Monday, March 11, 2013

Samira Ibrahim and the Plaque of Courage

Managing editor Rana Allam

Samira Ibrahim is a name that you may be familiar with, but if you are hearing her name for the first time, there is no better time than now to hear her story of courage.

Samira, is a woman like most other women that get to a place where they are fed up with feeling as though they are "not enough", or that they cannot live the life they believe that they were intended to live.

Have you ever been there? Whether you are a man or a woman it matters not, but I would venture to say that there are tons of women all around the world that are being told what to do, how to feel, and they are NOT all in America either.

Much like Samira, you are looking for something more, and in the US you have more freedom to do what you want. Her journey began January 25, 2011, when she ventured to Tahrir Square and she wanted to make her plea for a better life in regards to:

  1. Getting food for her family
  2. Justice
  3. Equality in society and more 

What was the end result? Force by SCAF (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces). A test that would violate this woman down to her core along with thousands of women just like her. There are more facts you need to know about Samira Ibrahim.

Samira Ibrahim and SCAF

Leading up to the rally of Hosni Mubarak, SCAF brought impending doom and sorrow upon the Egyptian people, most of them were women. 

If you didn't hear of the virginity test, it isn't a pleasant experience for these women at all. In fact, with many young women being detained for wanting nothing more than freedom, the Egyptian Army did this to avoid allegations of rape. You can call it what you want, but making a young woman strip down to nothing for a "test to find out if she is a virgin" is unthinkable. 

Egypt has been viewed as a conservative country, so even talking about a test as such was hard for these women to do. Samira at the age of 26 struggled, but she didn't want other women to go through this if they were detained. 

Samira Ibrahim is the warrior behind the ban of this "virginity test", and women are relieved. Can you imagine? What if you were forced to do something that you knew wasn't right; would you pave the way for others to be free? 

This is a tough conversation that people don't want to have, but it takes courage to do it. I don't know if I would have that much courage, but we all have a story, right? Do you know something that you could speak out about to help others. What about the issue on bullying? 

That alone is a big issue here, and it needs to be one that we all take a stand against. There is enough pain in life without adding more to it. 

US Plans to Award Samira Ibrahim with Award of Courage 

In the news, it has been a sore issue, but the US still plans to award Samira Ibrahim with a plaque for courage for her stand in getting that "virginity test" banned. 

However, there is a delay simply because the US has been accused of making anti-semitic remarks. What say you? Whether we did or did not, if we plan to award a woman for her courage, we should. That won't change her, she has already changed her world in Egypt, and helped thousands of women in her own right. 

She was brave and courageous regardless of how this plays out. So, it is always easy to have courage? No, of course not, but it's always the right thing to do when someone can be helped. If that helps you move forward then think of it like that. 

Needless to say, I think we could all learn something great from Samira Ibrahim, and that is to live courageously

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