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jeudi 20 août 2015
Egyptian doctor living in Zurich produces educational videos about health and sexuality for the Arab world
DANS LA MEME RUBRIQUE
Burkini Is a Feminist Issue Too
The notion that it’s ok for disabled men to pay for sex is rooted in misogyny and ableism
Amnesty International and Prostitution : Not in Our Name !
Open letter to rabble.ca - Support Meghan Murphy suffered a misogynist campaign by the sex industry lobby
"Insectual - The Secret of the Black Butterfly", by Barbara Sala
Canada’s New Sex Trade Law
Sharia Law, Apostasy and Secularism
“Harm reduction” is not enough to appropriately analyze prostitution
True Progressives Encourage Women’s Equality, Not Their Prostitution
Sexual mutilations outside Africa : new report and new denial except the Iraqi case
FGM slowing down ? The UN asserts it, the Indonesian case contradicts it
Prostitution, STRASS and the senator - When opacity becomes relevant
Is equating prostitution and rape ‘intolerable violence’ ? Really ?
Obama, Madonna and us
After Ontario Courts rule on Bedford : a rant
Comparing Sex Buyers and Non-Sex Buyers July 2011 (Boston)
Sex resistance in heterosexual arrangements
Abolitionists of the prostitution system : who we are, what we want !
Women Living Under Muslim Laws Statement on Libya
Prostitution is a Threat to Humanity
Prostitution - Call for Australia’s prostitution laws to be tightened
Violence - An Open Letter from Black Women to SlutWalk Organizers
Nothing that is sexual can be considered criminal : hidden sexual violence in the DSK case
The Truth about Global Sex Slavery – A Book by Lydia Cacho
Why reproductive rights and prostitution are not the same thing : A response to one decriminalization argument
Prostitution - The abolitionist project within the conference Women’s Worlds 2011
Montreal - The Turcotte jury got it wrong
Reasons I Will Not Go On the Slutwalk
International Sex Industries and their Accomplices Hamper the Autonomy of All Women
Ten Critical Reasons for getting rid of Harper’s Conservatives
Real solidarity with prostituted women is in the fight for abolition of prostitution
Decriminalize prostituted persons and criminalize those who exploit them (‘johns’ and pimps)
Polygamy in Canada Should Remain Illegal
My fears of the push for indoors prostitution
We cannot be satisfied with the simple harm-reduction model
The Native Women’s Association of Canada is Worried About Himel’s Judgement on Prostitution
Ontario Court Decision Abandons Aboriginal Women and Women of Colour to Pimps
Response to the VPD review in the cases of the Pickton Murders
Speech - The effects of globalization of political Islam on Women’s Rights, the question with polygamy, the Niqab and Honour Killing
Quebec Forges Enlightened Trail on Burkas
Breast Cancer a Disease, No a Marketing Opportunity
The International Campaign To Closedown Iranian Embassies
Violation of rights in Iran, a window from my experience to a broader picture
"Sex worker" ? Never met one !
The One Million Signatures Campaign has been awarded the prestigious Global Women’s Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation
Prostitution - Feminist Perspectives, a book
Prostitution : Violating the Human Rights of Poor Women
More than 1 000 american historians call for equity in the stimulus package in open letter to Obama
Order of Canada Awarded to Dr. Morgentaler - Acts of intimidation should not rule Canada
Femaid report on Afghanistan, May 2008
Time for Quebecers to be more open : Bouchard-Taylor report
Canadian Bar Association supports strengthening equality in the Quebec Charter
Zero Tolerance for Johns : How the Government of Sweden Would Respond to Spitzer
Politicians are responsible for toxic, misogynist environment facing girls
Spitzer - The Myth of the Victimless Crime
Goodbye To All That (#2)
The freedom to never prostitute oneself
NO legalized brothels for the Olympics 2010 - Aboriginal women’s Action Network statement on prostitution
CLES says NO to the violence of prostitution
Does Porn Make the Man ?
