The Egyptian Revolution? Joke!


arab dictatorThere was really no changing of the guard in Egypt, except the Muslim Brotherhood was replaced by the same old thuggery seen in Egypt before Morsi’s presidency.  Don’t think so?  Take a look at this!

Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court has ruled that all criticism of the Republic’s president is henceforth “forbidden”. The ruling came a day before the first episode of a new series of the renowned satirical TV programme “Al Bernameg”, trailed in advance as “Was that a Revolution or a Coup?” The court’s move sent a signal that the sort of criticism and mockery levelled at ousted President Mohamed Morsi will not be allowed under the coup government.

Did you catch that?  Evidently, to today’s Egyptian leaders it’s Morsi’s fault they have to forbid criticism of an Egyptian president because he, Morsi, allowed freedom of expression and criticism of Egyptian leaders.  In other words, Morsi’s democracy was too lenient for today’s leaders who have to crack down in authoritarian ways to right Morsi’s wrong.  Take that citizens of Egypt….your former leader was too good for you; you have to be beaten into submission, which dovetails so neatly with the stereotypical notion that Arabs don’t deserve democracy they can only be ruled by despotic dictators.

 

Where have we heard this before?


Saw this in one of the papers I read now and then and my jaw hit the floor

Illiteracy dashes hopes of democracy in Egypt

voterand thought to myself if you replace a few words like “minorities” instead of “illiteracy” and “America” instead of “Egypt” you’d have the typical #DemonicGOP talking point.  Haven’t we already seen how, through legislation, restricting voter registration and electoral participation has been a staple of the GOP nationwide?

We’ve mentioned before how Egyptian politics mimics American paranoia and  hysteria as Egyptian elites try to minimize or completely eradicate Islamists from their body politic with talk of unbelievable Muslim Brotherhood plots  straight from Tea Party fairy tales (manuals).  Talking about a segment of the population who negatively affects the electoral process is another talking point Egyptians have copied from American politicians…..and via their media no less.  Take a gander

 In a country where illiterate people constitute one-third of eligible voters, the concept of free elections is worrisome.

Nearly 16 million among the 53 million eligible voters cannot even read or write. Therefore, some liberal politicians believe there is no hope for democracy….

In a country where illiterate people constitute one-third of eligible voters, the concept of free elections is worrisome.

Nearly 16 million among the 53 million eligible voters cannot even read or write. Therefore, some liberal politicians believe there is no hope for democracy…

“It is a frustrating reality, but it could be changed with some planning and work on the ground. As the statistics indicate, only 45 per cent of registered voters went to vote and 4 million Egyptians rejected the idea of a religious state. We need to mobilise the 10 million Egyptians who support a civic state in the next voting for the new constitution, the parliament and the president,” added (Al Sayed Yassin, a veteran writer and consultant at Al Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies)

Do you not hear the strains of allowing only certain groups of people participation in  the voting process?  Does this not sound like Egyptians are being set up for poll taxes and literacy tests of a Jim Crow America; ideas that may become in vogue for a new America as well.  We know that in the name of democracy one of the largest political parties in Egypt will be outlawed and forbidden to participate in government but now it seems Egyptian elites want to call for disallowing large segments of Egyptians from participating as well.   Once again we see a parallel universe between Egyptian and American politics with fear being the catalyst for insane and anti-democratic processes disguised in the name of democracy.

UPDATE

For examples of the types of literacy tests voters Egyptians could face take a look here  at what Americans once faced.  Such tests weren’t designed to assess literacy rather they were designed to not allow targeted populations from participating in  governance.

EGYPT – A CALL IT IS TIME FOR THE CIVIL SOCIETY TO SPEAK OUT


Tariq Ramadan

The situation in Egypt is serious and the future seems bleak. Anything can happen. Although the specter of civil war is not yet a reality, one must consider all scenarios and act accordingly. It seems that the Power (both civilians and military) are divided on the strategy to be adopted. Some want to eradicate the Muslim Brotherhood and their organization, others want to impose conditions of survival without power, thus maintaining the illusion of a pluralistic and democratic future. All are reducing their opponents as only the “Muslim Brotherhood”, demonizing and calling them “terrorists” and “extremists.” Repression increases radicalization and justifies, a posteriori, the repression itself. A vicious cycle that we have seen in the modern history of Egypt.

