If you think that you have just one life, think again. There's the life you think you have, the life others think you have and the life you really have- three lives!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I'm Baaaaaack

I've been away in Canberra for a conference and had no access to the internet. Australia is so badly set up for wi-fi. When I was in Cairo recently, everthing was wi-fied- even the McDonald's restaurants. Australia is nowhere near that. I can't even get wi-fi from my home!
It's quite a contradiction, Egypt. A developing country in socio-economic terms, a shaab that seems to have embraced the Islamist message and is becoming increasingly sectarian along the fault lines of religion, a heady mix of anciently old and garishly new, of traditional and modern, of oppression and liberty. I believe there is no other place like it on Earth. It's beautiful but also confusing, frustrating and, at times, downright disheartening. Where is Egypt heading? Where does she want to go? What will become of her?

Next week I'm off to Sydney for a few days. I'll be presenting at a symposium there on the Hijab. Of course I will do my usual critique of the Western feminist take on the Hijab which has reduced it to an artificial symbol and has sought to maintain a status of defiant feminism through a masculinist discourse. But I cannot now, especially after visiting Egypt, talk about the Hijab without questioning how it has become a visual weapon in the war for Muslim minds. How Muslim have also reduced it to an artificial symbol to differentiate themselves from the religious minorities in Egypt with whom they once shared a deep and treasured bond.

I don't think that some of the people at this symposium will like what I have to say- especially those women who truly do wear the Hijab for religious purposes. But they will just have to put up with me I'm afraid.

Anyway- I'll let you know how it goes!


Anonymous said...

Good luck with that :)

The Usual Suspect said...

Thanks Raccoon
Am thickening my skin in preparation!