A war crime in Cairo

A war crime in Cairo

Something is very wrong with the mainstream American media. By now, we all know that CBS did not find it newsworthy that, on Feb. 11, their own chief foreign correspondent had been beaten, severely bitten, and gang-raped by a mob of 200 men on the Muslim “Sabbath” – on the very day that President Mubarak stepped down. Instead, they spent four days continuing to celebrate the freedom fighters in Tahrir Square.

Only after CBS finally broke this story did other American media networks come forward with news of their own: Apparently, CNN’s Anderson Cooper had also been beaten up by the brave pro-democracy freedom fighters in Tahrir Square and ABC’s Brian Hartman had been threatened with beheading in that same allegedly pro-democracy uprising. Even Christiane Amanpour had to be hustled away to safety by her handlers.

Clearly, the American media are so invested in their own political “narrative” (Muslims are a peace-loving people, Americans are brutal invaders and occupiers, Palestinians are the innocent injured parties, Israelis are the brutal aggressors) that they are willing to blindly sacrifice themselves and their staffs to cover events in the Arab, Muslim, and Islamist world.

Before I discuss the war crime committed against Lara Logan – a war crime very similar to those that have been committed against black girls and women by ethnic Arab Muslims in Darfur – I want to pose some harsh questions.

Why did Daniel Pearl (may he rest in peace) think that the kind of Islamists whom Al-Jazeera had normalized, even glamorized, would not kidnap and behead him? In 2002, why did Pearl and, for that matter, Nicholas Berg (may he also rest in peace), the young American entrepreneur who was also beheaded in Iraq in 2004, believe that they could “follow the yellow brick road” to The Story or to The Fortune – without becoming the story themselves? Why did they believe that American Jews could safely travel to Islamist war-zones in the 21st century?

Here is what I am saying. Infidels (non-Muslims) and women (both Muslims and infidels) are treated this way, both now and historically.

In 2001, egged on by their imam, and also on the Muslim “Sabbath,” hundreds of men in Hassi Messaoud, Algeria, physically and sexually attacked (raped, gang-raped) any woman they could find. They also cut off breasts and genitalia; buried some women alive; murdered some. What crime had these women committed? According to the imam, they had been bused in to work for a foreign company and thus were seen as both whores and traitors.

Lara Logan also worked for a foreign company. She was a blonde infidel and a woman.

But let’s return to Cairo. In the fall of 2006, (at the end of Ramadan), perhaps 1,000 men conducted a “sexual wilding.” They surrounded girls and women who were fully veiled, partly veiled, and unveiled, and “groped and assaulted” them. (They probably raped and gang-raped them too but the media were too … polite to say so.) Individuals tried to help these women – who escaped from the male crowds naked and half-naked. The police refused to make any arrests and the Egyptian media did not cover it. I and others only learned of this incident because some foreign journalists blogged about it – and because one brave Egyptian woman spoke about it on a live Egyptian television program.

Journalists are incredibly endangered in the Islamic world. There were more than 140 incidents of journalists being physical attacked in Egypt alone during the so-called 18-day “revolution” in Cairo. Western human rights workers have been kidnapped, held for ransom, tortured, and murdered in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The kind of Egyptians in Tahrir Square are not pro-Western, pro-modern, pro-democracy, pro-human rights activists; they are Islamist revolutionaries or, if you will, Islamists who wish to “reform” the secular state. The minority of women in the square are wearing serious hijab and face-veils.

On Feb. 18, none other than Egyptian Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, a profoundly and classically anti-Semitic preacher who has an audience of 40 million viewers on Al-Jazeera, preached in the square to a million people: “Oh Allah, take the Jews, the treacherous aggressors…. Pour Your wrath upon them.” He is also a longtime member of the Muslim Brotherhood and has twice turned down offers to be its leader.

According to a number of journalists and scholars who have been covering the Logan atrocity, the jeering, leering, Egyptian gang-rapists kept cursing her as a “Jew.” Then again, this crowd also called Mubarak a “Zionist” and had stars of David scrawled over his face on countless placards.

I am not saying that journalists should flee the field. I am not denigrating their choice to bring us the news at considerable danger to themselves. I am suggesting that they start to think realistically, clearly. One does not venture into Islamist mobs without a full platoon of Marines by your side to protect each and every journalist.

By the way: Many Islamist (and uneducated, illiterate, religious) Muslims view raped women as adulterers who should be stoned to death or as prostitutes who should be flogged, often unto death. In 2008, a 13-year-old girl in Somalia was raped by three men and then stoned to death by a crowd of 1,000. In 2011, in Bangladesh a 14-year-old girl was raped by her cousin, then sentenced to 100 lashes. She died after receiving 60 lashes.

Perhaps Logan got off “easy.” I say this with irony, bitterness, and rage, both on her behalf and on behalf of all the Muslim and Christian women who are also raped, traumatized, shunned, dishonored, jailed, and sometimes also murdered.

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