Formerly, "This is Africa/fyeahAfrica".
(Profile Photo by Mama Casset)
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A LITTLE ABOUT ME:
Based in Cape Town, South Africa
From Lagos, Nigeria
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(since Oct. 21th 2012)
I don’t like filling my blog with text posts but as a tunisian female I think it’s important to make my voice clear amongst all these femen discussions. As much as I appreciate muslim women (and some non-muslims) of all backgrounds giving their well-articulated two cents on the Amina ‘Tyler’ scandal (not sure why she needed a white alias but that just says it all), when it comes to actually focusing upon femen or amina in relation to Tunisia many seem to choke up and disassociate Tunisia from your points and pass it off as a country that is also culturally misunderstood. Please, you should really educate yourselves and understand that the premise behind Amina’s actions is one that is incredibly ambiguous. We are in the midst of a slow yet significant change in Tunisia post the fall of Ben Ali in Jan 2011 aka huge reform from an oppressive regime, aka a bored middle class Tunisian girl getting in touch with her franco-social humanitarianism is the last thing we care to pay attention to.
Since the fall of Ben Ali, franco-secularism (um the colonial term for forced liberation) saw many fear-mongering Tunisian secularists igniting a “moral”panic on the future of women’s rights in Tunisia due to the FIRST DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED PARTY being an Islamist party (Ennahda).
Our colonial legacy has a tumultuous history, we have been colonised since 1881 and although we gained official independence in 1956, we have not yet emancipated our minds from colonial imposition. Which brings me on to my point, that when discrediting the sentiments of femen and general euro-feminist or euro-missionary rhetoric in relation to Amina or Tunisia, why don’t you ask them why no one protested; when up until 2 years ago women were having their hijabs pulled viciously off their heads by male police and subsequently arrested, contracts signed not to wear them again, handing their headscarves in a labeled box at the front of the school gates before class, told to stop wearing the sefsari (a CULTURAL not religious dress worn by tunisians which was depicted by Bourguiba and the french as an obstacle to modernisation and imposed that tunisian women should be wearing jeans instead), any amazigh or amazigh sounding surnames were not allowed to be registered, observance of ramadan was discouraged and banned, illegal to wear a hijab on passport photos, ID cards must be present when praying at a mosque…I mean these are just some of the many oppressive acts that were forced upon us.
Now to the specific issue of women’s rights (in the western context), in Tunisia abortion is not just legal, it is socially accepted…can the same be said for some states in America both socially and legally?
Post-ben ali, around 45% of Members of Parliament in Tunisia are women (both conservative and secular), in comparison to 22% in the UK and 17% in the US (senators)…
When Amina’s actions had reached the media (after ages by the way since it started off as a random photo uploaded on her facebook to which 10 days later a man with no legitimacy made a youtube video in distaste of her nudity), the first to speak of the issue was the tunisian *islamist* government who vowed ‘to protect her’ against any “threat” to her physical well-being.
Ennahda have stated that they will never take away any progressive laws that Tunisian women have become accustomed to. Yes feminists, thats right, divorce laws are still the same, polygamy is not ‘coming back’ (even though I’m really not sure where they think it’s returning from?), women will be protected whether they’re in a bikini or a hijab, women can pass down their surnames to their children, women can pass down their nationality to their children (which I’m pretty sure is unheard of in any arab/north african country), abortion as stated before will always be legal….Nothing is taboo in tunisia, nothing is frowned upon, from the issues of domestic abuse to the role of education.
…Finally my white femen-ist sisters, use your brain, not your tits.