Why Is this Woman Smiling? C’mon, you know the answer to that!


As’ad AbuKhalil in his blog post asks, regarding the photo above of Dominique Strauss-Kahn and his wife who is smiling after charges were dropped against him, why is she smiling when the dropped charges mean her husband was engaged in consensual sex.  I hope his was a rhetorical question.  A fairer question would be why has corporate media and particularly New York city media taken such a like to an avowed socialist and former communist?

As for the former, Strauss-Kahn has returned to being  one of the most powerful men in the world  after these charges were dropped.  Even though he is no longer in charge of the IMF, a vindicated DSK could declare his candidacy for the presidency of France in an election only a year away. If he were to defeat Sarkozy, the hugely unpopular incumbent, Strauss-Kahn would then govern a country that is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and has the world’s third-biggest arsenal of nuclear weapons. That’s why his wife is smiling.  Power is an aphrodisiac that his wife Anne Sinclair has grown accustomed to and likes.  She lives with, tolerates his very public infidelities in order to remain his wife, close to the center of power.  She has abrogated her role as a wife and taken on the role  of a call girl, prostitute, mistress.  In the process, she is teaching her two sons from her first husband a valuable lesson in how French women are supposed to behave.

I think the answer to the latter question lies in the racial, socio-economic complexities of this case.  An African housekeeper who has a questionable past is far less valuable and certainly more vulnerable than a white reporter reporting during the Arab spring from Cairo, Egypt who claims she was traumatized, raped and then goes into a months long seclusion before emerging to tell her story.  No aspects of Laura Logan’s story were questioned or examined, except by bloggers like us, and consequently journalistically she remains pure and her story blemish free.  Not so for DSK’s victim who faces potential legal action  by DSK himself, which is meant to show to the poor and disenfranchised when they are pitted against the rich and powerful there  is nor should they expect justice.  No doubt that’s another reason why Strauss-Kahn’s wife is smiling.

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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.

Black is white and up is down


Cover of January, 1915 National Geographic Mag...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve just seen the Nic Robertson interview with Imam al-Obeidi, the Libyan woman who says she was gang raped by Qaddafi‘s thugs and I’ve got all these swirling emotions going on in my head that I have to put down on paper.First of all, I was more than a little put off by Robertson’s calm assertion that Obeidi seems to be healing physically rather well from her assault. Let’s remember she was held for several days and repeatedly raped and brutalized by several men only three short weeks ago, during the week of the 21st of March. If you believe as I that rape is a crime of violence, then platitudes about how well she’s doing are too paternalistic for my stomach. Yes, it’s amazing she’s gone on and done an interview with him, and she was very calm throughout it, but her ordeal is far from over as she stated, and her wounds are much deeper than Robertson could know.

His attitude reminds me of the National Geographic types who have no problem showing pictures of naked female aborigines or Africans while claiming to be sterile and clinical in their approach to female nudity but would recoil at the prospect of doing something similar with women from Western society because it’s simply not appropriate. Obeidi’s motives have also been rather suspect in the eyes of some…..even I have cast a sideways glance at her when her story first appeared. We have been bamboozled by people who claim to have been victims, in an attempt to get what some consider the correct foreign policy response, as a result of a pleading victim…in most cases a woman. The Kuwaiti kid who went before Congress to lie about babies and incubators and the the female military service members captured by the Iraqi Army in the beginnings of the last Iraqi campaign all come to mind. Even the Libyan government called into question its victim’s motives, calling her a drunk, a whore and every conceivable name we usually toss at women who are the victims of sexual assault…….especially those women we don’t like and think somehow deserved what they got. But it’s altogether conceivable that this is what it seems, a woman who was brutalized by a brutal dictator who’s been around for a very long time who is completely indifferent to the everyday life of his people. As far as Qaddafi and his supporters are concerned, Obeidi merely was in the wrong place at the wrong time, like countless others in Libya and if she doesn’t look after herself no one else will either, certainly not the leaders of Libya.

While I watched the interview at the hands of a condescending Robertson, I couldn’t help but think if that were Lara Logan, would his tone be any different? You remember Logan, don’t you, the television reporter who said she was raped while covering the Egyptian uprising in February. We wrote about her previously. Since returning to America and her family, Logan has been neither seen nor heard from and I don’t know of any efforts to secure an interview with her to get her side of her story of Tahrir Square. Rather, it seems the “story” of Logan’s rape is the news about Nir Rosen’s tweet that looked sideways at what happened to her and the employment ramifications for him that Logan’s claim of rape has been. Rosen has been hounded or had to resign from two different jobs as a result of reminding people that Logan has been a water carrier for America’s wars of empire in the Middle East AND for quite frankly minimizing her rape as a groping, which others have asserted is really what happened in the first place. So what we have is the National Geographic type attitude towards rape….we can be clinical and far removed enough from the ugliness of rape to conduct an interview with a Libyan rape victim, still kept apart from her family and support structure by  an oppressive dictator, and ask all the right questions because it’s in the interest of journalistic integrity…..questions we might never ask someone who looked like Lara Logan nor even dare assert we have the right to ask. In the end however, both women, al-Obeidi and Logan, are asking us to do the same thing; take a look at the people behind the violence that was committed against them. Unfortunately the supporters of both women have perverted that message and made it a political rather than a criminal message they aim to convey. At least Obaidi has been more honest about it than Logan. Obeidi has come out squarely against the Qaddafi regime and pointed, indirectly, a finger at him for who is responsible. Logan’s supporters, particularly those among the press have made their points too, but it has been a finger of aspersion at Arabs, Muslims, Egyptians, men…the baby and the bath water. This is what has made what happened to Logan disingenuous and cheapens and diminishes her. So maybe Robertson, CNN indeed Logan’s own network ought to insist with as much vigor as they can muster that she be interviewed on television too to provide her side of the story and remove all doubt. No one will insist that, and some may even castigate me for saying that they should. Meanwhile I applaud the courage of all women who stand up to their attackers and demand justice!

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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.

Israeli Disinformation in a Media Outlet You May Read or Watch


The Israeli government is clearly up to, planning,  attacks against some of its neighbors as it hypes up, read that lies, allegations about what they are doing.  First comes this incredible, un-sourced story, a former Revolutionary Guard member talks about deflowering Iranian girls who were to be executed.  Clearly this piece of work is aimed at legitimizing an Israeli attack on Iran.  It is doubly anonymously un-sourced so isn’t really worth the bandwidth it passes on, but it has already gotten play in such reputable places as here, although it’s good to see in the comments section people aren’t buying it as readily as some would like.

The next incredibly stupid story is this one about the Pope and the Vatican, which appeared here.  This story was so unbelievable that halfway through the article the writer seems to doubt the authenticity of what he/she’s writing about!  This second story is more insidious because it takes aim at both the Roman Catholic Church as well as Hizbollah.  Jews it seems are at war with both Christianity, that is the branch that’s not politically zionist leaning, as well as Islam, so both are fair game.  While you read this latest bunch of news emanating from Israel to cover Netanyahu’s belligerence towards his US sponsors, consider this: Israel is the only country in the Middle East and Europe that is a foreign occupier and which regularly wages war against its neighbors.  Murder is the engine that drives and gives meaning to the Israeli government.  Just ask the Palestinians.

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