Opponents to the coup, and among them the Muslim Brotherhood, have been rallying peacefully and they continue to demonstrate despite the state of emergency. Resistance, for several weeks, was non-violent and should remain so despite the provocations of military and police whose strategies are known. Mass executions or targeted, bribe of offenders (known as the baltaguiyya) to push them to attack the demonstrators, with, in addition, the increase in fires Coptic churches in order to widen the sectarian divide and feed bills (Sadat and Mubarak had used the same strategy).

While these protests continue to be peaceful, civil society – all tendencies – opposed to violence and military, must mobilize and form a united front around common, clear, bold but realistic position . A national coalition to be formed with women and men of the civil society – secular, Islamist, Copts, women, young activists – who are willing to open channels of dialogue with the authorities and asked:

egyptian protest

1. End of repression 2. The release of political prisoners, leaders and members of political parties, which would result, in fact, with the end of demonstrations 3. Determining the steps that should bring back the political process to the civilians, based on a negotiated political agenda and future elections.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Civil society must now speak out and refuse false rhetoric that spreads around that the Army is only opposed to Islamists. What is at stake is the democratic future of Egypt and it will never be positive with the Army in control. Actors of the civil society should indulge in self criticism (for their failure) and, at the same time, work together to overcome the crisis. Being a passive, non-violent observer of violence is, indeed, to make the indirect choice of violence.

 

Live by the mob, die by the mob


Mobs confront police

Mobs confront police

It was the Egyptian “mob” that brought Muhammad Mursi into power and it was the same mob that swept him out of power.  During the interim he managed to do some things for his country but in the minds of many alienated himself and his party from the majority of Egyptians.

Immediately after his rise, ascent to power, Mursi was faced with the usual Israeli aggression against the Palestinians and particularly in  Gaza.  No doubt he was being goaded by Israel in order to test his mettle.  His response was he  surprisingly managed the situation in a way to avoid further aggression and even win the praise of some in the West. At the same time he helped Gazans in a show of humanitarianism  rarely seen in Middle East politics.

Despite the intense economic difficulties facing Egypt Mursi refused to devalue the Egyptian pound, which would lower export costs and might be a short-term fix but have a negative impact for a  majority of Egyptians.  He was in the process of negotiating with the IMF for a loan that some said was necessary  but wanted, during his negotiations, to  avert the catastrophe of the ’70s when there was an increase in prices due to the IMF mandated reduction of government subsidies for necessities.  He almost seemed to be adhering to a GOP platform of no new taxes, refusing to raise taxes on  alcoholic drinks, cigarettes and a range of goods and services because of the impact it would have on Egyptians. Surprisingly, he and the IMF were even negotiating on those issues.

Mursi, however didn’t help himself much with some really stupid mistakes, like decreeing to himself powers that resembled the actions of a dictator, only to rescind such decrees a month later

The Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, has scrapped a decree that had generated widespread unrest by awarding him near-absolute powers…..

Selim al-Awa, an official who attended a “national dialogue meeting” called by Morsi at the presidential palace in Cairo but boycotted by his opponents, said the Islamist-dominated discussion recommended removing articles that granted the president powers to declare emergency laws and shield him from judicial oversight.

 

and having the baggage of the Muslim Brotherhood, that much maligned Islamic party certainly didn’t help Mursi’s chances with many Egyptians and others across the Arab world who feared a politically strong Islamist power  in the most powerful and populous Arab country.

Victim of the military's justice in Cairo

Victim of the military’s justice in Cairo

The problem with Mursi’s rise to power is that it was done at the behest of the mob and mobs by definition are unruly, lawless masses of people who are not visionary which is what is needed to govern, but rather reactionary by nature.  After 30 years of Mubarak’s despotic rule Egyptians had had enough and took their frustrations to the streets.  They were confronted by an army whose sole interest is remaining in power, no matter who the titular head of Egypt may be.  That army owns upwards of 40% of Egypt’s gross domestic product, it is a money making franchise for some but it is also brutal and often times as lawless as the mob it faces.

