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I just watched Lara Logan on CBS’s Sixty Minutes. She was blonde, beautiful, brave, tearful, soft-spoken, strong, clear, eloquent, still obviously traumatized (who wouldn’t be?) — and yet, although she has been praised for “breaking the silence” about the sexual violence that afflicts female or foreign journalists in the field, Logan was still careful not to use the words “Muslim” or “Islam.” She still refused to characterize what happened to her as “barbaric.”
In her own words: She said that two to three hundred pairs of hands, one after the other, grabbed at her breasts, crotch and behind, and kept raping her non-stop from the back and the front. The mob had torn off all her clothing and the more she screamed the more excited they became. When someone yelled that she was an “Israeli, a Jew,” the frenzied mob turned murderous. They continued to beat her with flagpoles and sticks. They tried to tear her apart, limb from limb. They were tearing her muscles in every direction. They tried to tear her scalp off her skull. They were inside her everywhere. She believed that not only was she going to die but that she would die a long, slow, torturous death.
This went on for 25 minutes.
I would call this “barbaric,” “monstrous,” a lynching-in-the-making.
Logan did not. She reminded me of so many Western mainstream media talking heads who kept showing the bloody and barbaric footage of the lynching of two Israeli reservists in the police station (!) of Ramallah—but who failed to draw back in horror, refused to call what they were showing by its rightful name: Abhorrent. A lynching. A human rights atrocity. A war crime.
Logan at least wept a little.
Then, like so many female rape victims, she tried to blame herself or imagine that she had the power to save herself. Logan said “I can’t believe I (would) just let them kill me. How could (she) do this?” She had to fight—not for her own sake, women are still not trained to do that—but for the sake of her two young children. She said: “I came so close to actually abandoning them.” Logan’s “fight” consisted of understanding that all she had to do was “survive.”
On camera, Logan still does not really blame the mob of men, the mob of Egyptian Muslim men to be specific.
But, as in so many female war-zone encounters, luck saved her. The Muslim male mob stumbled past a camp of completely veiled Egyptian women (only their eyes showed). One woman put her arms around Logan and the other women closed ranks around her. Now, the shameless, cowardly male mob would have had to physically or sexually assault “one of their own.” It was no longer just about Logan. Meanwhile, Logan’s all-male television team had persuaded the Egyptian police to try to rescue her and they did so at the last moment. The police had to beat the mob back, get her into a tank, fly her back to the United States where her sore muscles, cuts, and internal wounds and bruises required four days of hospitalization.
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