gendered analysis of developments across the region. Will democratic aspirations be thwarted by contending authoritarianisms- religiously based or military- and fuel a patriarchal backlash? How will the marriage between patriarchy and autocracy play out?

See also the 50.50 podcasts on feminism in the Arab region.

Egyptian women: depression or oppression?

Women continuing to push for change in Egypt are bearing the psychological toll of a rigid post-revolution politics and society.

Disembodying honour and exposing the politics behind it

The reaction to the public stripping of a Coptic grandmother in Upper Egypt reminds us of the power of popular campaigns to shame those who use embodied concepts of honour politically.

Your fatwa does not apply here

The UN Human Rights Council has appointed Karima Bennoune as Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights. Bennoune is the author of the book, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism.

Holier than thou?: The anti-imperialist versus the local activist

Local gender activists in the Arab world face both censure from their own societies, and attacks by US-based anti-imperialist scholars who charge them with complicity with western imperialist designs.

Opposing political Islam in Tunisia: Mohamed Brahmi's widow speaks out

On the first anniversary of Mohamed Brahmi’s assassination, his widow, Mbarka Brahmi, denounces fundamentalism and terrorism in Tunisia.  This article is republished following the murderous attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis.

Tunisia's fight against fundamentalism: an interview with Amel Grami

In conversations with Karima Bennoune, Tunisian intellectual Amel Grami shares her analysis of the political crisis in Tunisia during the rule of the Ennahda party, and the strategies needed to defeat fundamentalism.

Egyptian women's rights: no time for dissent

The act of dissent should match the need for equality, rather than the time for equality. In the fight for a right, there are no divisions.

Gendered paradoxes of Egypt’s transition

Four years after the downfall of Mubarak, women face a new patriarchal bargain: abandoning all forms of independent organizing in return for protection of their rights.

Article 11: feminists negotiating power in Egypt

Faced with unequal power relations at the negotiating table and authoritarian consolidation, a member of the 50-committee explores how feminist voices achieved leverage when drafting the 2014 Egyptian Constitution to include article 11. 

Egypt: a reality too dark in which to glimpse hope?

The last known message from the Egyptian activist Zainab Mahdy reads, " It's like we're digging in water...There is no justice…I am aware of that…there is no victory coming…we are just lying to ourselves so that we can live."

The common factor: sexual violence and the Egyptian state, 2011-2014

We must conceptualise the epidemic levels of sexual violence in post-revolutionary Egypt at least partly as “state violence”, and resist the state’s attempt to selectively appropriate women’s rights. Every post-revolutionary Egyptian regime has the blood of women on its hands.

Desolation and despair in Libya: the murder of Salwa Bugaighis

Looking back, it feels as if Salwa Bugaighis embodied not the hopes and aspirations of the majority of her country's people but a dream of revolution, shared by a minority of educated Libyans and nurtured by western journalists and democracy activists, says Lindsey Hilsum

From Strongman to Superman: Sisi the saviour of Egypt

Egypt’s current political scene is marked by ’Sisi-mania’, as the new leader’s supporters scramble to snap up the latest items of Sisi-branded consumer kitsch. A gendered reading of this ‘patriotic consumerism’ reveals its role in negotiating citizenship within Egypt’s refashioned political order.

Simmering tensions: Behind the facade of Amman

Jordan appears to have been relatively unaffected by the upheavals of the Arab uprisings, but growing resentment at nepotism, pandemic corruption, and economic deprivation lies just beneath the surface. 

Egypt: a space that isn't our own

Last month a young woman was mob attacked on Cairo University campus. Socially and culturally constructed circles that control our lives seem to be tightening at a time when individuals are trying their hardest to crack them open. Zainab Magdy explores whether women will ever find a space that is their own.

Egypt as a role model: an opportunity lost

The January 25th uprising offered Egypt the opportunity to become a role model for peaceful transition in the region and beyond. But with the hijack of the will of the people almost completed, Egypt is moving further away from realising democracy.

Egypt's constitutional referendum: the untold story

By ignoring expressions of people power in the Egyptian  constitutional referendum, some western political commentators and the media are showing a disconnect with the pulse of the citizenry and engaging in a dangerous politics of omission, argues Mariz Tadros

Egypt: a tale of two constitutions

Reading the 2012 and 2013 Egyptian constitutions together is less a tale of successive steps towards constitutional democracy and more an illustration of how the revolution was lost in two successive jolts – first Morsi’s Islamism without legitimacy, and then the violent militarism that accompanied Morsi’s removal from power.

