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ESTER WISSA

    Ester Akhnoukh Fanous, known by Ester Wissa was born on February 19th in 1895 in Assiut. She is the daughter of doctor Akhnoukh Fanous and Balsam Wissa. She is graduated from the P.M.I. The national and religious atmosphere dominating her parents' house had a great influence on her personality; she accordingly knew the freedom through the ideas and opinions raised within her family and through the valuable books existing in her father's library. She revolted against the British colonialism in early 1919, when the famous lawyer, Makram Ebeid, a friend of their family visited them where she knew that Saad Zaghloul Pasha intended with some friends to travel to England demanding to lift British mandate on Egypt.

    Feeling grief when the demonstrations overwhelmed Cairo and the British shot the demonstrators, Ester wrote to the President of the U.S.A, Nelson saying: "Four persons were sent to fight in this battle" (she means Saad Zaghloul and his friends), "if it is urgent we will send 4 hundreds may be 4 thousands or 4 millions to liberate the 4 precedents. Triple of this number insists to establish justice in our homeland. Elders regain their strength, men are valiant and women are virile".

    Ester traveled to Cairo to meet with Safia Zaghloul who proposed the signature of three women on the message dedicated to President Wilson. Hundred women were gathered to sign this message and submit their objections; then they went in a feminist demonstration raising their flags and chanting slogans. After a long march, they were besieged by a group of the British army positioned in the capital streets. One among demonstrators shouted: "Kill me if you want". Ester and the women continued their march.

    Ester met with Hoda Shaarawi. Together, they decided to establish a committee representing the women of Egypt acting jointly with the delegation. In the church of Al-Morcossia, the women hold a meeting and three women voiced for the committee. Hoda Shaarawi was nominated as a chair and Fekria Hosny, Ehsan Al-Qoussy and Ester Wissa were nominated as secretaries. In her speech delivered on women emancipation and the remove of their veils, Ester Wissa said: "After Saad Zaghloul and his friends had been released from Malta, the women committee hold a meeting to celebrate this occasion. When Fekria Hosni was ready to deliver her speech and she was veiled, Saad Zaghloul removed her veil. Ever since women removed their veils". They hold a political meeting in a mosque where they delivered their speeches for the first time with men.

    On March 1923, Ester Wissa established with other women the "Egyptian Feminist Union" to improve women's level in literature and social aspect to promote them and be treated on equal footing with men in rights and obligations. She was involved in other associations such as: "Young Women Christian Association" and "Labor Association of Egypt" as well as other charitable associations.

    After being deeply grieved of her children's death and suffering deeply from her illness, Ester Wissa passed away on August 1990 leaving a significant influence of national unity and the endeavour to emancipate Egyptian Women.