News

Feminist Activists Bleed and Defecate on Islamic State Flag #NSFW

by Jillian Steinhauer on August 27, 2014

Detail of Aliaa Magda Elmahdy and Femen's photo protesting the policies of the Islamic State

Detail of Aliaa Magda Elmahdy and Femen’s photo protesting the policies of the Islamic State, scroll down for full image. (via Twitter/femeninna)

Egyptian feminist activist Aliaa Magda Elmahdy made a statement against the Islamic State (IS) this past weekend with the release of an explicit photograph on her Facebook page. The picture shows Elmahdy naked and menstruating on the flag of IS, while alongside her a woman dressed in a black hijab flicks off the camera and defecates on the flag too. The letters IS are painted on both women’s bodies. According to LiveLeak, “Arab media across the Middle East avoided publishing the photo, since the words ‘there is no God but Allah’ are printed on the desecrated flag.”

For the photo, Elmahdy was working in tandem with Femen, the controversial Ukrainian feminist group known for its nude and topless protests. Elmahdy linked up with the group in the wake of her first foray into public nudity, in 2011, when the then-20-year-old posted photos of herself wearing only stocking and red shoes on her blog. The pictures sparked a huge uproar in Egypt, and Elmahdy says she was charged by the state and briefly kidnapped because of them. She received political asylum in Sweden, where she continues to live. It was there that she met and participated in naked protests with members of Femen.

Elmahdy is not talking to the media about the new photo targeted at IS, but Vice discussed it with Inna Shevchenko, founder of Femen — whose logo, two circles with a vertical line between them, is also painted on one of the women in the IS photo. Shevchenko explains that the picture was a direct response to the video showing the murder of journalist James Foley: “With our photo message we propose our own ‘way of execution’ of Islamic State ideas,” she said. “Our caption to the photo reads: ‘Animals, our execution of your ideas looks like that! Watch it well! We don’t demand ransoms, we don’t threaten you with new killings, we just SHIT ON YOU, ISIS!'”

Shevchenko continues:

With the picture we want to criticize the killings, rapes, and public executions by Islamic fascists, who are breaking news. This is what the Islamic State wants. They want the world to obey their ideas. Spreading their video messages of executions and sharing their speeches, we do a good job for them, we serve the Islamic State. Instead we should spread our message to them. Enough of tolerance! Don’t be scared to offend. Let’s hit them back with our answers, instead of giving them more space. The world is in fear, exactly as the Islamic State wants. We call not to fear them, but to resist them.

Although she’s not speaking to the press, Elmahdy continues to post on her blog, A Rebel’s Diary, and has been consistently tweeting and posting on Facebook the dizzying number of death and other threats she’s received in response to the photo.

In other bloody feminist protest news, a Belgian activist group called the Liliths dumped cans of red liquid, representing blood, on the floor of a terminal at Liège airport to protest the American arms passing through on their way to Israel:

Liege-LilithsIt’s interesting to think about the differences between the two: the Liliths’ protest falls under the umbrella of more traditional action, with striking documentation that can circulate around the internet and generate attention, whereas the substance of Elmahdy and Femen’s entire protest is the photo — not quite art, not quite meme, something that harnesses the power of both to get people talking. The picture’s also a reminder that, whether or not you think art can still shock, images certainly can.

The full photo

The full photo

h/t Reason.com

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