While we’ve been witnessing Arab countries like Tunisia, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia spark protests and even revolutions for the sake of freedom and human rights, Egypt, on the other hand, seems to be heading in a different direction.
Yesterday, the 30th of October, Parliament Member Ghada Agamy called for a new law criminalizing the “public taste” of some.
Applying a fine of 500 to 5000 Egyptian pounds on those who distort the public taste with ‘inappropriate’ clothing or behaviors.
In other words, those who dare wear “revealing clothes” or speak certain words or phrases will be forced by the law to pay the fine or even double it, in case of repeating the same behavior within a year.
The news came to us as a shock. Especially given Egypt’s status in the Middle East, and also given the region’s waves of rebellion against outdated norms, traditions and social and political fascism.
What’s even more shocking is why such proposition was presented at the Parliament and at such critical time. What could it possibly mean and for what agenda?
Coming from a Parliament member, in this case Ghada Agamay, who had many other outbursts over the years, makes us question whether we are being misrepresented by our own elected representatives!
More importantly, will this law be applied to men equally as it will be, to women? Or is it just another tool to hold back and restraint Egyptian females?
We wonder if it’s okay, in 2019, to control what we get to wear or speak in public. Of course, we are not advocating for indecency by any means. But rather, questioning the limits of trespassing all over our basic human rights!
Is this really the right message Egypt ought to be sending out to the world right now? Instead of making efforts to intensify laws for public harassment and abuse, we, in a counter intuitive manner, are thinking of more ways to control women.
We do appreciate all the efforts, already on ground for combating harassment. HOWEVER, won’t this law be justifying it further?
After all, if a girl is considered a criminal in the eyes of the law for wearing “revealing clothes” or even publicly cursing; wouldn’t it be okay then (according to this law) to harass her?
Laws aside, it is just unfortunate to have such ideas presented at the Egyptian parliament in the first place. Let alone, being proposed by a woman!