By: Rahma Diaa
Inspired by her will to oppose the injustice that faces girls like her, the Egyptian-Palestinian director Safia Baraka created the first Egyptian superheroine.
Baraka maintains that the comic book character, Lamis, was inspired by Egyptian women, whom she sees as heroines, given the everyday struggles that they endure.
Unlike mainstream superheros, Lamis is not driven by superior moral motives to combat evil.
"[She] is an Egyptian girl who grew out of an unstable home. The father isn't there, and she went down an unfortunate road and turned from a school girl into a drug dealer," Baraka told Aswat Masriya.
"Lamis considered herself a bad person, and she judged herself that way. She forgot that any road, good or evil, always has a way back," she said, adding, "and that the good could be bad in certain circumstances, and under different circumstances the bad can also be good."
There is also a story behind the heroine's name which will be revealed gradually throughout the sequence of events in the comic's narrative, Baraka stated.
Baraka's husband, the director and photographer Hamed Yehia, is also her partner in producing the comics of Lamis. He draws the characters and Baraka writes the dialogue.
The couple had initially wanted to produce a film about Lamis' story before they turned it into a comic book character due to the lack of backing from any film production company.
"It is important for any artist to get their work across, regardless of the means," Baraka told Aswat Masriya.
The idea is that Lamis dresses resembles the average woman, and this is so that regular girls can relate to her, Baraka explains. She also hopes that Lamis will bring about change in societal misconceptions about women and what they are capable of doing.
It is about building strong characters and personalities rather than physical strength, Baraka explained to Aswat Masriya.
The first in the series of Lamis' adventures was launched last July through “Koshk Comics," a cellphone application.
"Every morning we see heroines with super powers in Egypt's streets. All they care about is protecting their children, educating them well, and raising them with manners and principles. They were outside and inside, carrying their families' burdens on their shoulders," Baraka said.