In my blog post of February third, I commented on the bravery of journalists who put their lives on the line to keep the nation informed of news at home and abroad. Little did I realize days later I’d be reading about the brutal rape and beating of Lara Logan, CBS reporter, who was covering events in Tahrir Square, Cairo. Like Logan, 140 journalists have been attacked since the uprising in Egypt (AP, 2/25/2011). What saved her from possible death was the courage of a group of Egyptian woman and a few members of the military.
The Egyptian women, in particular, are to be praised for their actions which, I suspect, were born from a fellow-feeling for a fallen female. They acted in unison, regardless of cultural and religious differences. Instinctively, they understood that in this world a woman’s status is precarious…that unless they acted together, took a stand, Logan’s fate could become their own… if not in that square on that day, then somewhere else on some other day.
“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women,” Madelyn Albright, former US Secretary of State, once said. I agree. In too many societies and for too long in the course of human history, rape has been the weapon most often used to keep females “in their place.” Women, who constitute 49.76% of the world’s population, (earthtrends.wri.org) need to find their own Tahrir Square, a platform upon which they can stand to demand respect and justice.
I honor the women who came to Logan’s aid and yet I fear for them too. Egypt stands on the razor’s edge of change. During this period of transition, with a military drafting a new constitution, all women should be watchful. They will need to show the same solidarity toward Egyptian woman that was shown toward Lara Logan. Fail to seize the day and all will be lost as it has been lost in Afghanistan despite that country’s constitution and its fine words about equality.