The invisible men with the arms

When it comes to gender based violence in Arab transition contexts, it is not only state militarism we should be concerned about, but the proliferation of militias and weapons across borders, argues Mariz Tadros

The 'feminism' of patriarchy in Egypt

Images of women and the brutal violence against them, whether committed by the Army, Police, Muslim Brotherhood or thugs, are commodities that sell a certain shade of patriarchy to the people, says Zainab Magdy.

Women's human security rights in the Arab world: on nobody's agenda

Security breakdown has wreaked havoc with women’s lives in Arab transition countries, but it is hardly recognized in international debates on gender based violence, says Mariz Tadros

Takeovers and makeovers: using the landscape to re-write history in post-revolutionary Cairo

Clearing sites of mass protest in Cairo and stamping them with symbolic representations of their preferred narrative of order and stability, the military authorities are striving to relegate the revolution to the past. Yet, these new cityscape makeovers continue to be contested.

Sudan’s popular protest movement: will the international community continue to ignore it?

The recent protests in Sudan were characterized by unprecedented levels of street participation. Dalia Haj-Omar asks why the international community continues to ignore the regime’s long-term governance failures, choosing economic interests over human rights, and failing to offer tangible support for the democracy that Sudanese citizens are demanding

Secular space: bridging the religious-secular divide?

One of the goals in a new report on women and Arab Spring by CARE International is to build bridges between religious and secular women.  Gita Sahgal says this fails to address the real problem: the rise of fundamentalism and the lack of clarity on the need for a secular state.

Sudanese women: you can beat us but you cannot break us

Amira Osman is awaiting trial for refusing to cover her hair. She is one of thousands of Sudanese women who are being arrested under Sudan's criminal code, sentenced, and publicly lashed.

Egypt: back to military despotism?

The only way out of the current stalemate is launching an inclusive reconciliation process in which all political forces admit their responsibility for the early failure of transition and show their willingness to move towards building a democratic state, says Rawia M.Tawfik Amer

Egypt: growing anger with western opinion

Selective reporting by the western media, and expert opinion predicting Egypt's future based on the familiar pattern of drawing blueprints that are disconnected from the pulse on the street, are producing strong anti-western sentiment, says Mariz Tadros.

Algeria: the real lessons for Egypt

For all its problems, Algeria never became an Islamic state. Like Algerian progressives in the 1990s, Egyptian progressives now have to carve out the space to construct a credible alternative under the shield of the new transitional process, and simultaneously challenge the military’s human rights abuses

Iraq: gendering authoritarianism

Women in Iraq bear the brunt of increasing levels of gender-based violence, inadequate infrastructure and poverty. Yet women activists recognize that their struggle for equality and social justice as women cannot be separated from the wider struggle against authoritarianism and sectarianism

Opportunities and pitfalls in Egypt’s roadmap

The only way to safeguard against the emergence of another dictatorship in Egypt is a political settlement that is premised on an inclusive rather than majoritarian political order

J’Accuse the West!

There is a perception among the non-Islamist political movements and civil society that there is a western conspiracy against the Egyptian people in support of the Muslim Brotherhood’s totalitarian regime, it is now time to switch sides before it is too late, argues Mariz Tadros

The politics of women’s rights promotion in Jordan

The promotion of women’s rights through the introduction of gender quotas in Jordan is being used to score points on ‘democratization’ and to present a ‘modern’ face to the world. What are the prospects for women’s empowerment?

Patriarchy and militarism in Egypt: from the street to the government

The lack of institutional concern for epidemic levels of sexual harassment and assault in Egypt is part of the larger neglect of the issue of gender equality by the post-revolutionary powers, says Heather McRobie. 

The framework of democracy is human rights law

Democracy is more of a culture than a way of governing or a political system. It is a historical process that must go through its evolution. No country can be a quasi democracy. It is in fact democratic people that make a society democratic, says Nobel Peace laureate Shirin Ebadi

چهار چوب دموکراسی حقوق بشر است

دموکراسی قبل از آنکه یک روش حکومتی و یا سیستم سیاسی باشد، یک فرهنگ و پروسه تاریخی است که باید سیر تکاملی خود را طی کند. هیچ کشوری یک شبه دموکرات نمی شود. در حقیقت .انسان های دموکرات هستند که جامعه را دموکرات می

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