The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Posts tagged harassment
On Lara Logan and Egypt

I wrote a piece for the Daily Beast yesterday trying to put the sad attack on CBS correspondent Lara Logan in context. (Logan was reportedly "beaten and sexually assaulted" by a crowd the night Egyptians were celebrating Mubarak's resignation). 

A lot of US coverage has been, as far as I can tell, insensitive, sensationalistic or ridiculous (or some combination thereof). I have read incredibly inhumane comments focused on Logan's good looks; her supposed naivete in going into the crowds (never mind that she was just doing her job); and the ways in which she will supposedly milk this for her career (yeah, I wish it had happened to me, what a great way to advance). 

Then there are those who have taken this incident as an excuse to trot out their (non-existent) knowledge of the status of women in Islamic countries. Ironically, even as some right-wing commentators say Logan should have expected this in a country full of Muslim "savages," they reveal the misogyny of American culture by looking for ways to blame the victim of a sexual attack. 

Anyway, what happened to Logan is terrible--and it highlights the problem of sexual harassment in Egypt, which Egyptian women have been fighting for some time now. They may make more progress now that so many of them participated so fully in, and felt so empowered by, their country's revolution.

A woman's ordeal in Cairo #jan25

I have received this account of yesterday's events by an Egyptian university professor, in English and Arabic. See after the jump. I have taken off her name, which was originally on the email.

Around 6.30 pm down town cairo, i joined the demonstration on qasr el

nil street along with some friends and other people whom i don't know.

the protesters were marching  peacefully and politely and decently

from one street to another evading the security forces who were some

how at a loss at how to stop us, especially when we took to shawarbi

street, we were at the back, and the police officers behind and front

talking in their walki talki, we could hear them saying they don't

know how to besiege us. we kept on moving and more people were joining

us from the streets and shops, young men and women. we were chanting

the requests of egyptian people " leave " and " egyptian people want

the regime out ". we didn't attack any body, or destroy any shops or

cars... we were moving in the middle of streets without blocking the

traffic, just slowing it down until we reached sherif street and we

were heading towards 26 july street, then the security forces appeared

from behind and front. we started running, and  security police in

civilian clothes started grabbing randomly many young men and women. i

saw them grab and beat a young innocent man, pushed him to the ground

and kept kicking. i protested against the beating up, and kept

screaming at them to stop acting like animals, 4 or 5 huge giant men

grabbed me from my hair and said " well join him you bitch " and

slapped me on the face , beat me up, kicked me, and cornered me next

to the young man and kept hitting me on my head, arm, shoulder, back ,

stepping on my head with their shoes until i bled from my mouth and

could not speak any more on the ground. they kept their shoes on my

head, kicked me every few seconds,calling me the dirtiest names ever

the they dragged me all along the street to 26 july and threw me in

one of those microbuses without number plates. they have also dragged

the other young man who completely fainted and others too and threw us

all in the microbus. and while pushing me inside they were trying to

pull off my clothes and sexually harassed me,one grabbed my breasts ,

another held me my waist, and another grabbed my bottom. i tried to

call friends discreetly, but they saw me, so they pull me out of the

car and said " get off " but 3 of them were blocking the door, and

they grabbed the mobile from me, then threw me to the asphalt road.

despite the pain, i will go on protesting


[name withheld]

