Hero of the Day

Samira Ibrahim.

When Samira Ibrahim makes a rare foray into the streets of her hometown of Sohag in Upper Egypt or to a demonstration on the streets of Cairo, she has the distinct feeling of being watched.

“I never feel comfortable,” she said during in an interview in a Cairo cafe. “The only place I can feel like myself is in my home with my family. Everywhere I go, I feel there are eyes on me. They want me to forget everything and just go away.”

Ms Ibrahim, 25, is taking on, under her own name, a battle against the powerful ruling generals. She is the only named plaintiff in several legal cases against the officers who conducted “virginity tests” on 17 women protesters detained by the military last year.

After repeated death threats, she travels only with trusted friends, avoids being alone in public and hangs up on unknown callers. Applications for jobs are mysteriously turned down.

Khaled Fahmy, the chair of the history department of the American University of Cairo, wrote in an essay in an Egyptian newspaper on Monday Ms Ibrahim’s lawsuit was “the most significant development concerning the right of women to their bodies and the most important act of rebellion of 2011, a year in which there has been no shortage of acts of courage and rebellion”.

Female protesters were arrested and then stripped and checked to see if their hymens were intact. She was also beaten and electrocuted. I hope she’s successful in bringing her torturers to justice.

8 comments for “Hero of the Day

  1. Kristen J.
    January 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    What an amazing woman.

  2. January 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    This seriously makes me want to come up with malicious ways to ensure that men remain virgins.

  3. Tony_
    January 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I wonder if she’ll participate in elections after the generals’ interim rule ends and the Parliament elected last year takes its seat.

  4. Sheelzebub
    January 11, 2012 at 6:35 am

    Wow, the crap she is dealing with as a result of a legitimate complaint on her part.

  5. Hari B
    January 11, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Wow, this womyn has the kind of courage that few people do, and I am truly in awe of her. Courageous as it is for any womyn anywhere–but especially in a place like her homeland, where the oppression of womyn is so overt and encompassing–to take part in the demonstrations to begin with. Samira’s courage goes well beyond, and stands in a class of her own now. This will change her life in ways she cannot begin to imagine yet, I think. Not least because she will also touch and change the lives of so many other womyn…not just in the ways she intends to. The ripples of her courage and daring leap of faith (in herself) will surely move outward with a force and endurance that she cannot now imagine.

    Samira, I salute you from the bottom of my heart.

  6. Angie unduplicated
    January 11, 2012 at 8:32 am

    An entire military force of armed men, a huge and tyrannical culture, cannot discourage one woman’s resistance. She is truly a woman to be revered. Note, too, that she lives in a country where the overwhelming majority of women have been mutilated.

  7. matlun
    January 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    An entire military force of armed men, a huge and tyrannical culture, cannot discourage one woman’s resistance.

    She is indeed incredibly courageous, but fortunately she is not alone. The news of the virginity tests did spawn public outrage in Egypt, which is encouraging for the future.

    Now let’s just hope that they do not get away with blaming it on some low ranking individual and that the responsible persons are convicted.

  8. Anecdotal
    January 11, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Makes me grateful for the things I take for granted.

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