Articles Relating to the “Arab Spring”
Dear HumanDHS Friends
Disquiet and despair: the gender sub-texts of the “Arab spring”Published on openDemocracy (http://www.opendemocracy.net) Deniz Kandiyoti  , 26 June 2012
The extreme precariousness of women’s rights in post- Arab spring successor regimes can neither be fully accounted for with reference to the rise of politically empowered Islamist parties nor attributed to some unqualified notion of misogyny, but is determined by a complex combination of internal and external influences.
The questions I posed over a year ago about the prospects for gender justice and equality  in successor regimes in the wake of the “Arab spring” are receiving increasingly disquieting answers.
A battle for the soul of the Arab spring developed almost immediately after the events on the Arab streets. There was talk of the “Turkish model”  on the part of those who hoped for a cohabitation between multi-party democracy, a neoliberal market economy and Islamic conservatism, despite the evident flaws of this proposition. Iran jumped on the bandwagon appropriating  the events as a continuation of the
1979 revolution (and what they subsequently dubbed the Islamic
Awakening) only to be rebuffed by the new Arab leaderships, critiqued internally by its own democratic opposition and met with disquiet over its alliance with the Syrian regime. The Gulf states and Saudi Arabia in particular strove to avoid contagion by adopting policies of containment at home and co-optation abroad  by backing salafi parties and tendencies whilst posing as champions of regime change in Syria (thus raising the spectre of sectarian conflicts trumping legitimate popular democratic demands).
Mutilating bodies: the Muslim Brotherhood’s gift to Egyptian women Published on openDemocracy (http://www.opendemocracy.net) Mariz Tadros  , 24 May 2012
In Egypt the Muslim Brotherhood have offered to circumcise women for a nominal fee as part of their community services, a move that threatens to reverse decades of local struggle against the harmful practice argues Mariz Tadros
Voting in the Egyptian presidential election is underway and what better way to win over votes of the poor than through offering badly needed low cost services and free goods. The Muslim Brotherhood, who have a track record in community outreach through services and goods, have added a new service for Egyptians: circumcising girls for a nominal fee. The practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision as it is popularly called, involves the removal of the clitoris and part of the labia minora under the pretext  that this will protect a girl’s chastity. FGM, although practiced for thousands of years, has been on the decline in the past decade thanks to a socially sensitive and nationwide campaign to show that FGM is neither religiously prescribed, nor linked to a woman’s moral behaviour. Thanks to the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis, the progress made in eliciting positive social change on curbing the practice now risks being reversed.