Yara Sallam
March 26, 2019

Barah

Barah is a feminist in her thirties. She was one of the founders of a feminist initiative in Upper Egypt, […]

Barah is a feminist in her thirties. She was one of the founders of a feminist initiative in Upper Egypt, where she was born and where she grew up; the initiative was later registered as an organization. Barah graduated from the Faculty of Engineering and has been working in information technology since her graduation until the present moment. She has been involved in the public space since she was a college student at the South Valley University.

“I started being politically involved with the constitutional amendments in 2005. Back then, I joined the student union and we used to publish a weekly magazine which had to be sent first to the security office to be approved. We tried to write indirectly about the amendments and who would benefit from them. The second important station (for me) was in 2010 with the ‘National Association for Change’ and the silent stands that were arranged for Khaled Said. I really broadened my interaction with the public space with the revolution.”

Besides working in research and being involved in other activities, Barah worked on creating websites and databases for the feminist initiative which she helped establish.

“The idea for this initiative started when a group of young women, including myself, asked themselves where they stood in the democratic movement in our city. When we launched the initiative and we started strategic planning, we started to understand what feminism means and what a feminist movement is and where we stand in relation to it. We worked on double discrimination and domestic violence, as well as using feminist graffiti as a tool to convey our message.”

Barah took a step back from the public space for almost two years and is now slowly getting back to her activism. She took the decision to step away because of being stopped by security at the airport, being investigated and then having her passport held by the authorities as she was traveling to attend a conference on violence against women. Although she eventually got her passport back, the incident left a deep psychological mark and as a consequence, she preferred to step away from activism for some time.

* Barah is an alias chosen by the interviewee to remain anonymous.

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