Leftist Israeli Antics Imperil Egyptian Secularists

Frank Crimi is a San Diego-based writer and author of the book Raining Frogs and Heart Attacks. You can read more of Frank's work at his blog,www.politicallyunbalanced.com.


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In a show of feminist solidarity, a group of forty Israeli women posed nude in support of Aliaa Elmahdy, a female Egyptian blogger and activist who had posted an online naked photo of herself to protest, among other things, Egypt’s objectification of woman as sex objects.

While such an act in the Western world would engender little more than a passing yawn, in Egypt it touched off a firestorm of debate, with Elmahdy’s defenders calling her “heroic” and a “revolutionary,” while others have dismissed her as an “attention-seeker, a disgrace or a pervert.”

While the central issues of the controversy swirled around the ramifications Aliaa’s naked frame would have on the future course of societal values in Egypt, others were more centered toward the aesthetic. As one prominent Egyptian blogger said of the picture, “The lighting is awful and the composition is dreadful. Break all the social boundaries you want, but don’t call it art.”

For Elmahdy, a 20-year-old self-professed secular, liberal, feminist, vegetarian, individualist Egyptian, she was simply “echoing screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy” when she posted her nude self-portrait on her blog in October.

For Or Tepler, a 28-year-old Israeli and self-described “leftist and a seeker of peace,” she was outraged that Elmahdy had become the victim of countless abusive comments and death threats for having the temerity to show her all on Egyptian cyberspace.

So in an attempt to demonstrate that women are more than just eye candy for men, Tepler organized a photo shoot in which dozens of Israeli women posed nakedly defiant in front of a large sign that read “Homage to Aliaa Elmahdy: Sisters in Israel,” and “Love without Limits.”

However, while love may have no limits, apparently there were limits to how much skin the Israeli women were willing to expose, as any intimate body parts were carefully shielded by the large sign and crossed arms.

Nevertheless, Tepler was highly confident that the photo event had served as an opportunity for women “to show support in a non-violent and legitimate way for a woman who is just like us – young, ambitious, full of dreams and evidently has a developed sense of humor.”

Elmahdy’s apparent sense of humor, however, may be lost on those Egyptians currently embroiled in the midst of a cultural, religious and political war between those who envision a liberal, secular state and those who advocate an Islamist one.

The first battle in that war is slated to begin November 28, 2011, as Egyptians vote in the first of a series of parliamentary elections that will continue in stages through March 2012 and culminate in a presidential vote in 2013.

Egypt’s liberal secularists, already facing long electoral odds against better organized and more popular Islamist and Salafist parties, rightly fear the effect the Elmahdy controversy will have on their already slim electoral chances.

After all, Tunisia, which like Egypt has a large secular elite, just witnessed in October the Islamist Ennahda Party win more than 40% of the vote in that nation’s first parliamentary election, making it the dominant political power in Tunisia’s nascent democracy.

As one Egyptian secularist said, “Egyptian liberals will now be seen as pro-nudity,” while another complained that Elmahdy had “done nothing but allow the conservatives to have one more reason to call for an Islamic state.”

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  • Amused

    The recent tactics of the Egyptian Military , already has done far more to encourage an islamic state , than any amount of nude women .
    But we ALL know that nude women are all " Leftists " eh Frank ?

  • Amused

    …and if you have any doubts Frank , just look at your own website's sidebar to the right -"Muslim Persecution of Christian ", which has been going on for decades , with or without Mubarak , with or without Arab Spring , and yes , with or without nude women .
    FPM's Specialty – Strawman Arguments ….some more meaningless and ludicrous than others .

  • esperantominoria

    Yes the Muslim Brotherhood WILL WIN,who can doubt it.And all because of a book,the KORAN.I am in FAVOR of the action by the Israeli women,but even better is if they can CONVINCE Muslims ISLAM is FALSE with INTELLECTUAL ARGUMENTS.

    Guys,did you know ALLAH in the KORAN TRICKS his own MUSLIM FOLLOWERS during a BATTLE?Why do TRICKERY on your OWN FOLLOWERS?
    http://www.antisharia.com/2011/03/08/doubts-about

    ALSO

    In the Koran,in one astonishing verse,ALLAH says he is NOT ALL-KNOWING:
    http://www.antisharia.com/2010/04/26/allah-in-the

    • Ageofreason

      Why not try posting your missive without the CAPITALIZATIONS? It's uneccessary, annoying, and we really CAN understand what YOU ARE trying to EXPRESS! Most of us ARE reasonably intelligent AND will GET the message.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Elmahdy’s apparent sense of humor, however, may be lost on those Egyptians currently embroiled in the midst of a cultural, religious and political war between those who envision a liberal, secular state and those who advocate an Islamist one.

    This is very important: A liberal, secular state long term is an impossibility. However, a secular state that isn't liberal is a possibility, on the other hand, but only if it willing to forcibly suppress Islam and willing to kill millions of Muslims wholesale. Otherwise, it will inevitably fail and be destroyed.

