[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]
Update: See below for a big update. There are reports of a possible anti-Semitic motivation.
Update: The WSJ says that it was “not a rape.” Which is only moderately helpful because we are not sure what they mean by rape. There are several things you can do to a woman that would be legally considered rape, but only sometimes called rape in common discussion. But it’s an encouraging sign that things were not as bad as we feared.
As noted last night, CBS News correspondent Lara Logan had been sexually assaulted last week in a brutal and sustained attack while covering the Egyptian protests. CBS still has refused to provide more details, and I call on them to tell the entire story. Privacy be damned, this happened on a public street in the middle of an event of global significance and will offer us insight into an important protest movement. I have been cautiously optimistic about the Egyptian protests and I am hoping for the best outcome in all of this, or at least a less bad one than Mubarak’s rule, but we deserve the unvarnished truth about it.
At the same time, I agree that we should not use this as an occasion to say that women should not be journalists in dangerous parts of the world. Obviously sexist attitudes are rampant in many parts of the world, including many fundamentalist Muslims who believe that any woman who wears anything less than a burqa is presenting the irresistible temptation of “uncovered meat” and therefore deserves it if she is raped—an attitude that might have played a role, here. And thus a woman faces a unique danger that a man does not. But that is not a justification for refusing to let a woman go into those parts of the world. If a woman, fully cognizant of the danger, wants to take that risk, we shouldn’t stop her.
And as for whether this reflects poorly on the protest movement as a whole, that is unclear. First, it is not the case that no one helped her. As CBS said in the its official statement: “She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers.” (emphasis added). And because of the vagueness of CBS’ statement, we do not know how well others would have been able to see what was happening to her. And I refuse to believe that we can judge a large and probably heterogeneous movement by the actions of a few Neanderthals. For instance, if you are a good Egyptian who wants freedom and democracy, how exactly are you going to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from glomming onto your movement? Still, if there are any leaders in this group—and there might not be—someone needs to stand up and denounce this conduct, as proof of good faith. But for now, I think it is leaping to conclusions to say this tars the entire movement.
Now if only the American left would be so tolerant of the Tea Party…
Anyway, the good news we learn this morning, via Howard Kurtz, is that Ms. Logan is recovering quickly and is expected to leave the hospital today:
Sources familiar with the situation say Logan has recovered to the point that she was expected to be released from the hospital Wednesday and reunited with her two young children. She is described as being in remarkably good spirits despite her ordeal.
Which on one hand is good news, but it also suggests something of the severity of the attack. The term “a brutal and sustained sexual assault” can mean several things, but a 4-5 day recovery (depending on when she got back) suggests that the term “brutal” is the operative word. You have to wonder how she was put on that plane to America—did she walk or get wheeled in on a wheelchair or gurney?
Again, CBS owes us the entire truth on this subject.
Update: Yesterday’s jerk of the day, Nir Rosen, resigned from the NYU’s Center on Law and Security for having said numerous tasteless things about the Logan assault. Good for them to have gotten rid of this garbage. The Campaign Spot has full details.
H/t: Scott Jacobs.
Further update: Thanks to Tina Trent in the comments who (with a little help from Google) adds some context to this:
Egyptian women say they are frequently yelled at and touched by groups of men in the streets, but that during the anti-government protests, such behavior was less prevalent. “Men and women … everyone was coming together, and I personally didn’t experience any sexual harassment, which was extremely unusual,” said Yasmine Khalifa, 25, a Cairo teacher.
The mood shifted Friday night, Khalifa said, when thousands of men who had not been part of the protests entered Tahrir Square. Several women reported being harassed, she said.
(Source.) So on one hand, it wasn’t an isolated incident. But at least according to Ms. Khalifa, it was only a newly introduced element. Which sounds plausible enough. Still, CBS News should release all the facts and then let us sort it out on how much it reflects on the movement as a whole.
And I will add that the first line about being yelled at and touched by men in streets lines up with some anecdotal stories friends have told me, about visiting nearby countries.
Big Update: The New York Post has even more details:
A network source told The Post that her attackers were screaming, “Jew! Jew!” during the assault. And the day before, Logan had told Esquire.com that Egyptian soldiers hassling her and her crew had accused them of “being Israeli spies.” Logan is not Jewish.
In Friday’s attack, she was separated from her colleagues and attacked for between 20 to 30 minutes, The Wall Street Journal said.
Her injuries were described to The Post as “serious.”
CBS went public with the incident only after it became clear that other media outlets were on to it, sources said.
Again, CBS News needs to release the whole story. Tell us everything and let us evaluate what it means. And it is disturbing to me that they thought it was appropriate to hold the story back as long as they did.
Update: Previously, we saw where Egyptian authorities suggested that Mossad caused various shark attacks in Egypt. Its funny, but I had a serious point at the time and I repeat it here:
All of which is silly, but leads me to a serious point. Some liberals are fond of claiming that terrorism is born out of oppression, that they are just striking back against those who have wronged them. But one major flaw in that theory is that a lot of people in that part of the world are so paranoid in their anti-Semitism, that they literally will believe their enemies can and will do anything. Everything is a Jewish conspiracy. The rats in their sewers. A few pigeons crapping on their car. So naturally other things, like the complete state of crap these economies find themselves in is naturally the Jooos’ fault, right? Them and the Americans, naturally. My point is that stories like this demonstrate that their ability to even perceive actual injustice and assign correct blame is seriously compromised by their paranoid hatred of Jews, yet another reason why their violence is a terrible gauge of the justice of their cause.
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]