CAMPUS MAGAZINE: Hey you – yes you!

Date posted: August 1, 2008


Hey you …
Yes you …
My dear reader …
Please do not get offended …
Please forgive me for what I am about to say …
I am writing this article because of you …
I am mad at you …
Sitting there flipping though the pages of this magazine …
Why do I always see you defeated in my dreams?
Why do you always come to me on mute?
Why do you always move in slow motion?
I am so angry at you for watching in silence as the world goes by.

I dreamt that you were checked into a hospital and in my dream you had neither power to talk nor strength to walk. You could see, hear, and feel everything but you had no voice … you could not say no to what they were going to do to you. On that bed you lay and there comes the pious doctor with his blade … I could see you trying to resist … trying to say that this procedure was against your will and beliefs … you were trying to break free … but yes you had no voice. In a minute of eternity, colored in shades of pain, tears, and silent screams, you were cut … your womanhood was mutilated forever. May you rest in peace! Hey you … yes you … How have you supported incriminating the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) whereby the parents as well as the doctors should get punished?

I woke up and I saw you as a kid being beaten and abused. With his belt he whipped you and I knew. Cigarette burns tattooed your young skin and I knew. You were too young and too small to resist and I did not know what to do. You were bleeding. I saw the bruises. You were in pain and I only had words to console you. You grew up and the bruises faded away leaving internal injuries and deep self esteem scars allover you. I wish I had stopped it. I wish I could have reported it. Hey you … yes you … What have you done to support these children? How did you endorse the law that considered the severe beating of a child by his/her parents a violation against this child's rights?

I took a walk in the street and watched your wedding. What a lovely bride you were; so young and innocent. How old are you? 16? Oh my dear child you are still in school. You dropped out of school? You will not go to university? You will not get a degree? You will stay home and serve your husband and kids like a dutiful little wife? How old are you again? 16? What do you know honey about marriage? Do you love him? Do you know him? Who is that stranger you are submitting your future to? How old is he? What's his name? Oh yes … you don't know. I wish I could save you. I guess you will never know how it feels to be independent! Hey you … yes you … did you know that they were trying to raise the age of marriage for females to 18? Did you give them a hand?
What's your name I asked? He said M. I asked for a last name and he said he had none. He does not have an ID, he has no birth certificate, he has no official presence, and he has no past, no present, and no future. He has a mother who abandoned him and a father who denied him. He has me and I could not do anything for him. I gave my voice to those who wanted to give a mother the right to register her child under her name in the case of giving birth to a child outside of wedlock. But you … yes you … Where were you when I needed your voice the most? Where were you when this boy ended his miserable life?

Hey you … yes you … How would you react if you saw three young girls who were no older than eight years of innocent age holding signs calling for legalizing FGM? You were silent when "he" dragged his three little girls and his mother to the People's Assembly Street where they demonstrated silently against the new children's law. The kids came all the way from Upper Egypt and took their positions in the demonstration as a statement on behalf of Egyptian girls who are against the anti-FGM law while "they" voted against this law because they claimed it to be another western attempt to corrupt our customs and belief system that is inspired by Islam and Sunnah – a religion that pleads for virtue and preaches against profanity. In the name of chastity and virtue, the above laws were all voted against; more FGM; more child abuse; more girls sold in slavery; more abandoned kids on the streets. We lose … they win!

Hey you … yes you … let me tell you what our sons and daughters learn in school. The little girls and boys are given a card with two lollipops on the front; one is covered with cellophane and the other one is covered with flies. Underneath the image, the text reads: You won't be able to stop them, but you can protect yourself. He who created you knows what's best for you! Our girls are taught that men are flies and that if they wanted to be protected from the nasty flies they just have to cover up. What happened to those classes where they taught boys to respect girls and to protect them? What happened to those classes that preached all the skin-deep stuff? Will you please speak up now?

Today, women's rights organizations are calling for restricting polygamy, canceling divorce in absentia and granting custom-married women equal rights as regular wives. Will you have a voice or will you turn the page and forget you have ever read this?

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