There is a bodyspirit connection that extends across miles and political borders. I experienced this connection while dancing in my Zumba class the other day. I was shaking tightness and tension out of my own body, when I pictured the women demonstrators in Tahrir Square.
March 8th was International Women’s Day and demonstrations and celebrations honoring women were being held all over the world. The Egyptian women were demonstrating on behalf of women, to obtain equality and justice in their new government. According to that morning’s newspaper report, the women were encircled by male supporters who attempted to protect them. But at some point things began to go wrong. Other men, (apparently immature boys), broke through the line and began sexually assaulting the women, grabbing their crotches and breasts. The women were silenced and retreated.
Remembering this newspaper story, I began dancing on behalf of those women. As I did the Zumba steps, moving my hips became a prayer that Egyptian women, indeed women all over the world, might be able to move theirs, unencumbered by fear and the cultural constraints in their countries. As I stomped my feet, I began sending messages of warning to those immature boys, and anyone else who believes that a free democracy in the new Egypt or anywhere else is possible without including the women.
“It took the United States 144 years to allow women to vote,” I said stomping my feet. “And we’re still working on the inequalities and vestiges of slavery.” Stomp.
“But we know that none of us is free till all of us are free.” Stomp. Stomp.
“So go back to the golden age of your own heritage when women were educated, had legal rights, and held property.” Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.
“Make no mistake, the women ancestors of Egypt, and girls and women living round the world are watching.” Stomp, Stomp, Stomp.
“And we’re dancing on behalf of all women; including your sisters, wives, and mothers.”
Stomp. Stomp. Stomp.