Tag Archives: Algeria

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Hijab Removal, Iranian Women, and Freedom of Dress

Images via the My Stealthy Freedom Facebook page.

By Guest Contributor Sya Taha, cross-posted from Aquila Style.

The liberal feminist organisation Femen and its members’ naked breasts have had their media run. Now a more modest sort of uncovering is happening, this time in Iranian social media. Last month, London-based Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad started a movement on Facebook and Twitter, translated as “My Stealth Freedom”, to highlight the “legal and social restrictions” faced by women in Iran.

Secular and Muslim women all over Iran are posting photos of themselves without the mandated headscarf, in secluded places where there are no Basij (religious police) to punish them for violating the country’s dress code. The movement is led by women who are removing their headscarves and posting photos of themselves of their own free will.

But the title of an article on Vocativ, “The great unveiling,” gave me a bad feeling. It made me uneasy because the idea of “uncovering-as-freedom” is fraught with historical baggage.

The “great unveiling” has already happened. In fact, it’s occurred many times over in modern history. Algeria under French colonisation is the best example of this.
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Lebanon: Memoirs of an Algerian Transsexual

By Guest Contributor Simba Rousseau, cross-posted from Her Blueprint

Threatening emails, phone calls, constant surveillance by secret police and eventually prison couldn’t dissuade Randa, an Algerian transsexual and pioneer in the Arab world’s gay and transsexual movement, from going public with her life story.

“I returned home to Algeria from my last trip and that’s when the threats to imprison me started,” says Randa, who received initial threats via email and phone. “As a method of intimidating me, they started sending articles about me to my family, and they would show up at my workplace. Once, while being stopped at a checkpoint, one of the officers grabbed me in the car and told me that he could arrest and rape me and no one would know about it.”

Convinced by influential members of Algerian society, two of Randa’s friends were forced to present her with an ultimatum. Leave the country in ten days or things will get worse.

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