A mere moment of revolution

Samar Elhussien

October 1987, detention center in Egypt, my uncle visiting my dad who were detained few months before my birth. In a room filled with political prisoners talking with their families about hope, justice, love, unfairness, human rights and daily routine. My uncle finished his visit to dad filled with anger or may be hope. He went home and told my mum that my dad said: Name her “ Thawra”- revolution in Arabic-.  my mum burst into laugh she almost shred her delivery recent stitches. She waited till she was able to visit my dad. 10 days I remained with no name but a representation for revolution.  My dad replied; are you crazy?! We agreed long before, either “Thamar “- fruit in Arabic- or “Samar “- an amusing conversation among friends-. My mum leaned Towards “Samar “and since then this is what I’m.

A young daughter of a small middle-class family in Egypt, I grew up. My dad is a social, short stories writer and political analyst. Mum is a housewife and older brother is a PhD student in Biofuel and researcher in national center for scientific research. 

Human rights, literature, the question of human liberty, equality among many other debates is a daily affair in our house.  I’m a natural result of these discussions and many others. Unlike my peers in family and school, I spent my spare time reading literature and reflecting on what I read. I remain always grateful for every single detail in my life that shaped my character and planted compassion and passion towards human rights, tolerance, democracy and many other values in me.

Human rights interest was a matter of an extension for the type of life and family I had, and I complimented this with studying political sciences for bachelor’s degree, participating in many student activities in university. I have never been a political party member. I believe that supporting human rights and improving people lives throughout civil society is a significant method.

I worked in an NGO in the las first year in college. It gave me great opportunities to meet new people from all around the world, acquire experiences in different sectors and most of all made me part of a larger community that actively participated in 2011 revolution. I never felt alone while moving around in Tahrir square where millions were gathering. In every corner or a spot, there was someone that I know, a friend, a colleague, a trainee or even a total stranger. The passion for freedom, respect for human rights and democracy made us all acquainted.

Now I live abroad due to unjust, dictator regime that deprive Egyptians from their rights and supressing civil society as it’s considered an engine for the change that happened in 2011 and this change in addition to civil society in not welcomed anymore in Egypt . I decided that my years in diaspora should be useful. I’m accumulating knowledge that I think might be useful when I go back one day to my home country. I had a master’s degree in international management from Prague college, Czech Republic and now studying international law and human rights master’s degree in Tartu university  to expand my knowledge about international mechanism for human rights protection and improving. Tools that might be used even when I’m abroad to improve human rights and tackle that challenges that erupts in the region.

I’m samar Elhussieny, human rights defender from Egypt, works as executive director for Andalus Institute for tolerance and anti-violence studies. I have experience as trainer and consultant in human rights education, networking, advocacy, media monitoring, election observation, researching and reporting. I also have an international human rights expertise interning with the European Parliament, Brussels in 2012. I’m a fellow withthe Women Initiative administered by Bush Presidential Center and a member of the Gender Working Group of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN).

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