A Trip Into the Absurd
Mothers File International Complaint Against United States
Prostitutes are victims, not criminals
Anthology of Québec Women’s Plays in English Translation, Volume I (1966-1986)
The Concertation des luttes contre l’exploitation sexuelle (CLES) intervene during the upcoming provincial election
Prostitution - Three Women and a Debate
Men Favour the Apolitical Discourse on Prostitution
The Whole Truth Must be Told : Sylviane’s testimony on her experience of prostitution
Democracy and Religious Obligations : an Impasse ?
What is liberation ? Feminism past, present and future
Books by Andrea Dworkin
Globalization, Militarism and Sex Trafficking
Muslim Groups Denounce the Cultural Relativism of a Certain Left
Canadian Muslim leader alleges her veil views sparked vandalism
Prostitution : CATW’S Post-World Cup Statement
NOW to denounce so-called parental alienation
Prostitution : for an Abolitionist Bill
The dimensions of trafficking for purposes of prostitution
"Charm is a Guise ; Batterers Belong in Jail, Expert Says"
Interview with Catherine MacKinnon : Are Women Human ?
Danish cartoons - Doing away with the Enlightenment ?
It’s happening next door : from incestuous girls to alienating mothers
Green Light for Pimps and Johns
Buying Sex is not a Sport
Prostitution is Violence Against Women
The Ideal Site for the Crime
Tell me, what does "gender" really mean ?
Gunilla Ekberg : « The best thing we can do for our sisters is to support them to get out of prostitution »
Interview with Catharine A. MacKinnon : « They haven’t crushed me yet. »
Decriminalizing prostitution, a magnet for pimps and johns
Declaration on Religious Arbitration in Family Law
Prostitution : Towards a Canadian policy of abolition
Prostitution inseparable of violence against women
The need for a public debate on prostitution and its social consequences
Prostitution of First Nations Women in Canada
270 000 $ granted to Stella for a four days event on sex work
IN MEMORIAM : Andrea Dworkin or The passion for justice
Decriminalizing prostitution will not improve the security of prostituted women
Dworkin - Taking Back the Night
Backlash and Whiplash : A Critique of Statistics Canada’s 1999 General Social Survey on Victimization
Helping the prostituted women or promoting prostitution ?
The Need for a Public Debate on Prostitution and its Social Consequences
The legalization of prostitution and its impact on trafficking in women and children
Prostitution Links, Women’s Justice Center
"If you don’t take a job as a prostitute, we can stop your benefits"
Sweden Treating Prostitution as Violence Against Women
Forced marriage as crime
Why Women Must Get out of Men’s Laps
International Campaing Against Shari’a Court in Canada
Decriminalize prostituted women, not prostitution
Canada Contributes to the Sexual Trafficking of Women for Purposes of Prostitution
Fathers’ Rights Groups in Australia and their Engagement with Issues in Family Law
Women Rage Against ’Rape’ in Northeast India
Sexual domination in uniform : an american value
Tribunals Will Marginalize Canadian Muslin Women and Increase Privatization of Family Law
The sexual sadism of our culture, in peace and in war
Queer theory and violence against women
The Legalisation of Prostitution : A failed social experiment
Globalization and the Sex Trade : Trafficking and the Commodification of Women and Children
Will Paternal Paranoia Triumph ?
Ode to Survivors
Court confirms any woman’s human right to organize with peers
Program produces motherless kids
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN Labour Organization (ILO) Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part One)
Legitimating Prostitution as Sex Work : UN International Labour Organization Calls for Recognition of the Sex Industry (Part Two)
Elisabeth Badinter distorts feminism the better to fight it
Prostitution : Rights of Women or Right to Women ?
