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[GV Show Special] Interview with Wahda Masrya – An Egyptian Girl

ShahinazDuring the closing session of the new media workshop I led recently in Alexandria, Egypt, practically everybody paid tribute to Shahinaz Abdelsalam, better known in the blogosphere as Wahda Masrya – an Egyptian Girl. The lone Alexandria native and one of the few experienced bloggers among the group, Shahinaz became for most of the participants a symbol of courage and deep commitment to the cause of human rights and of freedom expression.

As Delphine Nerbollier tells us in her interview (Fr) with Shahinaz on the NewsLab blog, Shahinaz broke with family tradition and left her native city in 2005, and now leads an independent life in Cairo. At 29 years old, she works as an telecommunications engineer with Orange, a job which, for her, raises a number of ethical questions. “Orange moved to this country to so they could pay engineers lower salaries, and I'm against that sort of thing,” she says. “But you still have to live, don't you?” Unlike the majority of Muslim women in Egypt, Shahinaz has never worn a headscarf or veil, and has no plans to do so in the future.

In this special edition of the Global Voices Show, Shahinaz talks about her own reasons for blogging; the risks faced by Egyptian bloggers who dare criticise the authorities; her friend, the imprisoned blogger Kareem Amer (whom she encouraged us all to write by giving us self-addressed stamped envelopes); and the activist blogging scene in Egypt.

  • Esra’a

    I want to thank you for recogniting this lady’s amazing efforts!

    Shahinaz is one of the best and bravest bloggers in the Arab world. She has helped the Free Kareem campaign in ways that no one else has, spoken up against Egyptian corruption in times that could’ve put her in serious risk, and continues to blog with an open mind fearlessly despite the many consequences that may arise. She is an inspiration.

    Well done Shahinaz! You’re an amazing friend. Without your help the Free Kareem campaign wouldn’t be where it is today.

  • Solana Larsen

    Wow, I admire Shahinaz’ courage.

    I am going to write a letter to Kareem too!

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  • a very public sociologist

    Many thanks, this is an example of blogging at its best. The aim of progressive bloggers everywhere is to help sustain an online community of dissent that can act as a counterweight to the propaganda of governments, the capitalist media monopoly, and the blogging right. Keep up the good work!

  • Amira Al Hussaini

    Great interview GAP! Are there others under your sleeve? Good to put a face and voice to the bloggers who are facing daily challenges while we type away from the comforts of our homes!

  • Claudia

    I have a great deal of respect for any woman in the Arab world who not only dares to live an independent life but who also dares to speak out in public.
    It is just a pity that her blog is in Arabic, or does she write in French or English as well? Unfortunately I haven’t found it yet.
    I do hope more people will take her as an example, because in some countries bloggers may be the only objective voice that exists, and even we Europeans urgently need more civil courage.

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