Mursi and his supporters hitched their political aspirations to the mob and upon seizing power diplomatically changed the make-up of the army.  It appeared the transition was smooth, but obviously it wasn’t because one year later the opposition’s mob used the same military to takeover power from Mursi in what could only be described as a banana  republic like act of political gamesmanship. One can expect that the same thing could happen again after whatever period of time passes. Even in the face of a Constitution, mob rule can negate at will laws and systems merely by taking to the streets and asking the military to join with it and if the population is used to, acquiesces to such displays of opposition the “when” just becomes a matter of time.

Trying to chart change by any yardstick to ANY party in power after a period of one year is inherently an exercise in futility. Using western models of political success for a government taking over the reins from a 30 year dictatorship is immature at best, doomed to failure at worse and so it (the Morsi government) was.  Articles appeared which sought to chart Morsi’s success after the first 100 days in office as if he possessed a magic wand that could change everything wrong with Egypt so shortly after Mubarak’s regime.  Mursi was even given a report card that detailed what he did and did not do, as if he alone was the catalyst for change among a nation mired in neglect and overwhelming collapse.  When the obvious happened, i.e. he could not produce for Egypt what it was promised after one year, the mob took to the streets and exclaimed it was only doing what was necessary to protect the country.  One tweeter eloquently said, ‘You can call Egypt’s opposition groups many things, but not “liberal” — liberals don’t support military coups. Emerging secular extremism’….. a rather scary foreboding of what’s to come, perhaps.  Sadly, the same could have applied to Mursi’s climb to power a year ago, with the help of the same military.

mobruleEgypt therefore joins the ranks of those countries in the Arab spring that have not yet reached their zenith and are still societies of chaos and strife.  Palestine, Syria, Iraq, perennially Lebanon are all embroiled in some sort of prolonged armed struggle which has disrupted the lives of its citizens and now Egypt can be added to the list.  Also, it’s interesting to note all of these countries are contiguous to or neighbors of Israel which profits militarily and economically from the instability of her neighbors by increased American largesse.  There are still other countries on the periphery with unrest, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Libya, Mali, which mars social cohesion and prosperity and endangers peace.  Moreover, indefinite instability is never good for any country, and the fact that Egyptians so quickly embraced it is almost suicidal for its hopes of an upturn in the economy, but they’ve gone down that road and there’s no turning back.

egypthistoryWhat is equally troubling is too many in the West seem to encourage Egyptians to use yardsticks that are wholly inappropriate for what it is Egypt is facing.  What democracy can expect a 180 degree turn in the political direction of a country of 82.5 million people in anything less than decades?  How can it be that a society as old as Egypt, centuries old some would say extending to the very beginning of mankind, should expect a political reconstruction in anything less than years and why is it that people with  internal clocks that date to the Pharaohs feel the need to be in such a hurry?  It almost seems as if  it’s against their nature.   The usual course of affairs in democracies is ineffective leaders are voted out of office, not run out as was the case with Mursi.  Why anyone from a western styled democracy would suggest anything other than that for Egyptians is suspicious.  Democracies are big ships with many different captains at the helm who must all work in sync with one another.  When brought together for the first time, the cooperation needed to successfully guide the ship of state takes time..years, not months.  Almost six years after the waning days of the Bush Administration, America is still trying to recover from merely 8 years of unbridled spending and rampant military  adventurism which pales in comparison to 30 years of Mubarak’s rule.   Do Egyptians think they possess some other other worldly recuperative powers that can rebuild their country so quickly?

Hardly. Let us hope the disease for the change of power at the hands of mobs is quickly replaced in Egypt with true representative government  that’s instituted not at the threat of a gun barrel but by participatory democracy.  This must be the goal and the means to be employed by all concerned, those in power today and those who oppose them.

 

 

Just when you thought it was safe…..


to think the new Egyptian president might lead his country into post Hosni Mubarak era filled with political stability for his country and economic recovery Muhammad Morsi had to go and do something as stupid as this

Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi issued decrees giving himself broad powers and effectively neutering the judiciary.