The "Stolen Feminism" Hoax : Anti-Feminist Attack Based on Error-Filled Anecdotes
Hormone Replacement Therapy, the "Magic Bullet" Ricochets
For the sake of the children : the law, domestic violence and children contact in England
Friendships between women good for health
Children of divorce need our protection
Divorce Bill’s flaws inadvertently aid abusers
Problem isn’t little boys, it’s little minds
A report from Status of Women Canada about the discursive denial of gender inequalities
Ten Reasons for Not Legalizing Prostitution
Poem for Peace
Peace Rally Speech of a 12 year old American Girl
Good clone, bad clone ?
Canadian Women’s Health Network
So hard to say goodbye
She makes videos to promote basic knowledge about health and to fight taboos about sexuality. Very popular in the Middle East, she also fights against sharia law on Twitter.
A doctor from Egypt, Alyaa Gad has been living in Europe for about 20 years. She now lives in Zurich. I found about her through an article in Poste de Veille (1). One of her hashtags (2], which translates as “Why we reject implementing sharia”, made the buzz at the end of 2014. But her main activity is much more original : health and sex education via a TV channel on YouTube (3), in Arab and English, focusing on the situation of women.
Alyaa Gad’s medical language transmits humanistic and egalitarian values with more success than an ideological approach would. Her actions and herself are widely known in the Middle-East and her productions attract millions of web visitors.
Getting to know this courageous freelancer was worth a travel. A happy forty-year old, Alyaa gave us a warm welcome. She and her German husband have been living in Switzerland for 5 years. Before that, she lived about 10 years in the Netherlands and Germany. Besides Arabic, she speaks fluent Dutch, English and German, and apologizes for not mastering Swiss-German yet. “When we became parents, we felt like settling in Switzerland for family reasons, and because of the good Swiss education system. In the Netherlands, I was teaching in a nursing school. Here in Zurich, my husband leads a clinic and as a doctor, I work with him.”
At twenty, she already dreamt of setting up education programmes for Egyptian women. “But in the 90s, there was no Internet. During 15 years I tried to involve TV channels, but none was interested.”
If you want a thing done, do it yourself. Five years ago, she created Afham TV (“Afham” : “I understand”). Professional, full of surprises, and very refreshing.
Women want to talk about fashion
She began producing in Arabic, then in English too. “I reckon that 50 % of people working in some rich countries in the Middle East don’t speak Arabic”. Alyaa is supported technically by a team from Zurich, Hildebrand Media. “They loved the idea and were convinced by the 6 million views on one of my videos.”
At the beginning, the viewers were mainly from Egypt, but now more and more are from Saudi Arabia. And strangely enough, 85% are men. “Women don’t get easily interested. I must attract them with subjects like fashion, make-up etc.” And for both the male and the female public, respect Islamic mentality.
This year, on International Women’s Day, she was surprisingly invited by a Saudi channel to speak about women’s rights. “After this programme, I received hundreds of thousands of insulting tweets, most of them from Saudi Arabia… and about twenty praising my action. Women in Arab countries have to face three plagues which are intertwined : poverty, ignorance and disease.”
She has three channels : Afham TV, iUnderstand TV, EWA (English with Alyaa).
The subject “First time sex” got 2.3 million views. “Premature ejaculation”, a lot more. “When I go to Egypt or to Dubai, I realise that many people know me. But they often don’t know what to think about me. On the one hand, they know that I’m very much against sharia, and on the other hand they appreciate the information I give them about their health.”
Masturbation and excision
When she made a programme about women’s masturbation, men reacted with anger. She replied : “Knowing that you are often on travel (many Egyptian men work in a Gulf state), do you prefer that your wife pleasures herself or that she cheats on you with another man ? Think by yourselves. A woman who feels well in her body will have a better sex life, which is in your interest too.”
One of her statements is that Arab men usually find sex education in pornography. A wide majority are addicted to it. “There are sexuality education movies, but they don’t watch them. 99% prefer porn and its delusions : feminine orgasm in 5 seconds etc... Most of the videos they watch show very young white women. Fed by these fantasies, they treat their wives like in those movies. They don’t respect real women. This creates a lot of problems in couples.”
