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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Video: Egyptian sexual harassment at its finest at Cairo University

Remember Lara Logan? If you thought that a sexual assault in the world's largest Arab-Muslim country on a high profile television reporter, whose story was told around the world, was going to change the behavior of the Egyptian masses, you were dead wrong.

This video was shot at Cairo University where - one would think - a higher class of people hangs out than elsewhere in Cairo. In other words, you should assume that this video includes footage of the most intelligent, 'high class' Egyptians.

Let's go to the videotape. More after the video.

The reactions to this video are utterly predictable for an Arab Muslim country.
The young girl, with long blonde hair and a pink shirt, pink shoes and jeans, can be seen in the video, uploaded to YouTube, walking through the university campus as a group of men gather around her and whistle and shout profanities at her.
The Saudi television channel reported that a group of men also attempted to remove her clothing, which cannot be seen in the clip.
University guards were forced to escort her until the she was safely off campus. 
Adding to the controversy, the Dean of Cairo University Law School, Gaber Nassar, described the student's outfit as "a bit unconventional" and implied that she was responsible for the harassment it caused.
“This girl entered the university wearing an abaya (loose cloak) and then took it off in the faculty, and appeared with those clothes, that caused, in reality -- but this doesn't justify at all [the incident],” Nassar said on private Egyptian channel ONTV.
Later, Nassar realized that his reaction wasn't very smart, and tried to walk it back.
Nasser later claimed he was misquoted and justified his response on Twitter. 
"I assure that this is not true and I apologize for the misunderstanding and I repeat that those who (harassed the girl) will be severely punished,” he wrote.
Right.... If they ever find them.

Sexual harassment of women in the Arab world in general and in Egypt in particular is much worse than just about anyplace else.
While Logan's assault is horrifying, it's not surprising. The Arabs in general - and the Egyptians in particular - are known for this sort of thing. This is from a 2006 post by the Sandmonkey - one of the first things I ever read on his blog.
The story is as follows for the those of you who didn't hear about it: It was the first day of Eid, and a new film was opening downtown. Mobs of males gatherd trying to get in, but when the show was sold out, they decided they will destroy the box office. After accomplishing that, they went on what can only be described as a sexual frenxy: They ran around grabbing any and every girl in sight, whether a niqabi, a Hijabi or uncoverd. Whether egyptian or foreigner. Even pregnant ones. They grabbed them, molested them, tried to rip their cloths off and rape them, all in front of the police, who didn't do shit. The good people of downtown tried their best to protect the girls. Shop owners would let the girls in and lock the doors, while the mobs tried to break in. Taxi drivers put the girls in the cars while the mobs were trying to break the glass and grab the girls out. It was a disgusting pandamonium of sexual assaults that lasted for 5 houres from 7:30 PM to 12:30 am, and it truns my stomach just to think about it.

I called my father when I heard of that happening, and he informed me that he didn't hear of it at all. They watched Al Jazeerah, CNN, flipped through opposition newspapers, and nothing. Nada. Nobody mentioned it. As if it didn't happen.

But it did.


Now, the egyptian blogsphere has been abuzz in debate over the incident. Some are writing posts on why it happend, possible causes, what it means, the social and political factors that could possibly lead to this behavior, and quite honestly, I can't be botherd. I don't care why it happend. Rape is not up for debate. I just care that it happend. What we should discuss right now isn't what caused it, but what kind of horrible punishment that should be enacted on any egyptian male who thinks that it is well into his right to sexually harass a female on the street. That's it. Pure and simple.

I am often told that I am too westernized or too liberal by people I know, and they are not wrong or inaccurate. My values are for the most part western values. However, there are two middle-eastern traits in me that I can never give up: The first is my stupid insistince on always paying for the bill when I am with a girl I am dating, and the second is my protectiveness of women. I have no tolerance for those who assault women sexually in any way, and that almost got me kicked out of my school in Boston when I broke the leg of one of my roommates who raped a friend of mine. The incident only resulted in him getting a broken leg because people stoped me before I killed him. And I had the full intention of killing him. Rapists do not deserve to live. And that's how I feel towards every single one of those pieces of shit that attacked women on the streets of cairo the other day.

People can debate solutions based on dialogue, education, or whatever and that's their right. My solution is far simpler: Any egyptian man whose mother raised him right should beat the living crap of any man he sees on the street that assaults or harasses a female. Think of them as your sisters, and act accordingly. The Police isn't interested in protecting the women, and that's fine, but that means that we should take this job as our own. Those who insist on acting like animals will be treated as such, and deserve no sympathy or mercy from us. I assure you, if we did this, if we undertook this as part of our national duty, there will no longer be a problem on our streets.

That is all!
There's another point here. Note that the woman in the video is blonde and is wearing her hair loosely. Several years ago, the wife of a friend confided in me that she had been raped before they were married. She was assaulted by an Arab man right here in Jerusalem, and she told me that she attributed the assault that she was blond and that she was wearing her hair loose. She said that blonds have to be particularly careful around Arab men, and she advised wearing their hair tight and in a bun. Look at the woman again. See what I mean?

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