Eman Hashim’s “Violet Revolution” Blog Opens Eyes to the Global Realities of Violence Against Women
By Julia Hanweck
At 29 years old, Eman Hashim, a native of Cairo, Egypt, works as a pediatric ophthalmologist for special needs children. Her work reflects her dedication to improve the lives of children. She is equally dedicated to her blogs that focus on raising awareness of global violence against women (VAW) including family/domestic violence, female genital mutilation (FGM), rape and sexual assault, human trafficking and other brutal human rights violations.
Currently, she is receiving international recognition, and one of her blogs, the “Violet Revolution” is a finalist in Deutsche Welle’s prestigious 7th annual world-wide blog awards contest, the BOBs (Best of Blogs). In light of events around the world, this year’s contest will be putting a special emphasis on human rights and freedom of expression. Deutsche Welle has been broadcasting internationally for over 55 years. Through TV, radio and the internet, this innovative media company offers worldwide news and information from more than 60 countries and in 30 different languages.
Online voting is currently in progress, and the last day to vote is April 11, 2011. You can vote once per category every 24 hours. Directions on how to vote are provided at the end of this article, and they can also be found on her blog, “Just Raise Your Head Up High.”
While in Cairo in Jan. and Feb. 2010, I had the honor of meeting and interviewing Eman Hashim. Since 2006, she has been writing three separate blogs. The first time I talked with her, I was struck by her courage, strength and determination to shed light on topics that many people—throughout the world—are afraid to even glance at for a second.
While some people find it emotionally safer to sweep the violence against women’s issues under the rug, wear blinders and plug their ears to pretend that “this never happens in my backyard,” Hashim lifts up the rug, throws it away and removes both the blinders and ear plugs. Her blogs reflect her genuine concern and in a conversational writing style, she provides readers with knowledge and sources to help empower them in their own precious lives and in the lives of others.
Throughout the 18 days of the Egyptian Revolution, we kept in contact almost everyday via her cell phone, and her courage never waned. In fact, as she continues to be involved in the process to democratize Egypt during the post-revolution period, her strength, confidence and determination increase with every breath and step she takes and every word she speaks and writes.
Despite the fear of retribution from the Mubarak regime, she demonstrated in Tahrir Square almost every day from Jan. 25 to Feb. 11, 2011. She fought off police who attacked her, she was shot at, her eyes burned and her throat was raw from the tear gas, she slept on the cold pavement or against military vehicles freezing at night. She also demonstrated in front of the Parliament.
Day after day, the peaceful protestors were under deadly attacks. Despite all the threats, detainments, arrests and violent attempts made by the regime to crush the peaceful protests, despite witnessing the gruesome deaths and injuries inflicted upon her fellow demonstrators by the regime, Hashim, along with her fellow demonstrators, never gave up.
“Everyone is watching around the world, and they [the Mubarak Regime] are even now arresting the activists, but it is not going to work because this is the voice of freedom, and it is the voice of rights,” said Hashim via a phone call on Feb. 3, 2011.
During another phone call in the midst of the revolution, I asked her if her hand was badly injured after police shot at her with–what were most likely–rubber bullets. She selflessly described how minimal her injuries were in relation to others and said, “People are dead, seriously wounded everywhere and every time. It’s [her hand] nothing, it’s fine compared to the real wounded and those who have sacrificed their lives.”
During the revolution she continued to post to her blogs. She posted the following to her blog in English, “Just Raise Your Head Up High” on Feb. 10, 2011: “The demands of the Egyptian revolution at Tahrir Square” with a list of 12 demands for immediate response and a list of 8 demands for the transitional period.
Even with the possibility of reprisal, Hashim took the risk of granting interviews to major media outlets including the “Huffington Post” and “Al-Jazeera English.” Well aware that the transition from the old regime to a democracy will take time, patience and perseverance, she is dedicated to bringing positive change to her society.
If you would like to vote for Eman Hashim’s “Violet Revolution” blog (in Arabic, thawrat means “revolution” and al banafseg means “the violet/purple”) in Deutsche Welle’s blog contest, the BOBs (Best of Blogs), please click on the link provided at the end of these 3 simple voting steps:
Once you enter Deutsche Welle’s BOBs site, log into your Facebook or Twitter account (upper right-hand side).
- Go to “IN THE CATEGORY” and click on the arrow and select “Best Blog Arabic”
- Next, go to “I VOTE FOR” and click on the arrow and select the “Violet Revolution”
- To finish, click on “VOTE.” The system will not count your vote until you log into Facebook or Twitter.
If you have the time, there are many other blogs listed in other categories and languages that may peak your interests.
Experiencing solidarity with men during the Revolution has broadened her scope beyond women’s issues
Prior to the Egyptian Revolution, Hashim’s main concerns were violence and human rights violations against women. However, she is now widening her scope to include violence against ALL humans after experiencing solidarity with men throughout and after the revolution. She demonstrated side-by-side with men for 18 days, her life was saved by a young man who came out of nowhere when a police officer cornered her and her friend at the dead-end of a street and raised his gun in their faces, and she was carried by fellow demonstrators when she fainted from tear gas or collapsed with pain.
On International Women’s Day, Mar. 8, 2011, she wrote in her “Just Raise Your Head Up High” blog, “I have been fighting domestic violence against women for a long time now, and I still am. But I find it hard to talk about when at the same time, all Egyptians were hit, kicked, run over, and shot by police.”
She further added that, “Today I am not an Egyptian woman, today I’m an Egyptian. And, as I have been saying for so many times: VIOLENCE IS NOT OK AND DOES NOT HAVE AN EXCUSE.”
Note Regarding Photo of Eman Hashim: Eman Hashim was interviewed on the television show, “The Game of Life” (Lubat Alhayat). This international show highlights important social dilemmas that people in Arab societies face in their daily lives and also aims to uncover the truth and reality concerning women’s issues. The show is broadcast on “Al Baghdadia,” an independent media outlet based in Iraq that highlights, through its programs, the problems and concerns of people–including human rights. The mission of “Al Baghdadia” is to encourage freedom of speech, pluralism, the democratic system, and equality to all citizens regardless of religion, ethnicity, language, gender, social affiliations and political beliefs.
Copyright (c) 2011 by Julia Hanweck, All Rights Reserved.