All laws and decisions by the president are final, cannot be appealed, overturned or halted by the courts or other bodies. This applies to decisions he has made since taking office in June and any he makes until a new constitution is approved and a new parliament is elected, expected in the spring at the earliest.

The president can take any steps or measures necessary to prevent threats to “the revolution, the life of the nation or national unity and security” or to the functioning of state institutions.

and it goes without saying, and justifiably so, many people in Egypt see this for what it is, a broad and sweeping grab for power.  Fresh off the revolution that swept Morsi into  power, Egyptians took to the streets to protest Morsi’s announcements which caught many off guard, including Miscellany101, who days before tweeted, ‘Can we say a re-elected Obama and an”Islamist” Egypt put the brakes on Israel’s bloodlust?’

President Morsi meets EU Council President, He...

 

Morsi’s decrees also come after others who made similar and equally glowing assessments of the president’s positive influence on regional affairs. Egypt’s President Morsi feted for negotiating role, proclaimed The Telegraph, which said Morsi is now Washington’s friend and a man of peace.  The Guardian, perhaps a little more prophetically said in its banner headline, Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi proves a deft, adroit and ruthless leader and one has to wonder what did Morsi think would be the response to his power grab on the part of people who are so finely tuned to oppression and ruthlessness after decades of Mubarak rule and who still have the sweat drenched, blood soaked clothes from Tahrir Square demonstrations and the various weapons or social media, social and international contacts, they amassed during that time!  No matter what Morsi might have accomplished vis-a-vis Gaza and the bloodbath that was sure to occur at the hands of an unfettered and criminal Israeli regime, many people in Egypt  view the decrees of an Egyptian president that gave himself limitless powers over his country in much the same negative light as an Israeli invasion force in Gaza. In the absence of a firm date for ratification of the Constitution which Morsi said was the reason for his latest decrees, and given how power is such a seductive drug to the initiated and uninitiated alike, one can only moan in despair at a wholly inappropriate, dare I say illegal or immoral, act of unrestrained and raw individual/party power.   What he has done is further alienated himself and his party among the people of Egypt  who view his moves as done for personal aggrandizement and not for the benefit of  Egyptian society.

Just who are the Muslim Brotherhood


They certainly haven’t infested every branch of American government or life that many of the Islamophobes claim.  I found this excerpt revealing

It has become accepted wisdom in some circles that the Muslim Brotherhood is a force for progressive change, even democracy, in Egypt. Since the mid-1980s when the Brotherhood entered electoral politics in a coalition with the allegedly liberal Wafd party, its leaders have embraced the rhetoric of political reform. On the eve of the 1990 parliamentary elections, the Brotherhood’s then Supreme Guide Mohamed Abul Nasr penned an open letter to President Mubarak in which he boldly stated, “Freedom is dear and it is preferable for you to avoid your nation’s anger and riots. It cannot be imagined that any people will remain under subjugation and repression after hearing and witnessing surrounding nations achieve their freedom and dignity…A nation’s power is derived not from material power, but from the entire citizenry’s liberty, the people’s trust in the government, and the government’s trust in the people.” Those are reassuring (and prescient) words–even 22 years after the fact–but the Brothers have always been rather fuzzy about what democracy means to them, falling back on the concept of shura or “consultation,” which could or could not be the foundation of Egyptian democracy. They have also been vague about shari’a. While Morsi and Brotherhood big wallas have said that they will implement Islamic law, members of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party told the American foreign policy establishment during a visit in March that they support “the principles of shari’a, but not necessarily its particular legal rulings.” I guess that sounds fine to the uninitiated, but the statement amounts to nothing more than obfuscation.

It is entirely possible that the Brothers are democrats despite themselves. Here is the theory: Hammered as they are between the military, which still controls the guns, and other political forces including revolutionaries who mistrust the Islamists and thus can stir up trouble, the Brotherhood could determine that their only source of power is through the ballot box. As a result, the Brothers will seek regularly scheduled, free and fair elections as the only way to legitimate their power. In time, this will transform the Brothers into committed democrats. Never mind (cliché warning) that elections don’t make democracy, but this is roughly what happened in Europe and how theocratic parties of the 19th century became today’s Christian Democrats. There are many insights to be gleaned from Europe’s experiences, but it is important to remember that history can be a guide, but it is not a blueprint.

