On 24 May 1919, an unidentified photographer shot a scene in which a woman with her face veiled addressed a group of Egyptians at a protest against British colonizers amid a nascent rebellion. The original caption of the photo exalts what was then considered a remarkable act. “Cairo women addressing a crowd in one of the principal streets of the Egyptian City,” the caption reads, referring to the other women accompanying her. “The speaker is urging greater patriotism and loyalty to their land. During her speech she cried for cheer for her land, for liberty and President Wilson. This is the first time in history that Egyptian women have been permitted freedom of speech in public. Their appearance in the thoroughfare quickly caused a great crowd to gather.”
It is up to historians and scholars to trace whether this was indeed the first time in history an Egyptian woman freely addressed a crowd in the street, but what’s uncontested is that this was a pivotal moment.
The 1919 revolt was an early and notable point in history that showcased Egyptians’ unity toward a collective aim, namely to overthrow the British occupation. Remembering this moment and revisiting what it has produced in terms of socio-political and cultural transformations, and what role women played, is especially relevant at a time when Egyptians are fixated on another historic revolution that toppled the authoritarian rule of Hosni Mubarak.
For more, please see this: http://www.egyptindependent.com/node/701501