In ‘new Egypt’, mobs sexually assault women with impunity
Reports of assaults on women in Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to step down last year, have been on the rise
By SARAH EL DEEB
updated 6/7/2012 4:28:02 AM ET
CAIRO — Her screams were not drowned out by the clamor of the crazed mob of nearly 200 men around her. An endless number of hands reached toward the woman in the red shirt in an assault scene that lasted less than 15 minutes but felt more like an hour.
She was pushed by the sea of men for about a block into a side street from Tahrir Square. Many of the men were trying to break up the frenzy, but it was impossible to tell who was helping and who was assaulting. Pushed against the wall, the unknown woman’s head finally disappeared. Her screams grew fainter, then stopped. Her slender tall frame had clearly given way. She apparently had passed out.
The helping hands finally splashed the attackers with bottles of water to chase them away.
The assault late Tuesday was witnessed by an Associated Press reporter who was almost overwhelmed by the crowd herself and had to be pulled to safety by men who ferried her out of the melee in an open Jeep.
Reports of assaults on women in Tahrir, the epicenter of the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to step down last year, have been on the rise with a new round of mass protests to denounce a mixed verdict against the ousted leader and his sons in a trial last week.
The late Tuesday assault was the last straw for many. Protesters and activists met Wednesday to organize a campaign to prevent sexual harassment in the square. They recognize it is part of a bigger social problem that has largely gone unpunished in Egypt. But the phenomenon is trampling on their dream of creating in Tahrir a micro-model of a state that respects civil liberties and civic responsibility, which they had hoped would emerge after Mubarak’s ouster.
‘It shouldn’t be happening’
“Enough is enough,” said Abdel-Fatah Mahmoud, a 22-year-old engineering student, who met Wednesday with friends to organize patrols of the square in an effort to deter attacks against women. “It has gone overboard. No matter what is behind this, it is unacceptable. It shouldn’t be happening on our streets let alone Tahrir.”
No official numbers exist for attacks on women in the square because police do not go near the area, and women rarely report such incidents. But activists and protesters have reported a number of particularly violent assaults on women in the past week. Many suspect such assaults are organized by opponents of the protests to weaken the spirit of the protesters and drive people away.
Mahmoud said two of his female friends were cornered Monday and pushed into a small passageway by a group of men in the same area where the woman in the red shirt was assaulted. One was groped while the other was seriously assaulted, Mahmoud said, refusing to divulge specifics other than to insist she wasn’t raped.
Mona Seif, a well-known activist who has been trying to promote awareness about the problem, said Wednesday she was told about three different incidents in the past five days, including two that were violent. In one incident, the attackers ripped the woman’s clothes off and trampled on her companions, she said.
Let’s not forget that Barack Obama took complete credit for the Arab Spring and the Mubarak exit by rushing out to put himself right in the middle of it. The left cheered Obama for his messianic leadership:
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: You know, gentlemen, I’m a little bit jubilant right now, a little bit frisky so I’ll say something that will bother people. But if you have, a lot of the people in this country think the President of the United States is Muslim, which he’s not, he’s Christian. They think he’s foreign born, which he’s not, he’s American born. But they have this attitude about him, the people on the right a lot of them, right? And here he is, and he comes into office, and this jubilant situation in Eqypt, with the first time in our lives we get to see people from the Arab world in a very positive democratic setting. Not as terrorists or not as people fighting Israel, or whatever. Not mouthing epithets against the West, but people like us.
DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Right, celebrating.
MATTHEWS: In a way it’s like it took Obama to have this happen, or it’s just so serendipitous.
“It took Obama to have this happen.” Praise him! Worship him! Our blessed messiah! Of course, a lot of people – like Israelis – were arguing from the outset that “this” actually wasn’t a good thing. At all. Conservatives like Sean Hannity predicted from the very outset that the Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islamists were going to take control of Egypt – just as they did.
But who cares about reality? Praise Obama! Praise him! Worship him!
Is “serendipitous” a good adjective to describe rape? I’m sorry, I don’t have my liberal-to-English dictionary with me.
Obama also erroneously massively downplayed the role that the Muslim Brotherhood would come to have (you know, unlike Sean Hannity and a lot of other conservatives who were RIGHT):
Mr. Obama downplayed concerns that the Muslim Brotherhood could take power and install a government hostile to U.S. interests.
“I think that the Muslim Brotherhood is one faction in Egypt. They don’t have majority support in Egypt but they are well organized and there are strains of their ideology that are anti U.S., there is no doubt about it,” Mr. Obama said.
Mr. Obama said he wanted a representative government in Egypt that reflected the country’s broader civil society.
Though the current upheavals in the Middle East were not initiated by the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist parties in Egypt, as in Tunisia and Libya, have been the chief beneficiaries of the collapse of long-standing authoritarian repressive regimes across North Africa.
In Egypt itself, the two largest Islamist groups, the Brotherhood and the Salafists, won about three-quarters of the ballots in the second round of legislative elections held in December 2011, while the secular and the liberal forces took a battering.
The Brotherhood, an organization founded by Egyptian schoolteacher Hassan el Banna back in 1928, has never deviated from its founder’s central axiom:
“Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Koran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”
It is this radical vision, which animates all those in the region who seek a fully Islamic society and way of life.
The Muslim Brotherhood has always been deeply anti-Western, viscerally hostile to Israel and openly anti-Semitic — points usually downplayed in Western commentary on the “Arab Spring.”
In spite of the fact that Obama was actually giving aid to the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama demanded that America give a billion dollars in aid to Egypt. You know, to the country that is now using RAPE in its war on women.
First of all, do you remember the justifications for going to war over Libya, which also aint working out that great? We were told that “Barack Obama’s war in Libya bears the intellectual imprint of Samantha Power.” And what was that “intellectual imprint”? This:
“She began to see war as an instrument to achieving her liberal, even radical, values.”
That’s just GREAT. So Obama went to war with Libya to remove a dictator who threatened to kill his own people but has refused to go to war with a dictator who has ACTUALLY murdered over fourteen thousand of his own people. But apparently radical liberal Obama is on the same page as doctrinaire liberal Barbara Walters – because they’re both helping this vicious dictator.
Libya has not worked out very well. At all. Aside from the fact that Libya has descended into complete anarchy, there is the fact that terrorists have used that anarchy to turn Libya into another Afghanistan/Yemen-style haven.
Oh, and Obama also supported and trained Egyptian activists to undermine and overthrow Mubarak. Just to complete the picture of who supported all these rapes that are now going on.
Both Democrats and radical Muslims have the same cherished goal: to keep women ignorant and in line with their agenda no matter how obviously anti-woman it is.