Egyptian life: On TV, in a veil
|Egyptian television presenter Ghada El Tawil was allowed back on air last week after a six-year absence, in which she won the legal right to wear an Islamic headscarf, known as hijab, on screen. She tells BBC News about her fight.
Ghada can wear what she likes on screen as long as it is doesn’t look ‘strange’
I have waited six years for this moment – to present television wearing my hijab.
I only started wearing it in 2002. The rule is, when a girl gets her first period, she has to cover her hair. I didn’t – but sometimes you don’t do many things you should.
But as the years passed, I began to feel I wanted to do what God wanted. I struggled for about a year, before deciding to wear it.
More and more women are wearing the hijab, especially here. Only one or two in 10 Alexandrian women are not covered, so I was part of a wider movement of change. But I don’t think I was aware of that at the time.
Cairo is different, because it is such a big, cosmopolitan city.
Anyway, when I put the hijab on in February 2002, I was banned from being on screen.
There have been many cases like this – female presenters losing their jobs when they want to wear the hijab on air. A colleague, Hala el-Malki and I were the first to take it to court.
We got two rulings in our favour, the most recent in July 2005. It said we could wear what we liked on screen so long as it wasn’t ‘strange’. It’s taken until now for our employers [Alexandria’s Channel 5, a state channel] to apply it.
There are now five of us wearing the hijab on screen.
I don’t know for sure why the management doesn’t like us wearing it. Maybe they thought we belonged to a very religious group, or something. They never gave us a proper reason.
But the reality is, most women here cover their hair. I come from Alexandria and as a presenter, I now reflect and represent my audience more closely than before.
I present a discussion programme focussing on social issues, it’s mainly aimed at women. On my return to the programme last week, so many people congratulated me in live phone calls on air!
However, my employers still haven’t let me return to my other job of reading the English-language news bulletins. I did this job for 12 years before I was stopped – but now they said I needed to pass another test. I refused to take it on principle.
When I covered my hair, I didn’t lose my ability to read the news. I can’t see the point of the ban, can you? To let me do one of my previous jobs, but not the other.
I hope I will win this next case, too.
Category Archives: Africa
Loreal denies digital lightening of Beyonce Knowles …
The wonderful Eyes Over Africa shows aerial photographs by Michael Poliza, taken on an epic helicopter adventure from the north to the south of Africa.
Nile cruise ships, Luxor, Egypt. © Michael Poliza.
A Maasai market scene North-East of Maasai Mara, Kenya. © Michael Poliza.
Grassland plains in Northwest Katavi, Tanzania. © Michael Poliza.
Water meets land in Cabo Delgado, Mozamibique. © Michael Poliza.
Deserted flamingo nests in the red salty patches of the Pans, East of Kubu Island, Botswana. © Michael Poliza.
Wed 11 Jun 2008, 16:27 GMT
By Omar Hassan
DJIBOUTI, June 11 (Reuters) – Djibouti called up retired police and soldiers on Wednesday after a clash with Eritrean troops killed at least two and wounded 21 others on their shared border over looking strategic Red Sea shipping lanes.
Eritrea, without confirming or denying the clashes, dismissed Djibouti’s statements as “anti-Eritrean”.
The first fighting since 1996 between two of Africa’s smallest states broke out on Tuesday, after a nearly two-month standoff. Djibouti hosts French and U.S. military bases and is the main route to the sea for Eritrea’s arch-foe Ethiopia.
Djibouti said the clash began after Eritrean soldiers deserted and the Eritreans fired on them, prompting return fire. A second outbreak followed when Eritrean soldiers demanded their deserters back.
Fighting continued on Wednesday in the Mount Gabla area of northern Djibouti, Djibouti’s Defence Ministry said.
Police officers and soldiers who retired from 2004 to 2008 were ordered to reintegrate with their units, a government statement said.
Mount Gabla, also known as Ras Doumeira, overlooks the strategic Bab al-Mandib straits, which are a major shipping route to and from Europe and the Middle East.
