The first time I heard about Kolena Laila was through a tweet from my cousin. I was really intrigued to find out more about it. I mean, why Laila? Why not Samia, or Rawya or any other name?
Kolena Laila or "We are all Laila" is a virtual initiative on the blogosphere that calls to review values and prevalent ideas related to females, and how society enacts them with no consideration of their impact on women themselves. The call here is not to propagate a certain value or culture, but it is rather a call to criticize and review our own daily behavior, with a true desire to change and purify our attitudes in life.
The idea started with a group of female bloggers, and despite the fact that Kolena Laila was founded by bloggers from Egypt, the founders assure that it is for all Arab women in general, not only Egyptians.
Simple, it is an adoption of the heroine’s name from the novel "The Open Door", written by the Egyptian novelist "Latifa El Zayyat", which was turned into a movie later on starring the famous actress Faten Hammama, It’s one of my favorite movies by the way.
In "The Open Door" Laila represents Egyptian girls who suffer oppression and injustice in Egyptian society during the time of the Suez Canal Crisis. The novel features Laila's struggle with the community to prove the importance of the role of women in this society.
Of course comparing our position now and Laila’s then I have to admit that we are way better but unfortunately you still find some similarities in how some women are being oppressed, suffering from lack of freedom and not being acknowledged as an element of society. Now, whoever is reading this post please note the word some because I don’t believe in generalizing stuff and it is a fact that only some women face these issues.
Previous Kolena Laila Days
So far there have been 3 Kolena Laila Days; the first day was held on 9th September 2006, the second on 9th September 2007 and the third held on 19th October 2008. Though the initiative started with women bloggers only but later on men were invited to join the dialogue as the main aim of the initiative was to shed the light on oppression and other problems faced by women in the region that are not just the creation of men alone, but women have contributed to them as well.
Kolena Laila 2009
Once again it is time for Laila to speak up, this year Kolena Laila seeks to extend the experience to include as many Arab countries as possible and participation is open for men, women and anyone who feel they have a say about Arab women.
Kolena Laila is seeking bloggers to join and help in this year's initiative which will start on the 24th of December and end on the 30th of the same month.
Come on everyone it’s time for our voice to be heard. If you want to know more about how you could participate and how the process goes you can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org (forgot to mention I volunteered to be their UAE representative)
For further info and an overview of last years entries
Arabic Website - English Website