06 December 2011

Aliaa Elmahdy and solidarity

Please note that this  post contains nudity for which I make absolutely no apology.

Maryam Namazie's blog has been a must visit site for recently but one post today has got me thinking.

In October Egyptian  Aliaa Magda Elmahdy posted a nude self portrait on her blog an action that unsurprisingly has caused outrage in her native country.

This is not an act of exhibitionism. The photo, is beautiful but it is not erotic and it is certainly not titillating. It is an image of a naked woman, plain and simple, and in the context of a repressive society it is a brave and powerful statement. The statement is made even more powerful combined with this:
"Put on trial the artists' models who posed nude for art schools until the early 70s, hide the art books and destroy the nude statues of antiquity, then undress and stand before a mirror and burn your bodies that you despise to forever rid yourselves of your sexual hangups before you direct your humiliation and chauvinism and dare
to try to deny me my freedom of expression"

Why be ashamed of nudity? Who does it really scare? words that are easy to say sat in a house on the London/Essex border. A statement like this here would be meaningless but in the context of a nation in flux where islamists are looking set to gain power it says something that words alone could never convey. One thing it says loud and clear is bravery, certainly given the consequences.

Aliaa has support. Danish-based Iranian artist  Firoozeh Barafkan has  posted a nude picture of herself branding a mask with the features of Elmahdy.  "I would rather go naked in solidarity with Aliaa Magda Elmahdy than be silent," is the picture's caption. Solidarity indeed and one that has more meaning than the PETA campaign the caption parodies.

And support transcends the petty barriers of nation and religion Here is solidarity form Israel


 Maryam Namazie's latest post concerns another larger  act of solidarity and homage to Aliaa - a "nude revolutionaries" calendar. submissions are welcome from anyone aged 18 or over. The only stipulations are that photos must show the face and photos are accompanied by a quote showing the reason for supporting Aliaa. The closing date is in March 2012.

Now the question is will I participate myself? I am thinking yes


Gina said...

The group photograph is the statement I would want to be represented among.

The young woman's photo, well...I stand by my statements on your fb posting about it but I wanted to add (I hope not overly honestly) that I have concluded that the photograph of her with the stockings and the red shoes to be, in fact erotic. I believe that its erotic qualities make it especially potent as a statement. It says "I'm beautiful and sexy - deal with it". I rather like that. Of course, it's also dangerous in her country, so I find her especially brave for it.

jams o donnell said...

I do see your point Gina. The stockings and red shoes do certainly point that way. But it doesn't say that to me.

I would do a group photo without doubt. Solo, I am thinking about it.

I think a group photo with everyone adopting Aliaa's pose would be a strong statement of solidarity

jams o donnell said...

Whatever our disagreement over erotic.not erotic she is one brave woman

CherryPie said...

I have never understood why anyone would be offended by someone in the nude. It is the natural state of a human after all...

The popular view that has been fed and circulated teaches that it is inappropriate to appear nude. Why?

Nudity is the natural state of a human being.

jams o donnell said...

It is our natural state,nothing to be ashamed of.

although I welcome clothes in winter!

CherryPie said...

Ha Ha only an exhibitionist would be seen in their natural state in winter months ;-)

jams o donnell said...

Or a very, very determined naturist!

CherryPie said...


More fool them ;-)

Sean Jeating said...

First of all: If I happened to be Eros, by no means this photo could excite me.

Much more of interest for me is the question: Would I pose like this to show solidarity?

To answer 'Yes!' would probably have been easier at times when sometimes I called myself (with a twinkling of my eyes) an Adonis.
Now I am not sure that my body's still a pleasure for anyone's eyes, I doubt.
Nevertheless, and I think that is the point: 'Nudity is the natural state of a human being.'
As every(nude)body can see: I am with CherryPie.

PS: The longer I think about, though: A (photo)montage of us bloggers commenting here ... that would be charming, hm? :)

CherryPie said...

I am thinking along the lines of calender girls now...

I am sure Jams could photograph and produce a tasteful calendar of us bloggers ;-)

jams o donnell said...

Haha Cherie!

It doesn't turn me on either Sean. Yes she is a beautiful woman but for me it's the statement that screams out.

I know what you mean. I certainly feel self conscious but sod it. If Alia can put her life on the line why should I not do something that has no personal consequences...Well that's my thinking. For once I will stop hiding behind the camera

I'd do a photomontage Cherie!

susan said...

I agree with Gina that Aliaa's photograph is indeed an erotic portrait and I like it too. Posting it to her blog was a very brave act considering the Islamic prohibitions about the female form. Of course, I'd do so too in an effort of support but nowadays I'd prefer to stand in the back row.

Claude said...

I'll be happy to buy the photo-montage of all of you, brave people. Let me know when it's done, Jams.

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Hey Jams,

I had heard of this. Thanks for going into a little more detail. I often say I am happy that I live where I do. Close enough to NYC that anything goes. lol

jams o donnell said...

Beautiful she is Susan and the more I look at it the more I see Gina's point. Erotic or not it is an act or real courage.

Looking at Maryam's blog it seems to have had quite a response and from a number of prominent people.

I wouldn't want to cut across anything Claude but I really hope the calendar sees the light of day.

We are both so lucky DFP.