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A human rights defender: talking about international support

Author's name: 
Yara Sallam
Cairo

Who is a human rights defender? Who is a woman human rights defender? Is he the one with the fancy camera and tweeting for his thousands of followers? Is she the one with the cute face and a good English accent? Who are the ones ‘we’ consider worth our admiration, and more importantly now it seems, worthy of support, coverage and highlighting from international organizations and media?

They are the ones who have access to media and human rights organizations (national and international), the ones who have passports to travel to attend events, or speak to a foreign TV station or radio, they are the figures and they should remain as such, the “revolution” stars. They should continue on thanking everyone else, who are not worthy of mention, they should support the oppressed and help the ones in need, they are the figures and they should remain as such, the “revolution” stars.

Who is that girl? Maybe she got herself into a torture scene by the hands of the military, but did she make a good public image for herself? No? Then she is not a woman human rights defender, the other one is. The untouchable. And the other girl? She was selling tea in the square, swearing bad words while in detention to the soldiers who are harassing her. She is not revolutionary. The other one is because she comes from a ‘good family’.

And who is that guy? The one who is painting people’s walls. No one knows about him. Why should they? He is just another anonymous man from a different class, not like us. He will remain an anonymous man who was arrested for participating in a revolutionary protest, just a number in the list we talk about.

Here’s to the international support that individualize our revolution, keeping it in the figure of a few…our revolution is not based on the people you highlight but the people you ignore, not the middle and upper-middle class you talk to, but the ones who have nothing to lose. The revolution is being fed by the people security pick to torture and detain, not the ones they know too well to hold them for more than an hour or so. Our revolution is collective and it shall remain as such. I am nothing but a privileged woman, who can speak 3 languages and have international contacts, but I am nothing and I shall remain as such.

This blog was originally published at Talking Personal

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