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Cairo has been blessed by an effervescence of protest and openness since Hosni Mubarak resigned and on 8 March 2011 a variety of demonstrations took place in the city. March 8 also marked the centenary of International Women’s Day, but sadly, despite the new optimism for reform since the revolution, the women’s peaceful commemoration of the day was the only group which was attacked, ridiculed, shouted down and chased from the square.

Hania Sholkamy’s diary commentary echoes the age old tensions between nationalist and feminist struggles and reminds us that a truly, free democracy must have women’s rights as a central component of its agenda.

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