egyptian writer and university professor

cairo january 27 2011



شهادة عن وحشية بلطجية الامن في المظاهرات- وسط القاهرة ٢٦ يناير ٢٠١١ مني برنس


في حوالي السادسة و نصف مساء يوم الاربعاء ٢٦ يناير ٢٠١١، انضممت انا و

أصدقاء و آخرين لا اعرفهم الى مسيرة سلمية احتجاجية في منطقة وسط

المدينة، في شارع قصر النيل. و كان المتظاهرون يسيرون بكل ادب من شارع

الي اخر في محاولة للهرب و تجنب قوات الامن المركزي الذين بدوا في حيرة و

ارتباك حول كيفية محاصرتنا و تفريقنا، خاصة بعدما توجهنا الى شارع

الشواربي. كنت انا و المجموعة التي معي في الخلف، و من امامنا و خلفنا

ضباط الامن يتكلمون في اجهزتهم اللاسلكية و سمعناهم يقولون ما مفاده انهم

لا يعرفون كيف يحاصروننا. استمررنا في السير بشجاعة و دون خوف، و اضم

الينا الكثير من الشباب و البنات من الشوارع الجانبية و المحلات، و كنا

نردد " ارحل " و " الشعب يريد اسقاط النظام " لم نعتدي على منشآت او

سيارات و لم نهاجم احدا. كنا نسير و سط الشوارع دون أن نمنع مرور

السيارات و ان كنا أبطأنا سيرها باتجاه شارع ٢٦ يوليو. ثم ظهرت قوات

الامن المركزي من الامام و الخلف ر بدأت تجري نحونا بقوة، فجرينا متفرقين

محاولين الاحتماء بالمحلات. و فجأة بدأ بلطجية الامن و وزارة الداخلية

الذين يرتدون ملابس مدنية في القبض العشوائي علي الشباب و البنات و ضربهم

بقوة. رأيتهم يقبضون على شاب كان يسير أمامي و لم يفعل اي شيء سوى الهتاف

مثلنا، دفعوه بزخذيتهم و القوا به الي الأرض و انهالوا عليه ضربا و ركلا

و لكما حتى اغمي عليه. اعترضت على ما يفعلون و صرخت فيهم الا يتصرفوا مثل

الحيوانات و انهم ليسوا رجال و ليسوا بني آدمين، فاندفع نحوي ٤ او ٥ رجال

ضخام الحجم و جروني من شعري، ضربوني علي و جهي، أخذوا يضربونني بعنف و

يركلونني ثم القوا بي الى الآرض بجانب الشاب الذي فقد وعيه و هم يقولون "

طب يللا حصليه يا بنت القحبة ".  فرد اخر " مرة قحبة " و استمروا في ضربي

و ركلي بضعة دقائق و يدوسون علي رأسي و جسدي بأحذيتهم حتى سال الدم من

فمي و هم يسبونني بأقذر السباب و الصفات، الى ان سكت و لم استطع الكلام.

ثم جرجروني و هم ما يزالرن يركلونني و يسبونني الى شارع ٢٦ يوليو ثم

القوا في واحد من تلك الميكروباصات التي لا تحمل لوحة ارقام. و فعلوا نفس

الشيء مع شباب اخرين و القوا بهم الى داخل نفس السيارة، من بينهم الشاب

الذي كنت ادافع عنه و فقد وعيه. و في اثناء محاولتهم حشري داخل السيارة،

كانوا يتحرشون بي جنسيا، و يحاولون تعريتي واحد مسكني من صدري، و الحر من

وسطي و شخص اخر مسكني من اسفل ظهري ثم دفعوني الى الداخل.  كان هناك نحو

٥ او ٦ و ربما اكثر شباب داخل السيارة. حاولت الاتصال بأصدقاء بشكل هامس

و بعيد عن اعين الامن لكنهم رأوومي. سحبوني من داخل الميكروباص و امروني

بالنزول و هم يسبونني و في نفس الوقت يسدون باب السيارة  " بتكلمي مين يا

بنت ...." و خطفوا مني التلفون المحمول بالقوة ثم شدوني خارج السيارة و

القوا بي الي الاسفلت.


رغم الألم سوف استمر في الاحتجاج

كاتبة مصرية و استاذة بالجامعة

القاهرة ٢٧ يناير ٢٠١١



Links for 08.22.09 to 08.30.09
Eric Hobsbawm's On Empire: when Hobsbawm writes, Angry Arab reads carefully | I just read this book and completely agree with Angry Arab's praise.
Global BDS Movement | Website of the Boycott - Divestment - Sanctions movement.
How settlements in the West Bank are creating a new reality, brick by brick | World news | The Guardian | Good story on the settlements by Rory McCarthy.
Boycott Israel -- | An Israeli's call.
Privatization by other means: How the Public Transport sector was “murdered” at 3arabawy | How five years ago, eager to justify the privatization of public sector transport, the government stopped making spare parts available for Cairo's buses. Outrageous and worthy of more digging.
Important Film | A cartoon for children against sexual harassment.
Israeli watchdog sees no settlement freeze | "The construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank is continuing 'as usual', a group reported, despite the Israeli government's announcement that it has stopped initiating new housing projects."
Ramadan under siege « In Gaza | On the pauperization of Gaza: there is food, because of the tunnels, but only for the few who can afford it.
Mehdi Karoubi, un mollah atypique et réformateur, devenu le porte-parole de la contestation en Iran - Asie-Pacifique - Le | On the other reformist candidate in Iran.
مدونة محمد بن عبد الكريم الخطابي | A new blog dedicated to the Moroccan anti-colonial hero Abdel Krim.