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Egyptian women want democracy, not "ballotocracy"

by Global Fund for Women | Global Fund for Women
Monday, 8 July 2013 17:46 GMT

* Any views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.


Reporting from Egypt: Hoda Elsadda, Global Fund for Women board member and Vice President of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, emailed us to say that international media is missing the point. Demanding the resignation of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t the end of democracy in Egypt, rather it is democracy in action:

"[The international media’s] insistence on repeating the Muslim Brotherhood mantra that the ouster of the first democratically elected president is the end of democracy is a gross abuse of the essential meaning of democracy and a reflection of the trivialization of democratic processes by reducing them to electoral politics only.

If this is the situation of democracy in the U.S. then you are well advised to take a step back and learn from Egypt. Egyptians refuse the definition of democracy as elections only (one brilliant Egyptian coined the term 'ballotocracy' to describe this abuse of the concept).  

Mohamed Morsi has impeached himself by violating the contract made between him and the people who elected him. And just as a reminder, Hitler was also a democratically elected president who cost millions of lives and a world war. Well, we Egyptians want to get rid of Morsi and his clan right here and now and save the world and ourselves more bloodshed and agony.

A final word to the American administration: please, please, stop supporting dictators."

Documenting Sexual Violence and Gang Rape

As Egypt rejects “ballotocracy” in Tahrir Square, getting to this point was fraught with violence. Women have documented at least 101 cases of sexual violence in six days, according to Global Fund for Women grantee partner Nazra for Feminist Studies.

Unfortunately, sexual violence and rape during times of conflict is not news for Global Fund for Women and our grantee partners. Fortunately, with social media, women’s organizations are documenting sexual violence in real time. Nazra for Feminist Studies has been instrumental in promoting anti-violence hotlines like Operation Anti Sexual Harassment and other support services for women being raped in the streets.

A Movement Demanding Democracy

During the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the impact of 20+ years of vital core support from Global Fund for Women played out in a big way. It helped build strong networks of women’s rights activists in the Middle East and North Africa, enabling women like Hoda and Mozn Hassan to mobilize quickly and lead during turbulent times. Today, these are the networks demanding democracy in their country today and standing against rape and violence as an intimidation tactic.