Before I left London, I went to see In The Shadow Of A Man at the Mosaic Rooms, the Qatar Foundation’s establishment in London. I would recommend that you buy it, watch it, and share it with all your friends. This is an enlightening expose of what life is like for women in both urban and rural Egypt; of their experiences, their needs and desires, the oppression they suffer, and the different ways they are acting for change. Some points from the film that have especially stayed with me:
- The comment from a leading female Egyptian farmers’ rights activist that ‘women’s problems are Egypt’s problems; we cannot emancipate women until we emancipate the people’.
- The voracious debate, in a fabric shop, between a woman regurgitating prevailing patriarchal discourse about women in politics (they won’t be able to devote time to politics because of the distraction of their children!), and another women educating and liberating her from these views; their friendliness and sisterhood towards each other; their respect for each other.
- Powerful shots of women leading chants and marches in the 2011 revolution that toppled Mubarak.