Yasmin El-Rifae

Yasmin El-Rifae is a writer and co-producer of the Palestine Festival of Literature. She is at work completing her first book, a history of an extraordinary feminist resistance group within the Egyptian revolution. This website is a collection of her writings.

Portfolio

Selected Essays

Where Does Palestine Begin?
I'm sitting in my office in New York, lingering over the draft of an email I need to send to the staff. It explains my complicated trip through Saudi Arabia and Germany and...
Circles about circles: On writing about sexual violence
I was part of Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault (OpAntiSH), one of several groups that fought mob attacks against women in Tahrir from 2012 onward. This piece is about my...
The Air Was Hot with Hysterical Nationalism
A year ago I woke up in Cairo to the news of a massacre, the second of the summer. I was subletting a friend's apartment downtown, a beautiful place that gave me solitude above...

Full list

Where Does Palestine Begin?
I'm sitting in my office in New York, lingering over the draft of an email I need to send to the staff. It explains my complicated trip through Saudi Arabia and Germany and...
Defeat's possibilities: 3 activists recount 1967 as formative
It is June 3, and evening is falling on a rainy Paris. I have learned about the Festival Cine-Palestine, which has a screening of Al-Lail (The Night) by Syrian director Mohamed...
Reaching
I have spent time in Palestine over the last five years as an organizer of the annual Palestine Festival of Literature , which just took place this May. *** Houses in...
Giulio Regeni's death reminds us no one is safe from Egypt's brutal police
There is a scene filled with terrifying suspense in the 1995 French film La Haine. Police have detained two young men, having found them to be in possession of a small piece of...
That Metallic Sound That Hits Us
Waves of people have disappeared, been killed, too many count, too many to mourn properly. But Giulio’s death makes us confront the effect of this violence, of witnessing it, on...
For journalists, freedom from jail is a qualified liberty
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said in its latest report that Egypt is second to China as the world's worst jailer of journalists...
Circles about circles: On writing about sexual violence
I was part of Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault (OpAntiSH), one of several groups that fought mob attacks against women in Tahrir from 2012 onward. This piece is about my...
PalFest on the Road
I am writing this in the car on the way from Haifa to Ramallah. Cell phones beep as we cross between Israeli and West Bank coverage. The view out the window has changed from the...
A Conference in Cairo
I walked through downtown Cairo on a quiet Friday morning in March 2015, late to a conference I had helped organize and a little bit anxious. The conference was about the...
Egypt's Economy: Hanging in the Balance
As 2014 drew to a close, the Egyptian economy was making international headlines. The Financial Times called Egypt the world's best destination for stock market investment.[1]...
Unauthorized memory
Yesterday they shot and killed a woman on Talaat Harb Street. She was walking, along with other members of the Socialist Alliance Party, through downtown to commemorate those...
Yasmin El-Rifae: The Air Was Hot with Hysterical Nationalism
Image from Flickr via (flicts) By Yasmin El-Rifae A year ago I woke up in Cairo to the news of a massacre, the second of the summer. I was subletting a friend's apartment...
Egypt's Sexual Harassment Law: An Insufficient Measure to End Sexual Violence
A few days ago, heavy court sentences were imposed on seven men who were convicted of attempted rape, attempted murder, and torture, in a ruling seen by many as unprecedented in...
Moments ongoing
I am sitting in Ramallah reading this article about the controversy surrounding the deaths of two Palestinian teenagers, shot by Israeli bullets (one through the back) last week...
Notes from a bridge
All this sickness has to go somewhere, and it seems it has gone directly to my stomach. In my belly is a rock of congealing violence; of fractured time and place; of the anxiety...
Zero
The last few months rendered me mute for a while. Trying to take in all that has been happening in Egypt - the attacks, the killings, the arrests, the abuse of justice on every...
Egypt's courts
In 2006, a group of judges agitated to demand an investigation of the 2005 elections fraud, opening up the tumultuous question of the judiciary's independence. The movement had...
Egypt's Informal Economy | Middle East Institute
The black market for currency serves as an apt illustration of the allure of Egypt's informal economy, generally defined as enterprises that do not pay taxes and are not...
The constitution of our symbols
I find myself craving the cinema these days. Something about the idea of images arranged into a purposeful narrative, characters with distinct conflicts to be either resolved or...
Women & the Fight for Bodily Integrity in Egypt
The struggle for bodily integrity-a right broadly defined as the inviolability of the human body and the self-determination of humans over their bodies-has been at the center of...
Margins, islands, and homes
I recently moved from downtown to Zamalek, which feels increasingly like an island playground/food court. Running errands, I elbow my way through crowds of preppy young people...
Dispatches
This is the third time I've tried to write something about these nightmarish days in Egypt. The words that come out have been too hollow and disconnected to share, but I'm...
No Apologies
Egypt at the moment feels like a series of battles and struggles, separated by geography but all ultimately linked together, hurtling towards some unknown destiny. People are...
No apologies
Egypt at the moment feels like a series of battles and struggles, separated by geography but all ultimately linked together, hurtling towards some unknown destiny. People are...
Waiting to rebel
On returning to Cairo I felt myself, while struggling with the physical difficulties of the city, brimming with positivity for it. There are a lot of interesting people doing...

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