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Free-wheeling Revolution

Photo Credit: Girls’ Revolution

The breezy pleasure of riding a bicycle “is one of our simplest dreams“, explains Girls’ Revolution, an online initiative promoting women’s freedom of movement in all spheres. But this dream can often seem unattainable in the crush of Cairo traffic—especially for women, who daily suffer sexual harassment on Egypt’s busy streets.

Breaking through this double gridlock is the aim of GR’s latest online and on-the-streets initiative to get women biking—and in the long run liberated from negative social judgments. October 12 marks the revolution’s inaugural co-ed bike ride through Cairo to Al-Azhar Park.

“We aim to confirm that women have the right to do what they want, whenever they want, wherever they need,” declares one GR member. “We are truly seeking the day when an Egyptian woman can go anywhere she wants on a bicycle without fearing street harassers or anyone.” Besides, he added, introducing bike culture to Cairo could alleviate some of its chronic traffic jams.

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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