Eritrea’s Foreign Ministry said it would not “get involved in an invitation of squabbles and acts of hostility”.
“(Djibouti) has been making continued futile attempts to drag the government of Eritrea into its concocted animosity,” a statement said.
A Reuters witness at a French hospital in Djibouti said helicopters had ferried in dead and wounded soldiers.
“PICKING A FIGHT”
In mid-April, Djibouti accused Eritrea of digging trenches and building fortifications on the Djiboutian side of the frontier. Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki told Reuters in a recent interview that was a “fabrication”.
“It’s just another case of Eritrea picking a fight and finding itself in a position of hostility towards the main Western players in the region,” said Patrick Smith, editor of the Africa Confidential newsletter.
“Eritrea is sending out a warning to Djibouti in particular saying if it chooses to go with Ethiopia then it’s opening itself up to conflict with Asmara,” he said.
Djibouti’s army says nearly 75 percent of its 11,000 troops are now along its boundary with Eritrea, which is one of Africa’s most militarised states and has more than 200,000 soldiers as part of a mandatory conscription programme.
Djibouti and Eritrea are two of Africa’s smallest nations with populations of 820,000 and 4.7 million respectively.
Djibouti hosts two foreign military bases, including one of France’s biggest overseas contingents and a U.S. counter-terrorism task force of about 2,000 soldiers — many of them elite special forces who work with Ethiopian troops.
Former colonial power France signed a mutual defence pact with Djibouti after independence in 1977.
It is also a vital route for landlocked Ethiopia, which has vowed to protect its shipping access in Djibouti if necessary.
Ethiopia blamed Eritrea for the clash.
“Ethiopia firmly believes that such unwarranted action should be stopped immediately and peaceful and diplomatic solution must be sought for the problem,” Bereket Simon, special adviser to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, told Reuters.
Djibouti has turned itself into a regional shipping hub after massive investment from Dubai.
Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a border war in 1998-2000 that killed 70,000 people, and lingering enmity has fuelled conflict in neighbouring Somalia and in Ethiopia’s Ogaden region. (For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://africa.reuters.com/ ) (Additional reporting by Jack Kimball in Asmara, Tsegaye Tadesse in Addis Ababa; Editing by Bryson Hull and Matthew Tostevin)
As the summer weather creeps in I have a recipe for a smoothie that I think everyone can enjoy! It’s refreshing, but not for those who are afraid of a little spice! It includes cantaloupe, honey, milk, yogurt, and cardamom.
I’m sure most readers of my blog are familiar with heyl (cardomom), for those of you who aren’t it’s a seed that most Arabs, East and North Africans, and South Asians use with tea or coffee and sometimes dessert!
For this smoothie depending on your taste you can grind the cardamom seeds for more impact or just drop in the seeds. Mind you, might get seeds in your drink that way. For someone who has never had cardamom seeds it might be a bit overwhelming.
Blend cantaloupe, cardamom, honey, milk, and yogurt for about 3 minutes and voila you have a tasty treat!
Be sure to take seeds out of the cantaloupe when cut into. And you can save whatever you don’t use in your fridge.
With two presidential candidates so close that the lead between competitors is virtually indeterminable….I had to ask myself what could make the difference between winning over Ohio and not?
I visited this website: http://www.somaliohio.org/ and got substantial information on what just might make a difference.
Ohio is home to over 45,000 Somalis, and 15 percent of these Somalis have become United States citizens. I wonder how many of these citizens are registered to vote, and how many will, indeed vote?
I urge all Somalian and Djiboutian citizens to get out there this season and vote!
Apparently, at an upcoming party in Detroit, they are letting women with light skin in for free. As much as I post and talk about this subject. I really don’t have anything to say about this today. Just thought I’d let everyone see how we are still affected by this everyday.
CLICK HERE TO SEE A FLYER : http://mediatakeout.com/13700/oh_no_they_didnt_detroit_club_lets_light_skinned_women_get_in_for_free.html