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Removing the Mubarak name from public places

Egypt is gradually entering the post-Mubarak era. Yesterday I photographed this route map on a Cairo subway: the name of Mubarak Station had been scratched out, and someone had scrawled over it the word “martyrs” in green ink.

A Cairo metro route map, with the station named "Mubarak" scratched out

Since the January 25 revolution, this type of defacement has been a common sight in Cairo public places that were named for the deposed president and his family. Now it will be official: A Cairo court ruled today that the name of Hosni Mubarak and his wife, Suzanne, must be removed from all public places.

By the way, I took the photo of the subway route map while riding in a carriage reserved for women only. In general, sexual harassment in Egypt is annoying and a bit oppressive, but not nearly as bad as I had expected – and certainly no worse than the harassment I experienced while traveling in India, where I used to travel in the “ladies’ compartment” during long inter-urban train journeys.

It’s remarkably relaxing to travel in a women-only compartment.

Cairo metro carriage reserved for women only

If you enjoyed this article and my previous report, about striking Egyptian factory workers who are not feeling any benefits from the revolution, and you would like to make a payment toward reader-sustained freelance journalism, please click here. You will be taken to my old blog, where I have cross-posted this article. Scroll to the bottom of the post and click on the yellow ‘donate’ button.

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    1. Ben Israel

      I just saw in the news that one of the crimes Mubarak and others are being investigated for is the natural gas deal with Israel

      Regarding the gender-segregated subway cars in Israel, I find it interesting that “progressives” in Israel oppose proposals to have gender-segregated seating on public buses in Israel.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Ben Israel:

      1) Gamal Mubarak is being investigated for the gas deal because he is suspected of having stolen the revenues;

      2) Gender-separated seating on public buses in Israel is imposed upon women by men. The purpose of having a women-only compartment in the Cairo subway is to protect women from men. The rest of the compartments are mixed gender, so women can choose how they wish to travel. The religiously imposed gender separation on Israeli buses is immoral; the fact that the Cairo subway has a women-only compartment is a sad necessity.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Ben Israel

      This article from Ha’aretz indicates that the investigation deals with more than just certain Egyptian gas people from pocketing the proceeds from the gas deals, but the very terms of the agreement are viewed as being “unfair”. Does this mean Egyptians don’t view agreements made in their name by previous governments aren’t necessarily binding in their eyes? (I am of course alluding to the agreements with Israel limiting Egyptian military forces in the Sinai and the such).

      Regarding gender-separation on Israeli buses, I have no doubt as many religious women want the separation as much as the religious men so I don’t think it can be clearly stated that the religious men “forced” the issue, any more than in Egypt.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ben Israel, on the Cairo subway women can choose between mixed and single gender compartments on the same subway train. In Israel, a woman boarding a bus with separate seating does not have the option of choosing to sit with women only or with men and women. That is the essential difference.

      The gas deal is not relevant to this post. If you are interested in the subject then, as a courtesy, I can refer you to an informative two-part article on the subject:

      Part 1) http://www.travellerwithin.com/2009/08/new-egypt-israel-gas-deal-what-we-need.html

      Part 2) http://www.travellerwithin.com/2009/08/egypt-israel-gas-deal-who-is-behind-it.html

      Reply to Comment

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