Saturday, February 12, 2011

PPG Article

On Feb. 6, I wrote an article for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette calling on Obama to side with the people and with dignity. In it I point out how sexual harassment seemed to decrease during the revolution, especially in Midan Tahrir. Sexual harassment is not a cultural phenomenon but rather a social convention that is perpetuated by a government that is not concerned with public security and by the citizens' feelings of indignity at the hands of the regime. Maya Mikdashi's article on the Lara Logan's traumatic experience sheds light on the relationship between sexism and Islamophobia. It is a strong warning against any culturalist explanation for harassment.

On the topic of culturalist perspectives of the revolution I would simply like to say: Let's not waste time discussing whether Egyptians are 'culturally' ready for change and democracy - a line I've heard many 'experts' in DC use to balance their partiality towards democracy with their fear of Islamists. Egypt is ready for democracy whether or not the US is ready to support it. If my experience in Egypt has shown me anything, these people are ready to fight for their rights and bring about serious change in their country.

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