Egypt’s Minimum Wage Battle: Call Forth the Zombie Armies

My husband graduated among the top of his class in medical school. He got the best possible position a doctor could get in Egypt: a residency at Cairo University Hospital in the specialty of his choice and a stable medical career for life. We started our life together as a married couple just after he started his residency.

His salary was 200 LE a month; roughly US $30.

Those first few years of marriage were very difficult. Our families did not fully realize – it seems – the tough financial situation we were in. We very rarely got help in the first couple of years, so those 200 LE were basically it. Our dignity would not allow us to ask our families to help us through the tough times.

There were times when friends would stop over for a visit and I did not even have tea to serve them. Once, a very good friend of mine got married and I could not attend her wedding because I did not even have 25 piasters to take a bus to the wedding. There were times when I went hungry as a pregnant and later breast-feeding mother.

Having lived through that, I was cautiously happy to hear that workers in Egypt were going on strike on May 2 to call for a minimum wage in Egypt of 1200 LE. Cautiously, I say, because I’m among the pessimistic majority in the country that thinks change is still far away in the future, if it will ever come at all.


Egypt Journalists: Support IslamOnline Workers

I worked at IslamOnline for eight years. I started my career as a journalist with them. I occupied several positions within the institution: freelance writer, science editor, managing science editor, deputy editor-in-chief of English website, and director of communications. I left IslamOnline in 2008, but I have continued to be in touch with my friends and colleagues ever since. Anyone who has worked with or even visited IslamOnline will know that IslamOnline is a family.

I am inviting journalists in Egypt to show their support for the workers at IslamOnline by visiting the strikers on Thursday, March 25, at noon. I extend this invitation in my personal capacity as Nadia El-Awady and not in any professional capacity I currently occupy. I extend this invitation regardless of the very confusing circumstances that surround what’s happening at IslamOnline and why.

I ask you to join the workers; the workers who went to their office one morning nine days ago to suddenly learn that they were at risk of losing their jobs in two weeks’ time. I ask you to join the workers who have worked for ten years, providing content that has been followed by millions. You do not need to support the content itself to support the concept. And the concept, in my opinion, is the possibility of a unique media project disappearing from the Internet, or changing from what those workers had made it into.

I invite you to join the workers of IslamOnline in their strike by visiting their office in the 6th of October City in Egypt on Thursday, March 25 at noon.

Their address is:

West of Somid,Land Piece 7, 6th of October City

More information will be posted on the IslamOnline’s workers’ blog Voice for those interested. I am happy to take anyone wishing to go from Haram with me in my car.

See you there!

اعتصامات بإسلام أون لاين

وصلني البيان التالي من أحد الموظفين بإسلام أون لاين والمعلومات على مسئوليته لم أقم بمراجعتها بنفسي

اعتصامات في “إسلام أون لاين” وتهديدات بفصل 250 عاملا

بث مباشر للاعتصامات

 تصاعدت الأوضاع بشدة اليوم الاثنين داخل مقر موقع إسلام أون لاين في القاهرة، بعدما قامت الإدارة القطرية للموقع في الدوحة بإرسال محامين لاستلام المقر بكل ما فيه من ممتلكات وأوراق، والتحقيق مع 250 عامل كانوا قد أرسلوا بيانا للشيخ يوسف القرضاوي رئيس مجلس إدارة الموقع يتظلمون فيه من تصرفات الإدارة الجديدة لمؤسسة البلاغ القطرية المالكة للموقع. (more…)