Culture

Nude Photo of Egyptian Blogger Shocks Conservative Country

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cairo- (PanOrient News) An Egyptian activist and blogger, Alia al Mihdi, sent shock waves across her conservative Muslim country by posting totally nude photos of herself on her blog "to protest against the oppression and the confiscation of the freedom of expression especially against women."

Under the title "The Diary of a Rebellious Girl," the 20 year old American University student justified her nude posting by saying “I am just enjoying my right of expression that can't be denied by those full of sexual complexes...”

"Before you judge me for posting these photos, you should rather judge the nude models who pose for the students at the academy of Arts in Cairo University," the atheist taboo breaker said.

In a society known to be conservative Muslim, and where most woman have to cover their hair and body, it was no surprise that immediately after her posting, angry comments and condemnation of her actions and even calls to kill her appeared in thousands of blogs and on Face Book pages.

While some people supported her, the bulk of reactions bombarded Alia with viciousness. "She is merely a prostitute," Mad", Crazy, "stupid, seeking cheap fame, in need of urgent mental treatment, a devil, are some of the comments heard all over Egypt in the last few days in a case that has shocked and shaken the nation.

In her postings, Alia attacked the religious people who "threaten the country and are taking it back to the stone ages. "Real freedom is to do what I want to do not what is allowed to do, as long as I don't abuse others' freedom. She also expressed objection to mention of a person’s Religion in the ID details of citizens in Egypt.

She complained in her postings that, as a girl she was raised not as equal to her brother who although younger, is given a higher level by society just because he is a male. She wrote that when she got the highest marks in class in primary school, the boys were reprimanded, "What a shame a girl got a head of you."

Alia al Mihdi is a Media faculty student of the American university in Cairo, and was known to defend the prisoners of conscience. She had posted photos of herself drinking beer and the caption "Beer is very tasty in Ramadan" is an apparent challenge to the Muslim practice of fasting in the period of Ramadan, a month when Muslims refrain from eating or drinking. She also challenged the ban on alcohol by Muslims.

Alia made it clear that she puts a line between porno photography, and the photos that show the art of the human body. She added a photo of her boyfriend naked alongside her own naked photo but a critic noted that the bulk of condemnation targeted her not him.

"She could have chosen something a little less confrontive although am not sure what - She does sound as though she is very angry and of course she has every right to be so. Very, very brave," a supportive comment said.

This controversy or scandal couldn't come at a better or worse time for Egypt, depending on who you are.

A writer said ”we, Egyptians have just made a successful first step of the revolution by removing the former Mubarak regime, and now we are at a crucial time to build a new political system, the main competition between the conservative religious Muslim Brothers, and the moderate secular forces. Alia' nude postings have just damaged the second movement and people are now saying that freedom means abusing our traditions and religious teachings."

Some religious candidates of the Muslim brothers reportedly took advantage of the nude photos' posting by Alia saying "Had we had a true Islamic rule, we wouldn't have such posting by such a prostitute."

Others of the secular group expressed concern that with such extreme liberal expression, the generally conservative middle of the road voters, would now damage the moderate movement against the extremes.

Some commentators mentioned that her action is a reminder of a similar move by activist Huda Sharawi, who in 1919, in public, removed her head cover (veil, or Hijab in Arabic) and burned it in protest against the demand that women should cover up.

The debate over whether a Muslim woman should or should not cover her head, let alone her body, has been ignited again, says a scholar. Alia's nude photo has put to the test the issue of personal freedom and to what limits a person can go in the new Egypt.

Observers agree that Alia nude photos will certainly add an unexpected burden to the huge load of problems facing the over 80 Million Egyptians about to elect a new free government after decades of a dictatorship.

Photo: Alia Mihdi nude photo

PanOrient News


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