In the end, the intellectually honest answer about the Brothers’ commitment to democracy is, we just don’t know. It’s an empirical question. Let’s pay less attention to what they say and focus on what they are doing.

The last line is especially insightful and mature given the topic at hand.

A New Day in Egypt


The Egyptian revolution has brought about a change in the attitude of many progressive minded Egyptian Muslims who recognize the importance of the cohesiveness of their society.

The Muslim Brotherhood has called on Egypt’s ruling military ‎council to provide security for Christian churches during Coptic ‎Christmas celebrations on 7 January as it did for polling stations ‎during the first two rounds of parliamentary elections.‎

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the group also promised ‎to draw up “popular committees” to help protect churches ‎against “iniquitous hands” that might attempt to spoil Christmas ‎celebrations as happened more than once under “the corrupt ‎regime” of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.‎

Almost one year ago, on New Year’s Eve, more than twenty Coptic ‎Christians were killed when a bomb exploded outside a church ‎in Alexandria. One year earlier, on 6 January, eight Copts were ‎killed outside a church in the Upper Egyptian city of Naga ‎Hammadi.‎

In January of this year, only weeks before the popular uprising ‎that culminated in Mubarak’s ouster, Muslim activists formed ‎human shields around churches on Coptic Christmas in an ‎expression of national unity. ‎

In its Wednesday statement, the Muslim Brotherhood also ‎announced that a delegation headed by leading group member ‎Mahmoud Ezzat would attend Christmas mass.‎

Many have been led to believe the Muslim Brotherhood, or MB, is the next anti-christ and no matter what they do they will always be portrayed as such but this move in an Egypt which is lawless and leaderless is a step in the right direction. It won’t be long before people in the media, and the pundits, return to the rhetoric of hate and racism in an attempt to add lawlessness to the Egyptian society.

No Comment


Finally! An ally who embraces, at least in part, some of our principles and DOES NOT want our money! Imagine that!


We talked before about how many in the newly emerging Egypt have said no to US funds because they see such money as a way to negatively influence their burgeoning “new” democracy.  It’s not that these Egyptians don’t like America, what’s not to like about America the leader of the free world, it’s just that they want to define their social movements and institutions and not have that done for them by others.

“There are development partners that have for some time now been pushing the democracy and human rights agenda,” said Talaat Abdel Malek, an advisor to the Ministry of International Cooperation, which overseas foreign aid. “And I understand that and I understand the need for it, but there comes a point when there is something that is called national sovereignty that has to be respected.”

Every nook and cranny of Egyptian society, except for the marxists, has called for a democratic Egypt so their reasoning goes, there is no need to make that such a strong push by outside forces.  There are even some in Egypt who sound like today’s American GOP

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is campaigning for September’s parliamentary elections on a platform to trim the country’s budget deficit.

“It’s always better for any country to build on the basis of investment and not loans,” Khairat el-Shater, 61, deputy leader of the Brotherhood, said in an interview in Cairo.

“A lot of investors have been very nervous of the prospects of a government with a strong Brotherhood representation,” said Elijah Zarwan, a Cairo-based senior analyst at the International Crisis Group research group. “The Brotherhood is aware of this and they are trying to reassure foreign investors by saying ‘look, we are businessmen, we are business owners and professionals.’” The Brotherhood is also proposing to cut spending, sell state-run media, link subsidies to job creation and slow inflation.

All of the above sounds like talking points for any candidate running for office in America.  To further underscore the convergence of American ideals with a surfacing Egyptian “democracy” explained in its own terms comes this

The rector of what is arguably the world’s oldest university, a bastion of Sunni scholarship with international influence, has come out in favour of a modern, democratic, constitutional Egyptian state…Ahmed el-Tayyeb, the grand sheik of Al-Azhar University in Cairo  denies that Islam permits a “priesthood state” – an implied criticism of Iran. (The Al-Azhar) document is not apolitical, however; it endorses the separation of powers and equal rights for all citizens…it says that the principles of sharia should be the basic source of law. But at least this is not new; since 1981, the Constitution of Egypt, under an ostensibly secularist regime on the Kemal Ataturk model, has a clause saying the same thing. For some reason, perhaps in an attempt to compete with the Muslim Brotherhood, Anwar Sadat added a mild version of this clause in 1971; Hosni Mubarak took it further in 1981.

