Music and Protests from Israel to Egypt

I’m a member of the HollaBack world mailing list and a few weeks ago one of the anti-street harassment organizers in Israel let us know about an inspiring protest by women in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Recently several male officers of the Israeli military walked out of an official military ceremony because they were offended that the performing choir included female officers.

The men were relieved from duty, and then sued, saying their religious beliefs were not being respected. Their case received support from some conservative religious leaders, who argued that displaying women’s voices in public was as indecent as displaying women’s pubises in public. This infuriated a group of Israeli feminists, the HollaBack Israel coordinator one of them, and to protest they staged a number of sung protests. Here are photos and videos:

In my Arabic class this week, we had a discussion about the Arab Spring and we watched this video:

To me, this sums up the best of the January 25 protests in Tahrir Square. The diversity, the pride, the hopefulness. Dr Reham Bahi, a professor of Political Science in Cairo who I heard speak two weeks ago, told me there was nearly no street harassment in Tahrir Square during the initial 18 days of protests. Any woman who has traveled in Egypt would find this hard to believe, but I have heard it from a number of other sources. It seems, for a tragically limited time [trigger warning on link], women and men and Copts and Muslims stood together without animosity to protest for their rights.

Just as the Israel protests are inspiring, the Arabic song celebrating the Egyptian protests inspired a group of first year Arabic speakers at the University of Texas (the biggest program in the United States):

Inspirational Quote:

“Musical compositions, it should be remembered, do not inhabit certain countries, certain museums, like paintings and statues. The Mozart Quintet is not shut up in Salzburg: I have it in my pocket.”–Henri Rabaud

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