Remember that case of the Egyptian professor who got fired from her job in 2018 for publishing a belly dance video on her Facebook account? Well, there are updates on her case.
This week, on September 13, 2022, the Supreme Administrative Court in Egypt rejected the appeal submitted by Dr. Mona Prince, confirming her final dismissal from work in Egyptian universities.
Who is Mona Prince, and what’s her story?
Mina Prince is a professor in the Department of English at the Faculty of Education at Suez Canal University.
In 2018, Dr. Mona Prince posted a video of her doing belly dancing on her personal Facebook account, and again, allow us to stress that it was posted on her private Facebook account where the whole controversy started.
Later, on May 15, 2018, professor Prince was fired from her position in the Faculty of Literature at Suez University and accused of “disrespecting” her profession as an academic lecturer by posting these videos.
In response to the university’s decision, Mona wrote on her Facebook page that a university professor had been ousted not for being corrupt or a harasser but for posting personal videos on Facebook for the first time in history. “See you in court Suez University,” Prince stated.
People’s reactions and the public opinion about the case
Prince was stirring social media and public opinion about her case during that time. This was when opinions started splitting: with or against?” The majority was throwing harsh comments and insults at her while a small number of people showed support.
Many people claimed that she disrespected her profession as an academic lecturer and that she deserved to be punished for her actions.
This doesn’t stop there, and It actually gets worse as some people started leaking private photos and videos from Mona’s private account, questioning her morals and behavior in pictures where she was wearing a bikini.
In addition, the Ministry of Higher Education said in a statement that the “personal freedom of faculty members in Egyptian universities is protected by the constitution and the law, but it should not go against the norms and ethics of the universities.”
4 years later, the court rejected her appeal
This year on September 13, 2022, the Supreme Court rejected Dr. Mona Prince’s appeal, confirming her final dismissal from work in Egyptian universities.
According to the court’s statement, the appeal was rejected because the professor insisted on repeating the publication of multiple clips of her dancing,” which degrades the prestige of the university professor, his message and his responsibility for spreading and upgrading values.”
The rejection also included the professor promoting ‘destructive ideas that violate public order.”
The court added that “it is not permissible for a university professor to dance publicly and detract her prestige in front of her students.” and “Personal freedom does not mean violating the values and traditions of society.”
Did Dr. Mona Prince really “violate the values and traditions of society” if the video was only intended for those close to her?
Mona Prince posted videos of her doing belly dancing on her personal Facebook account. But is it really worth all of this backlash and unnecessary insults and attacks from people?
The real question is, why is belly dancing always portrayed and perceived by society as an outrageous act that violates and threatens the values and traditions of society?
Last time we checked, belly dancing was a form of art and a valuable part of Egyptian culture and heritage. So why don’t we appreciate the beauty of it and the cultural value it holds instead of associating it with immorality and disgrace?
Prince’s case is not the first in Egypt
We’ve seen this happening in a similar case with Aya Youssef, an Arabic teacher at a primary school in Mansoura.
After a video of her dancing with colleagues on a boat on a school trip went viral, the Ministry of Education moved and referred 5 teachers, including Aya Youssef, to the Administrative Prosecution for investigation.
It is important to note that Aya did not know that someone was filming her while she was dancing on the Nile cruise, and the video was published without her consent.
Luckily, Aya received support from many activists and women. This helped the public and the people in powerful positions to rethink the situation. Finally, the local authorities quickly appointed teacher Aya to a position in a new school.
Finland’s prime minister can relate too
On an international level, the Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin too, couldn’t get away from society’s judgment and criticism over a leaked video of her dancing in a club.
On the other hand, she received massive support from social media users and was backed by women who shared videos of them dancing as a way to support her.
What are the real threats to society and morals?
These incidents and cases should allow us to think and reflect. But instead, we have a distorted understanding of what threatens society’s morals. Because seriously, what harm can a woman cause if she’s seen dancing in a video? Or does the problem rely on the fact that she is a woman?
If we truly want to discuss immorality and the destruction of societal and moral values, there’s a lot to unpack.
Why don’t we focus on addressing sexual harassment, misogynistic and hate speech that we witness nowadays in our society? How about we address that Egypt is one of the top countries that consume pornography? Aren’t these things the actual threats to morals and society?
It is time to start talking and having meaningful discussions to raise awareness about such issues and improve our society.
We are bearing the fruits of hundreds of years of educating younger generations about the wrong ideas about women and gender roles as we stand and watch several murder incidents and other forms of violence, harassment, and oppression being done against women.
With that said, we all agree that we need to focus on the real problems and give women a break.