Motorola Lecture on Gender and the Media
Bothiana Kamel, the first female presidential candidate in Egypt, is determined to use her voice to achieve democratic independence for her country. She says she owes it to women, whose political voices have not been accepted, as well as those who sacrificed their lives to bring freedom for Egypt.
“What I hope for Egypt is a modern independence and I thought Egyptian people deserved freedom,” she said. “Dictatorship tries to divide women versus men, poor versus rich. The revolution destroys all borders of Egypt.”
Kamel will give the Motorola Lecture on Gender and the Media at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Stern Auditorium in the U-M Museum of Art during International Women’s Day. Her talk answers the question: “Can the Revolution Liberate Women, Too?” The event is free and open to the public.
A television news anchor and long time pro-democracy activist, Kamel has addressed issues of women’s rights, human rights and corruption since the late 1980s.
In a telephone interview from Dubai, Kamel said barriers to freedom are not needed, especially for women as they seek to contribute to the revolution.
“Women must work for the rights, and we don’t want to be sacrificed or our rights and goals destroyed by the army,” she said. “They are trying to put us in a different situation to kill our hopes of change.”
Despite harassment and beatings by government and military authorities in the last decade, Kamel is committed to the solidarity and human rights campaigns of peaceful protest and organizing in Egypt.
While the presidential election date has not been determined, Kamel is sharing her message to reach as many people as possible throughout Egypt. Many people have been surprised and skeptic about a woman seeking to become president. Now, more citizens have been supportive, she said.
In a CNN interview last year, she said young people are important to her philosophy.
“What we need is not only a political revolution but also a social revolution,” said Kamel, whose campaign slogan is “Egypt Is My Agenda.” “Politics under the (former President Hosni) Mubarak regime was thugs and black deals, so I want to work to build new values for Egypt.
“I believe in tolerance and dialogue between the generations. I tell the elders we must respect our sons and daughters and take them seriously.”
The Motorola Lecture is presented by the Women’s Studies Department and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender.
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