The Al-Azhar document is, however, based on the work of a broad range of scholars and activists, including Coptic Christians, several of whom signed it. The paper says that Christians and Jews should be free to govern their own lives with guidance from their own authorities.

With such proclamations coming from a post Mubarak Egypt, what could only be construed as assurances to the West that embrace Western concepts of governance, rights and responsibilities,  it’s easy for this observer to understand the unease Egyptians have with continued attempts of foreign institutions and governments to change the course of Egyptian “democracy” into something else.  By not accepting funds, Egyptians seem to be saying while they like what we stand for, they don’t want us telling them how to do it themselves.  In America’s present state of budget deficits, lost and or stolen money and calls for more austerity on the backs of the poor and middle class, ordinarily one would welcome such a friend who says thanks but no thanks to offers that neither help them or us.  We should do more to encourage such friendship among our international allies.

 

 

 

 

Too Many Strings Attached


The Egyptian government has decided not to accept any funds from Washington to help it along with its democratization after the overthrow, somewhat peacefully I might add, of former president Hosni Mubarak.  The government has warned non-governmental organizations not to accept money from Washington saying doing so only undermines the security of Egypt at a very delicate time in its history.  Normally that would be good advice and even Americans should be happy that an ally is not extending its hand during our hard times but removing Washington’s ability to control the internal politics of a country once under its sway is most likely an anathema to career politicians who will use such information as this to start to discredit the Egyptian government.  Let’s not forget elections have not taken place in Egypt yet; it is still under the control of the  military which means any rejection of US aid could merely be posturing on Egypt’s part.  Moreover there may be some things that have to be addressed as far as Washington is concerned before such aid is actually given, or perhaps more sinisterly such aid is extended to lay the seeds for future discord should things not go according to Washington’s plan.  For now, Egypt with a history that dates Americas by several centuries has declared itself independent of American money, and that’s a good thing for them and us.

Raped by hands


Lara Logan, the CBS correspondent who was assaulted in Cairo, Egypt during the “Egyptian revolution” has finally come out and spoken about what happened to her.  It sounds very dramatic and Logan does an excellent job of provoking the imagery, stimulating the schemata but it rings flat on my dead old ears.  Not because I assume the typical attitude of many who don’t believe a rape victim’s story or dismiss it but because Logan, a member of the main stream media elite, has a job that depends on her exciting such mental images of noble wars of empire and chivalrous soldiers intent on serving the Nation or rescuing damsels like herself from the hordes of grabbing, prodding savages of far away place.

Initially we were told she was raped or suffered a violent assault.  Now we are told, by her, that she was ‘raped by hands’ an equally evocative expression.  It’s second nature to her, it’s her job to blur distinctions and make things equivalent when they are not.  Cairo, the city where the ‘rape by hands’ took place is 20 million strong and about a million of them were in Tahrir Square the night Logan’s attack took place.  Raping by hands undoubtedly happened to a lot of people there, men and women, who were jammed in an area not meant for their numbers.

Logan had previously been expelled from Egypt by the Mubarak regime, who at that time was an ally with America in its war on terror, but she was able to re-enter the country shortly thereafter. It appears even from her account she was recognized or identified as being a spy, an Israeli, a Jew or any other appellation to single her out from the rest and then set upon, but how and by whom it is not clear.  One account seems to suggest that Logan wasn’t raped by hands, but rather man handled as she was led away from the place where she was reporting.   Another female reporter claims she too was groped, fondled, sexually assaulted by the crowd but certainly not to the extent that her clothes were ripped off or that she felt fear for  her life.  Instead, this female reporter  claims, defiance at how she was violated;

In the middle of that crowd I suddenly found hands in the intimate parts of my body. When I realised that this was not a one-off incident, but that many people were interested in touching me, I felt vulnerable and became angry.

