Egyptian Women: Voting Themselves (Fully) Backward?

A Trip to the Orient—The Story of a Mediterranean Cruise,” by Robert Urie Jacob, published in 1907, was “…written at the request of fellow-travelers who did not have time to take notes by the way.” One companion told him, “Do not write a guide book nor a love story, but a simple narrative that will recall the incidents and delightful experiences of the tour.” Jacob took this suggestion to heart, and also included a “…large number of illustrations made from artistic photographs…illustrations of views or incidents,” including images of early 20th century Cairo.

Chap. 13—Cairo and the Pyramids  captures these Cairene images of  Muslim women, their ghost-like appearances in black head to toe garments, with veils covering their faces proximally to the uppermost aspect of the bridge of the nose, accompanied by neutral descriptive captions of their plight.

“A baby, astride its mother’s shoulder, clung to her head while she walked along and made her purchases, apparently unconscious of her child.” p. 286, “A Trip to the Orient—The Story of a Mediterranean Cruise,” 1907

“Each Arab’s cart contained his wives,” p. 268, A Trip to the Orient—The Story of a Mediterranean Cruise,” 1907

Considering the initial results of the Egyptian Presidential elections, with Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Mohammed Morsi the leading vote getter, and the prior ascendancy of the Muslim Brotherhood during Egypt’s Parliamentary elections, one must consider the distinct possibility that Egypt’s women—like the one below—have chosen to vote themselves back, fully, to that bleak past.

A veiled woman casts her vote during presidential elections in Alexandria, 140 miles north of Cairo May 23, 2012.


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