    After all, Tunisia, which like Egypt has a large secular elite, just witnessed in October the Islamist Ennahda Party win more than 40% of the vote in that nation’s first parliamentary election, making it the dominant political power in Tunisia’s nascent democracy.

    Uhm…elections hardly constitutes a democracy. Hence, I wouldn't go so for as to call Tunisia a Democratic country. In the long run it will most notably be an Islamic state, as Western-style democracy with the freedom and liberties it embodies is impossible in the Islamic world exactly because those same freedom and liberties leave the door wide open for its inevitable and eventual demise.

    As one Egyptian secularist said, “Egyptian liberals will now be seen as pro-nudity,” while another complained that Elmahdy had “done nothing but allow the conservatives to have one more reason to call for an Islamic state.”

    Actually, those are lame excuses and it doesn't really matter, as in the long run secularists don't have a prayer in hell of ever succeeding. In fact, they are playing a zero sum game that may or may not end up with their deaths, if they refuse to repent and submit to the will of Allah again. Indeed, if they were smart they would flee Egypt ASAP to escape the impending famine that will inevitably devastate Egypt in the not too distant future.

    Indeed, those in our State Department that helped foment the overthrow of Mubarak ought to be forced out of government ASAP and banned from ever being employed in government for the rest of their self-hating miserable lives, which would constitute probably 99 percent of the State Department. Good riddance!

    • Herman Caintonette

      OYM: "Uhm…elections hardly constitutes a democracy."

      Uhm, that indictment reaches our shores, as well. To call ours a functional democratic Republic is to ignore reality. Most congressional districts are so heavily gerrymandered that few have ever had a real say as to who their Congressman is. 94% of the seats go to who has the most money, and retention rates are historically higher here than they were in the old Soviet Politburo. If you don't live in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina, you can forget about having an impact on who will be the Republican presidential nominee.

      This is, fwiw, a central OWS grievance.

      • ObamaYoMoma

        Uhm, that indictment reaches our shores, as well. To call ours a functional democratic Republic is to ignore reality. Most congressional districts are so heavily gerrymandered that few have ever had a real say as to who their Congressman is. 94% of the seats go to who has the most money, and retention rates are historically higher here than they were in the old Soviet Politburo. If you don't live in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina, you can forget about having an impact on who will be the Republican presidential nominee.

        Actually, you are wrong. As much as you hate America, prior to the 9/11 jihad attacks, it was still the freest country in the world, and today despite the 9/11 jihad attacks and four years of BHO, it is still one of the freest countries in the world, although not nearly as free thanks to either incompetent or corrupt politicians.

        When the USA becomes totalitarian exactly like all Islamic countries, then we could say that you are right, but until we reach that point, we will just have to simply point out that you are an incredibly self-hating loon and a humongous mentally deficient moonbat.

        This is, fwiw, a central OWS grievance.

        Let me ask you a personal question…are you currently posting from a tent and publicly defecating on the hood of police cars? Considering the insanity of your posts, I wouldn't be surprised in the least.

  • tanstaafl

    Like canaries who won't leave the cage after the door is opened…

  • Yeshayahu Goldfeld

    To my knowledge Egypt does not have a secular elite.University lecturers , writers , lawyers and the educated class are as rabidly islamistic and opposed to the material
    and spiritual message of the West as the people in the fields and streets.

  • Irandissident

    Let's face the facts: The Western support for recent Islamist resurgence in North African countries (and soon in Syria), will bring Islamist governments to power and will increase the social dominance of fundamentalist Islam within these societies.
    In Iran it took three "cultural generations" or about 30 years, for an active minority of millions to totally challenge the islamist regime. In Arab and African societies, it might take four or five "cultural generations".
    Like it or not, this has been the West's agenda for Muslim dominated countries.
    However:
    Even that much progress against Islamism cannot be accomplished without active cultural confrontation by secularists and liberal (not moderate) Muslims.
    Cultural war must be waged all the time for decades, until eyes and ears get used to new and different things, sounds, sights and thoughts.
    In Arabic and Islamic history, there are many precedents of protest by NUDITY before and during Islam. From the story of Rabe-eh, daughter of Kaab to numerous nude dervishes and hijab discarding women ( same as nudity as far as they were concerned) to Homa Darabi, the Iranian woman who discarded her Hijab and set herself on firs and the Iranian Nudist protest in Berlin in front of visiting Islamic Republic delegations have all helped shape this method of protest in our history. The bigger protest in Iran has been happening for the last decade, by Iranian women in their millions, wearing such tiny, slippery and sexy hijab's that they are far more "sexually stimulating" than hijab-less women would be!
    Don't wait for a positive effect right now; it will happen in time.
    Now, let's all kneel and thank God on this Thanksgiving weekend, for the Obama administration and their 40 year agenda !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ronald W. Carnine

    Ladies, please put your clothes back on, please.