In an instinctive response, I wanted to smack the molesters, but they disappeared fast. Touching and pulling went on for some minutes when people around me started to notice what was happening.

My Egyptian friends and other friendly Egyptians closed the space around me, and gave precise instructions: while I was pulled forward, they told me to finger point to those people who were molesting me. They looked different from the bright, celebrating faces. After taking me out of the crowd, my new bodyguards turned against the attackers. An awful quarrel started.

With the right embellishment, the account above can turn into ‘rape by hands’ as well as a fear of an impending death, but the above account doesn’t give one that impression; moreover, she doesn’t seem to have assumed the role of  victim and is far too combative to warrant collective sympathy.  I get the impression she would and could readily wipe the floor with her attackers and instead of pitying her want to cheer her on to just such an end.  Yet that’s not what I  feel when I  listen to Logan.

What happened to her reminds me of  an amplified Adela Quested of A Passage to India, the book by E.M. Forster.  Quested an adventurous woman visiting colonized India  became confused after venturing alone into one of the Marabar Caves and emerges from it accusing her host of raping her.  What really happened is a story of human psychology, where a young woman backed up by a cultural belief in her absolute desirability focuses her rage and confusion on one man because of the damage he and by extension everyone in his group, i.e. Indians  have done to her emotional well being.  Logan reminds me of that Quested character , as she spoke of how she was penetrated front and back by the hands of rape during her 60 Minutes interview.  Yet all we have is her word.  None of the people who were with her have been interviewed, she does identify them and one was American, nor do we hear  from any of her rescuers even though she speaks pointedly of how they helped her.  Do we, the general public need to hear any of this or that?  Is it necessary to be allowed into Logan’s pain and suffering?  No, but Logan chose to reveal it to us, to take us there, and give a face to rape.  For me it’s hard to disassociate it from the other faces she’s given us in her role as a reporter.

The Politics of Rape


It will be interesting to see if CBS reporter Lara Logan will come out and set the record straight on what happened to her when she was in Cairo, Egypt covering the downfall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime.  Surely she is reading, listening and watching the coverage about her alleged rape and the motivation behind it; some news reports claim the attackers were shouting Jew, Jew while raping her.  We here in America have been conditioned to believe that rape is a crime of violence, but in today’s hatred drenched society, where everything that has to do with the Middle East, Arabs, Muslims and Islam is magnified and collective guilt is the order of the day, rape has become a political football tossed about to further denigrate Muslims and Arabs in order to advance a political agenda.

In the case of Egypt, it’s not hard to know what that agenda is.  Mubarak, a long time ally of America is gone.  As the second largest recipient of US aid Egypt was instrumental  in allowing the genocide of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to go on unflinchingly by a bloodthirsty and determined Israeli military.  His loss is a blow to the aim of eliminating, wiping Palestinians off the face of the map.  The prevailing mood in Western societies today is to set up the straw man of Islam as something to be feared and there is no greater victim that is ravaged by Islam than a white woman.  Much like the fear of 20th century America to African-Americans and the thought that every white female was the center of their lust, the perpetrator has been replaced by the Arab Muslim.

There’s no doubt Egypt and Egyptian men have a problem with sexual harassment.  Just ask the countless number of Egyptian women who have had to bear the brunt of that despicable act, something I might add we wrote about here when no one else was talking about it but their problem has nothing to do with their religion if we believe in the conventional wisdom that says rape is violence.  Otherwise, what do we account for the statistics found here about rape and the American woman on American soil, far removed from the so called Islamic menace?

