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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Dec 21, 2011

Egyptian Women on the Protest Line

The Arab Spring Revolution has so far led to the collapse of four corrupt regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. Others are on the way out.

Another significant change has also been taking place quietly, which is the role of women in general in the uprising in many states in the Arab world.

The participation of women in the protest movement in Yemen led to one of the most active women, Tawakul Karmen, to be nominated and receive the Nobel Prize for her active political and social role in Yemen.

In Egypt, from the first day of the revolution, many young women marched side by side with men in support of the revolution. Their role didn’t end with the collapse of the Mubarak regime, but they continued to see that the demands that the young people have been asking for have not been totally implemented.

The recent protest that took place during the third week of December in front of the prime minster’s headquarters led to ugly consequences that no person would have anticipated.

The military police and other security agents with civilian clothing were sent to stop the peaceful protest, but it turned into ugly and shameful acts committed by the soldiers.

Many soldiers teamed up to beat the few young people who were thrown on the ground. One disgraceful scene was of a young woman stripped of her upper clothing and exposed to the public. While she was on the ground, soldiers continued to kick her with their boots.

Such behavior on the part of that soldier who tore off the girl’s clothing should not be lightly dismissed. He and other soldiers have brought disgrace to the Egyptian army, who were expected to protect the public

The Egyptian Higher Military Council went through a stage of denial that such a thing did not occur until video clips and photos started circulating on the Internet and in newspapers. Some used titles such as, “Shame on Egypt and its Military”.

The next day (12/20/11), Egyptian women protested in massive numbers in Tahrir Square and in front of the parliament, calling on military forces to surrender their power to a civilian council and to punish those who committed the shameful acts the day before.

The women were shouting, “Pull my hair, drag me to the floor and strip me, but my brother’s blood will cover me”, “Where are you, General Tantawi?” and “The Women of Egypt are Here”.

Many political and social organizations have called for a million protestors on Friday (12/23/11), which they have labeled “Radil Sharaf”, which means to regain “our honor”.

Protestors refer to the young woman who experienced such humiliating and ugly treatment by soldiers as the “woman with the blue bra”.

However, I would like to note that the woman with the blue bra has already ignited the spark for change in the role of women. The new role, as well as their political activities, puts them on the central stage of public life for the first time in their lives.

In Arab society, where males are traditionally the dominant figures not only at home, but also in public life, women standing and chanting side by side with men, reflecting the beginning of new social and cultural trends not just in Egypt, but also in some other Arab states as well.

Another strong indication of women’s new active political roles is their massive participation in the recent Egyptian elections, where they stood in long lines for hours to fulfill their political duties to their own society. For the vast majority, it was the first political participation of their lives.

The slogan “the woman with the blue bra” has ignited the flame that will further boost the roles of women in Arab society.

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