In Egypt, 80 to 90% of women are excised. “My mother was excised. Her sisters had their daughters excised. My mother didn’t, because back then we were living in Kuwait and this is not done over there.” She tackled that subject too on her channel. “I rely on scientific, objective facts ; among other things, I explain the role of clitoris in pleasure. Many women tell me how desperate they are not to feel anything during sex. One of them even committed suicide.”
She is looking for financial support. But international organisations and NGOs focus mainly on political changes (e.g. laws promoting gender equality) and very little on ways to change mentalities. For the time being, her husband is her only sponsor.
In the Arab world, there is great ignorance about health and handicap. For example, one teacher admitted that he had never heard about dyslexia. Alyaa immediately made a programme on the subject. A web user declared it helped him understand what had ruined his whole life. “By giving them information, I try to make people more understanding and more tolerant with difference and handicap. This can save lives. But I can’t go too fast. Mentalities evolve very slowly.”
When she questions certain statements in the Quran in her videos, it is always on a scientific basis. “For example, I have spoken about the development of the embryo. According to the Quran, bones form before flesh. I showed that it is the opposite.”
She finds our societies very naive. “When I arrived in the West, I was rather religious. I had undergone the classical brainwashing against Westerners : people with no morale, no decency, no sense of family... The West is tolerant. It is good in itself, but sometimes one has to stop being tolerant in order to protect oneself. Today, the Netherland are paying for their great tolerance. Some mosques spread ideas like : you must reproduce so that one day we are a majority and we can suppress democracy and introduce sharia law. I think that the Western culture could very well disappear.”
Alyaa considers immigration as necessary, but stands for strict conditions. “You in the West need immigrants because you don’t make enough children. But you must absolutely educate newcomers so that they totally accept the Western mentality.”
To her eyes, the current chaos in Arab countries, characterised by persecution and fratricidal struggles, are due to a mental chaos. “There is a great emotional immaturity in the Middle East. Hatred is directed towards certain group of peoples without any rational reasons. For example between Sunni and Shiite, though people do not even know the differences between the two. There is hatred against all people who are different. This is due to ignorance and poverty.”
She participated in discussions about a famous hashtag in Arabic which translates in “MentalInstitutionMiddleEast “. “We list all the contradictions in the Arab world. What we do is like holding a mirror. Human beings need money and food, but they also need education.”
In this part of the world, the Gulf States own the media and have a very strong influence. “Western people cannot imagine the hatred against them that these media produce. The oil money feeds the wahhabi ideology”.
She is not fond of religious texts. As a child, she was traumatised by the story of Abraham who was ready to kill his son, then by the story of Muhammad marrying little Aisha. ” Later on, I was shocked when I read the texts, for example Bukhari and his hadiths. Moderate Muslims usually don’t know what is written in these founding texts. “
“Think by yourselves !”
In her addresses, Alyaa Gad promotes individual intelligence, gender equality, and tolerance. She does not throw any bombs, but she surely drops bombshells. Her activity on Twitter, where she is followed by tens of thousands, might indicate it. She initiated the sharia hashtag in reply to continual attacks from a certain web surfer “I have become famous thanks to this idiot !” She is also very active on Facebook.
The programmes on Afham TV are conceived to be used by professionals in clinics and in help and care centres. When Alyaa and her team began producing videos in English, they received one million clicks in a few weeks. The subjects covered are numerous : family, personal development, emotion management, health, sexuality. She tackles sexually transmitted diseases, the role of penis size in sexual relationships, addiction to pornography, the G-spot. And the importance of vitamin D, a vitamin produced by exposing one’s skin to sunlight...
1. "Pourquoi mous rejetons l’application de la charia".
Chaîne TV sur Youtube.
Version française parue ici
On ligne in Sisyphe, August 20th, 2015
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