• Women
  • March 29, 2006
  • 12 minutes read

The year 2005 was not so pleasant in general for women in Egypt

The year 2005 was not so pleasant in general for women in Egypt, as they could not achieve, throughout the year’s twelve-month period, that notable successes that could be respectfully considered or highly appreciated. They could not either be able to reach remarkable accomplishments that could give them a sense of pride or contentment.

At about the end of the year, they had mixed feelings of failure, angry and depression as they kept in mind the fact that they had not had woman stars, during the ended year, except for those bad examples involved in sexual bribes that mainly helped them reach higher positions unattainable without going through such mean ways.

Meanwhile, there was a number of brave women who fought in different fields in Egypt; those were the women who decidedly faced people of power and domination. One of these brave women loomed in the horizon of the Egyptian society all of a sudden with her bright and full-of-content face that was mixed, meanwhile, with pride, glory and sadness.  She was the judge star Noha Al-Zeiny, a woman who belongs to the administrative prosecution authority that was approved as a body of the judicial authority just after a decree issued by the constitutional court. 

Al-Zeiny was one of the judges who were in charge of supervising the elections in El-Damanhour constituency, where there was an extremely vehement rivalry between two contestants: the National Democratic Party’s candidate, Dr. Mustafa Al-Fiqy, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Dr. Gamal Heshmat.

Having witnessed the vote counting process almost till the end, El-Zeniy clearly and boldly revealed to the press and mass media that the results of elections had been rigged and falsified in favor of the NDP candidate Mustafa Al-Fiqy.

It was a real risk that seemed to have been of negative and devastative consequences against her career. However, the faithful judge had no fears to face Dr. Al-Fiqy’s political or intellectual power, nether did she have fears to powerfully face people of a stable attitude that prevents judges from talking to the media and the press. She clearly perceived the extent of the problem that she would face if she insisted on publicly revealing her witness.

Leading almost all her life away from the media lights and world of fame, she did not hesitate to reveal her testimony and let all people get to know the truth.

Al-Zeiny started her life in a widely known judicial family. Her father was the Counselor Othman Al-Zeiny, a former vice president of the Court of Cassation. This man was well-known for his respect, virtues and praiseworthy morals.

Noha Al-Zeiny was brought up in such a healthy atmosphere that helped her, before joining faculty of laws, perceive that no hope for her to follow in her father’s footsteps except through joining the administrative prosecution authority as the only door open for women so far to join the judiciary body. While There are some people who still think that women are too weak to take over the duties of judgeship, the door to the judicial platform has been suspended so far before women too.

Noha El-zeiny has proved that she is more courageous than many men,  more capable of confrontation and more insistent on revealing justice and defending oppressed men. She gave an example of bravery that we did not properly consider.

In the world of judiciary, maintaining justice is the essence, the end and the hope. To go to bed with peace of mind, as you have not oppressed anybody, and to feel satisfied, as justice has prevailed at your hand,  is really the true feeling of happiness that one could attain through justice. This kind of justice, which does not seek to please people of power and hegemony, is what we should all pursue. It is the kind of justice that only follows the rules and laws without bias or prejudice, and that relies mainly on the judges’ conscience.

When the judge Noha Al-Zeiny unveiled her testimony and her straight stand, and when I learnt that she belonged to the administrative prosecution, I felt quite ashamed of my stance that had been opposed to the participation of members of this authority in supervising the electoral process. The judge Al-Zeiny taught me a moral that people’s stances are not necessarily controlled by their jobs and positions.

 I also felt pleased that Al-Zeiny had destroyed the myth that raises the motto ” It is not easy to say “no” to people of power and hegemony”.

Once again, we are facing a society whose people of corruption adore living  in darkness, where every thing is allowed and obtainable as long as it is away from the media lights.

Sometimes, the idea of not publishing such issues is usually ignored in regard to the fact that it deprives the society form its essential  right to know the truth; to know what is going on in our society. This right is also a constitutional one that helps us take part in issuing the laws through which we are ruled and judge the laws that affect our everyday lives.

As a matter of fact, publishing is the only way ,in most cases, through which people can get their rights and stop corruptions.

The year 2005 also witnessed a rise of another brave woman at about the end of  the parliamentary term, namely The economist Dr. Fa’iqa Al-Refa’y who did not fear to reveal her opposing  stances to the ruling party in spite of  belonging to and being appointed by this very ruling party. 

Even though she represented the ruling NDP, she had never played the hypocrite. she valiantly revealed her stances and carried out her parliamentary duties in a rare example of neutrality not usually seen today.

Dr. Al-Refa’y put forth all her considerable economic expertise and know-how for the interest of  the whole homeland; not for just adorning the face of the NPD.

Having shown striking similarities to Noha Al-Zeiny, Dr. Al-Refa’y was asked not to cause an embarrassment to the NDP and not to show up before the press and mass media to reveal her economic fears that the regime might have suffered.

