Kolna Laila, an Egyptian women's group blog

BlogHer Original Post

Recently a group of around 200 Egyptian women bloggers began a group blog called Kolna Laila. You might also find it as Kolona, Koulna, or Leila spelled as Layla or Leila and it means "We are all Laila". Most of the blogs aggregated here on Laila-eg.blogspot.com that participated are in Arabic, but some are in English or are multilingual.

kolna laila

I took a look at a few of the blogs I found from this project. Most are women from Cairo. It is very interesting for me to see different feminisms... I want to quote some of the bloggers and link to them rather than summarizing. I hope you'll follow the links and read a bit more about these women's lives!

Here is Meza Teza on the Kullouna Layla campaign: "Trying to voice the daily strives and struggles of Arabic women in general and Egyptian women in particular."

Muslim Eve explains her idea of the project, and her mixed feelings about it:

Laila is a charachter of an egyptian woman who suffered from a man & treated unfair & the law didn't give her her rights, it was a famous novell & movie called Albab Almaftoohâ or The Opened Door.
This blog was made where a lot of female bloggers are sharing to show how much the Egyptian woman is suffering in the daily life, well I couldn't share in it cuz I can't feel that, I can see with my own eyes & hear with my own ears how much both women & men are stupid, not only in the muslim world but even around the world & in fact there's no real cure.


Narnoura quotes a long quote from Maya Angelou as her inspiration. Hope, a mom and free spirit from I Hope for Happiness blogs very sweetly about her best friend.

Nesreen from Message in a Bottle said:

She struggled sometime but found a way between this and that, a moderate way, that doesn't differentiate between guys and girls and doesn't take social or economical status into consideration. It just knows what is right and what is wrong.
Continued her journey at work, with great passion and enthusiasm, trying to prove herself and grow. The assumptions at the beginning were that she is not good, or solid enough. That was challenging but she said I will do whatever it takes to prove them wrong.

Walaa Emam from Sheer Mental Garbage says to men who ask what feminism is:

When the women you love are safe and happy, aren't you much safer and happier too?

We are not enemies. We count you as some of our strongest supporters. We love your concience, your sense of justice, and we love your willingness to back it up with words and actions. we love your jokes when we are taking things too seriously.

we will fight beside you as long as you don't underestimate our strength...and we will remember that your power is nothing to fear if you grant us the same favor.

Very necessary to say -- as apparently there is a big backlash from guys in the Egyptian blogosphere, according to Zeinab from Egyptian Chronicle. I did not go looking for that backlash. But here is what Zeinab says:

Can please anyone tell me why all the men in the Egyptian blogsphere hate Laila that much??

We don't hate men ,but hate this treatment !! For God sake even the smallest blame you can't stand it
To all the men and boys there we are not only females ,but we are also your mothers,your sisters and your daughters!

I will link though to Tarek, a guy from Egypt who asks sincerely, what do women want? And what do Bloggresses, or Bloggrettes, want? Can they say it clearly? How complicated... but he wishes for an easy list of points "to do" and "not to do". But alas it is more complicated than that, as it is for men in the U.S. For one thing I would say that, though it is hard, men have to learn to listen to women's anger too, and understand where it comes from (from sexism, patriarchy, and injustice) as well as pleas for equality and polite rational explanations point by point. Otherwise they will not understand.

Here's a link to the movie "Albab Almaftouh", The Opened Door. The novel was by Dr. Latifah Elzayaat or Latifah al-Zayyat, an amazing writer and activist. Believe me but I had a bit of a time trying to find her information on the web, which I did by trying to spell her name 8 different ways. You can buy her books if you are curious and want to understand more about the history Egyptian feminism and about the blogs from Kolna Laila which are one facet of Egyptian feminism today.

Thanks to Ethan Zuckerman for the heads-up on this interesting blogosphere event!


Contributing Editor Liz Henry also blogs at Composite and Badgermama.