We watched this discussion Monday night on the NewsHour. Margaret Warner, a just slightly less adventurous PBS version of Martha Radditz, interviewed two women in a round table format:
…The attack on Logan unleashed a torrent of articles about the culture of sexual intimidation experienced by many Egyptian women. In a 2008 survey, 83 percent of Egyptian women in Cairo said they had been sexually harassed.
We take up the issue now with Nihal Elwan, who works on social development in the Middle East for the World Bank — Egyptian by birth, she formerly worked for the United Nations in Cairo — and Diane Singerman, a professor and director of Middle East studies at American University in Washington, D.C.
(An Egyptian woman, but then one, earnest, well-fed American academic pontificating from the safety of her Georgetown book group. I know, I know. Trouble already.)
Watch below (or read) if you will, and perhaps you’ll find what’s lacking as fascinating as major dad and I did.
…NIHAL ELWAN: Yes. I think there are several dynamics at work here.
I feel that, to begin with, the Egyptian people have been going through decades of economic hardship, poverty. And in a sense, I feel — I think they’re completely disempowered. And the only way they can regain ownership or a sense of manhood is by gaining ownership of the street.
The street is becoming a male territory. Women who decide to go down, walk down the street sort of lend themselves and — and challenge the patriarchy. And that makes men want to challenge back. And I think it is a form of challenging all the pressures that are surrounding Egyptian men. This is the only form of defense against everything else that’s making them depressed and oppressed.
MARGARET WARNER: What would you add to that?
DIANE SINGERMAN: I think I would also say that, in the streets especially, there is a sort of notion of women’s place belonging at home, sort of female domesticity.
There are more women working now. There are more young women obviously going to school. And so — rightly so, sort of public space is more contested. And, in that sense, there’s also countering discourses from the state as well and from sort of conservative religious forces that — that women maybe shouldn’t be in some of the places that they’re in.
And — and, at the same time, the government also has somewhat of a tradition of being a little bit abusive or not really…
“Egyptian guys have had it tough and that makes them pigs.”
Wait a minute! Considering what Obama’s Recovery Bummer has done to the American male, PBS isn’t convening roundtables to discuss groping in Green Bay, are they? (Madison is an altogether different story…) “That couldn’t POSSIBLY be the WHOLE thing!” we thought, besides my snarky, “Weakweakweakweak!!”, with a “Chickenshit” thrown in for good measure. (“H8R”)(I know.)
For all the long list of behavioural excuses for Egyptian men (believe me, they chew through more in the piece), and most I would imagine (by extrapolation from the givens they cite) are generally applicable to Middle Eastern males under similar circumstances, there are two glaring, related omissions.
In the whole 1700 or so words, not ONE of them is “Islam” or “Muslim”.
You’re fooling yourself with those glasses, you know.