Mona Eltahawy: assaulted, but unbowed

Egyptian journalist, feminist and blogger (and now US dual citizen) Mona Eltahawy tweeted the above picture at about 9 am today. She was back in Cairo to report on the latest round of protest actions at Tahrir Square, but the local police got hold of her. What followed, according to her tweet-stream, was this:

It was followed, a few hours later, by this:

She also tweeted this pic, captioned “My right hand is so swollen I can’t close it”:

She suffered fractures to that hand, as well as her left arm.

Worse than the injuries, though, were the indignities that accompanied them — indignities all too well known to Egyptian women, especially since the Tahrir protests began:

She adds: “God knows what wuld’ve happened if I wasn’t dual citizen (tho they brought up detained US students) & that I wrote/appeared various media.”

Yes, it helps that the US State Department promptly “expressed concern” about her. No doubt that’s what mitigated her ill-treatment, so that all she was left with was a few broken bones and some crotch-grabbing.

But of course it’s a lie that nobody knows why she was arrested and beaten. Everybody knows, or should know, why the “fuckings” did that. Certainly Mona herself knows. It’s because she’s a prominent journalist, feminist and vocal supporter of the pro-democracy movement. Egyptian women who turned out at Tahrir Square have routinely been subjected to “virginity tests” which tested for nothing (since virginity can’t be clinically determined, let alone by military or police agents); they were flat-out sexual assaults, meant to send an intimidating message: Go home and be quiet, or we’ll do worse.

But, happily, they didn’t work. If this is anything to go by, Mona, like so many other Egyptian women, has only been galvanized to fight back harder:

That spirit will serve her well. Egypt’s fight is far from over, and it needs all the gutsy people it can get. Until a democratic civilian government takes over and the military high command is purged, don’t expect the generals to relinquish control. And DO expect to hear a lot more about beatings and sexual abuse of female activists, too.

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4 Responses to Mona Eltahawy: assaulted, but unbowed

  1. thwap says:

    Among the right-wing infestations there is a meme that these sexual assaults by the US-backed Egyptian police and military are actually a byproduct of the Egyptian people’s movement.

    Because Arabs can’t govern themselves or something.

    They use the violence and cruelty of Mubarak’s armed forces to try to indict the protesters.

    I wish the people of Egypt well in their struggle. And I think the day is soon coming when the bulk of the soldiers will turn against the regime.

    • Sabina Becker says:

      The right-wingers’ views are just laughable. The Egyptian military supported Mubarak until he was forced from office, and now they’re trying to wrest power for themselves, and to choke off the revolution. It’s not the Arabs that “can’t govern themselves”, it’s the local tyrants and their foreign (right-wing, mostly) backers who can’t govern the Arabs, and they’re all running scared. No wonder they’re blatting bullshit about the revolution.

    • Sabina Becker says:

      Thanks, Cort! Looks like what she says there is very consistent with her tweets above. I can hardly wait to see what she writes about it. (And judging by the nature of her injuries, it seems that someone was trying to prevent her from writing anything at all. Since she could move her hands enough to tweet, it looks like they were wrong!)

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