CRAPtastic

You may remember my coining of the acronym CRAP - Courageous Arab Reformist Personality - to describe the people who have made it a lucrative business to appeal to Western (and especially American) sensitivities by posturing as daring reformists taking on their countries' repressive culture. Typically, this involves adopting a position so out of touch with the realities of practical political activism for the only purpose of appealing to liberal Western sensitivities.

I have to say, this story in the Washington Post takes the prize for concentrated CRAPpiness, especially this unbelievable quote abusing the memory of Neda Agha-Soltan, whose death from a bullet wound during the recent Tehran protests was captured on video:

"Everyone is so shocked to see that beautiful young girl dying and looking so modern and secular," said Azar Nafisi, author of "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and a professor at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.


Does this mean that if she had not looked "so secular and modern" the outrage would have been less?

Actually, that's probably exactly what it means. [Thanks, SP]
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Issandr El Amrani

Issandr El Amrani is a Cairo-based writer and consultant. His reporting and commentary on the Middle East and North Africa has appeared in The Economist, London Review of Books, Financial Times, The National, The Guardian, Time and other publications. He also publishes one of the longest-running blog in the region, www.arabist.net.