So, I was not surprised to know that the list of the newly recruited members of parliament had not included the name of  Dr. Al-Refa’y, but my surprise, that was mixed with pleasure then, emerged when I knew that the very list included the previous member of parliament Dr. Jorjet Qleeny, the commercial law expert. She is a brilliant expert in commercial law in particular and in economical and general law at large.

What really seemed strange was that The NDP did not nominate Dr. Qleeny for any parliamentary committee, a move that prompted  some MPs to ask her during the first session of the economic committee which she joined later,  for a response to that inattention by the NDP. So, she replied  in confidence that a true MP was not in need to a particular parliamentary post to carry out their duties asserting that she herself did not need any other powers to support her stances. 

Dr Qleeny is that kind of woman who can daringly raise important issues and face the anger of people of power who do not care much about the existence of mistakes but do concern greatly with publishing and revealing that mistakes, be it through requests or questions to the parliament or any other authority.

Another brilliant woman who resourcefully made use of the power of the press and mass media shone at the end of the year 2005, namely the
MP Gamalat Rafi’, who could easily defeat the candidates of both the Muslim brotherhood and the NDP. Surprisingly, She could achieve that success with only L.E 20,000.

Mrs. Gamalat resorted first to the press, mass media and finally to people’s assembly in order to defend  her right and that of her colleagues to stable livelihood and future. She did so by means of  resisting the suspicious deal of selling the big national company of “Qaha” where they all worked.

She never gave in to the deal documents or feared the power of the government or any other threats, therefore she succeeded in reaching the doors of the press and people’s assembly and making her case a national one that caused an astounding  governmental scandal. She strived a lot, went to police stations, prosecution and courts and could forcefully stop selling the company.

She sometimes seemed losing her case, but her zealousness and hardness confirmed her success. Some ministers then ridiculed her and depicted her as the one who wanted to stand in the face of the rapid train of privatization. Although I felt concerned about her, I was also sure of her success in the parliamentary elections as she could firmly carve her name in the minds and hearts of the people of her constituency to the extent that no other candidate, be a Muslim Brotherhood candidate or another, could defeat her.

This veteran fighter could, with just twenty thousand Egyptian pounds, have nearly 24,000 votes, surpassing the Muslim Brotherhood candidate with 8,000 votes. She did not need to buy such votes as she was the very woman who rejected a big bribe to fully give up the Qaha company issue, so it was a natural result for her people to reject bribes and buying votes.

When I met her, she reminded me of the story of the former head of the PA economic committee who offered her the bribe calling her to give in. He told her that the one who used workers as a cover (of power) is merely a loser. He also said that they surely would be at her service to find her a new place if she feared the company might be closed telling her there were a thousand of companies to choose from. But she gallantly refused the offer.

Another similar story that brightly brushed the picture of the year 2005 was of the municipal engineer Mrs. Manal, of  Giza southern province, who refused to sell her conscience for two million Egyptian pounds.

Mrs. Manal gave us a new hope at the end of the year, and gave us a chance to perceive that  there is what is worth living on this earth. She is an unbendable woman who courageously refused a 1,000,000.8 luxurious apartment in one of the most high-standard cities in Egypt. In addition, she did not passively refused the bribe, but she insistently faced the dishonorable people and opted for the administrative censorship authority to catch them red-handed with sound and picture.

When my colleague Samah Abdul-Mu’ty met the engineer Manal the latter seemed very surprised from the kindness and gratefulness of the former, while Manal felt that she only did her duty.

Mrs. Manal was not so surprised at receiving an official honoring from the local development minister, but she was more pleased as she had brought forth happiness to her mother’s heart. She was keen then to mention the words of her mother: “ May the Lord bless us with you as you delight our hearts”. In fact, The Lord has granted us all with the engineer Manal who belongs to the world of municipality, that is the world that was once described by the famous MP Zakaria Azmy as saying: “Corruption has filled this world to the top” .
It’s true that corruption has been prevalent in Egypt’s world of municipality, but it’s also true that women like Mrs. Manal and many others are always there in this very world and everywhere else in Egypt.

while I was following up her story, I hoped that it had been also read by all responsible officials throughout Egypt, especially those who usually hasten to condemn lay employees and treat them as small thieves that should be done away with. I was hopeful then that we could stop scorning and rebuking those simple fighters who live under hard circumstances like this brave engineer. 

Mrs. Manal lives with her family in a two-room apartment with a small living room. However, it’s the home where she has been brought up and where values and morals have been purely instilled within her.
Such values brought forth her bravery that she urgently needed at such a time of necessity. This brave Engineer did not fear knives or gas cylinders ready to go off at any time.

She is really one of those great women who illuminated the year 2005 and gave us new hopes for the future.