There were 248,300 rapes/sexual assaults in the United States in 2007, more than 500 per day, up from 190,600 in 2005. Women were more likely than men to be victims; the rate for rape/sexual assault for persons age 12 or older in 2007 was 1.8 per 1,000 for females and 0.1 per 1,000 for males.7

Nearly one in four women in the United States reports experiencing violence by a current or former spouse or boyfriend at some point in her life.4

Do these statistics mean that 25% of all American men are liars when they say they love the women in their lives who they eventually go on to rape, and that therefore ALL American men are liars and rapists?    Or what about this comment from a person in a position of authority who had this to say about the rape of a woman who had gone to him for help

…’it must have been God’s will for her to be raped’ and recommended that she attend church more frequently.”

are we to conclude therefore that the Judeo-Christian ethic at work in America turns a blind eye to victims of rape and suggests their only remedy is increased attendance at their houses of worship, thereby making the law as impotent as their rapist no doubt was?  Yet pundits like Michael Graham of the Boston Herald too readily dismiss such connections to American culture and rape while reaping it upon Arab and Muslim culture because such shoddy journalism is en vogue in today’s media.

Having 200 “good guys” gang assault a female reporter while screaming “Jew! Jew!” doesn’t fit the narrative. Is that why CBS sat on the story?

Or is it the cultural issue? A rape in a bar is a sex crime. But a pack of political protesters who rape a “Jew” in public is a story about culture.

Graham gets it wrong on both counts; a rape in a bar is a violent crime, that has nothing to do with sex, but with control and a rape in public by people shouting Jew, if that’s what they were shouting, is also a crime of violence but in today’s journalism, the goal posts can be easily moved around in order to validate the racism inherent in the notions about Islam and Muslims, and no one sees anything wrong with that.  Men, who may never commit a rape or wouldn’t even dream of it are able to cast aspersions against those who do and make huge leaps to ascribe motive when rape is as simple, or bestial if you were, as inherent and primal as human nature itself; as murder, assault, or any other crime against humanity.  Logan wasn’t assaulted because of  politics…..ask the countless numbers of women in Egypt and America if their rape had anything to do with politics or religion.  She was assaulted because of the rage and violence, the fantasy and the lust that whipped her attackers into a frenzied orgy of lawlessness.  If you don’t believe me, just ask one of the women you might know who was raped.  Chances are you do know someone who was.

More from Egypt


Cairo, prayers at dusk in the shadow of the army, bloodied but unbowed (photograph by Guy Martin)

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The Egyptian Unrest


It’s very difficult to know what’s going on in Egypt.  You can be sure there’s as much going on behind the scenes as what is shown on TV or found on the printed page.  It appears however that the demonstrations against Mubarak are secular in nature, and widespread, although why it has taken this manifestation at this time is unclear.  Mubarak has been the only president since Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981, which means he has been in power for thirty years.  Of course we here in the West wouldn’t accept a ruler come to power, declare martial law and remain in power for that long.  Many people can’t bear an Obama administration that lasts only four years, so the excuse that Mubarak is necessary for peace and stability in the Middle East is ludicrous.

Also ludicrous is the insane fear surrounding one of the largest parties in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood.  A very good piece that you probably won’t read or hear about in main stream press here makes some very good points about that party.  Even the  mild mannered former International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei, for now says he is willing to work with them to build Egypt.

The Egyptian Brotherhood renounced violence years ago, but its relative moderation has made it the target of extreme vilification by more radical Islamists…..Egypt’s new opposition leader, former International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei, has formed a loose alliance with the Brotherhood because he knows it is the only opposition group that can mobilize masses of Egyptians, especially the poor. He says he can work with it to change Egypt. Many scholars of political Islam also judge the Brotherhood is the most reasonable face of Islamic politics in the Arab world today.

Meanwhile, Egyptians from across all religious denominations have come together to oppose the 30 year reign of Mubarak, with the rallying cry, ‘Muslims, Christians we are all Egyptians’;  this coming after recent attacks against Christian churches, which were blamed on Egyptian Muslims but were roundly and uniformly condemned by them,  will surely be exploited by Israel and other secularists who want to drive a wedge between the two groups. The Mubarak regime won’t relinquish power easily and is even willing to allow lawlessness to reign during the unrest in order to make the point he is indispensable.  Moreover there is now the threat of the Army or some other forces which have the ability to do so to shed blood on a score sufficient to get the people to stop for what is now a spontaneous eruption against a despot.  Look for just that result; it will be meant as a sign for all Middle Easterner who are chaffing under oppressive regimes not to follow the examples of Tunisia or Egypt.

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