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Sunday
May082011

Niqab-Wearing Egyptian Women Saved CBS Lara Logan

In her first television interview since being sexually assaulted two months ago, CBS News chief foreign correspondent and “60 Minutes” reporter Lara Logan revealed last Sunday evening what happened to her in Tahrir Square. (We apologize for the small screen and are looking for another. The YouTube video can’t be embedded.)

In an interview with Scott Pelley, Lara shared the details of her horrific assault, most of the known to our readers — with one major exception. The reporter didn’t mention that she returned to Egypt to cover the story, after already being detained and jailed by the authorities.

Lara left Egypt very ill but couldn’t stay away as a journalist in one of the biggest stories of her lifetime.The 60 minutes interview picks up her story at this point.

The video is horrific to listen to although the reporter and mother of two young children is very circumspect and controlled. In relaying her story she confirmed details that we hoped were correct when we wrote them.

Lara Logan Saved By Niqab-Wearing Egyptian Women

It is true that Lara was saved by women, a group wearing niqabs who threw themselves on her as a human shield. The lead woman also poured water all over the dying journalist, who could no longer breath.

Just her eyes, I remember [I could see] just her eyes,” Logan said. “She put her arms around me. And oh my God, I can’t tell you what that moment was like for me. I wasn’t safe yet, because the mob was still trying to get at me. But now it wasn’t just about me anymore.

At this point, security police finally arrived and Lara — naked, dirty and distraught was hoisted over the arms of one of the men and carried out of the square.

The Mob of Men Wanted to Dismember Lara Logan

These details are new and revealed in the interview. Much was said about the physical assault on Lara, where countless men pinched her breasts and shoved their fingers in her anus and vagina, ripping at her sex organs.

Equally horrific are the facts that the Egyptian men were trying to dismember her. They ripped her hair again and again, trying to pull her scalp off her head. They yanked both her arms and legs, trying to pull her limbs out of their sockets.

“I didn’t even know that they were beating me with flagpoles and sticks because I couldn’t even feel that,” Logan told Pelley. “Because I think of the sexual assault; all I could feel was their hands raping me over and over and over again, from the front, from the back…they were tearing my body in every direction…tearing my muscles, tearing off chunks of my scalp…literally trying  to tear my scalp off my skull.”

 

Literally the men wanted to tear Lara Logan in two — after some one shouted that she was a Jew.

“I thought, not only am I gonna die here, but it’s gonna be just a torturous death that’s going to go on forever and ever and ever.”

The details of the drama read like the executions of the crusades. Lara thought her screams would silence the mob but the opposite occurred.

The Lives of Women

In their book, “Half the Sky” Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn write that the paramount moral challenge of the 21st century “is the brutality inflicted on so many women and girls around the globe: sex trafficking, acid attacks, bride burnings and mass rape.”

Widespread violence against women is a fact of modern life, and sexual harassment is all over Egypt. Lara said she had no idea that sexual harassment and assault were so widespread in the country.

The fearless Logan has a reputation for moxie and a loud voice. After becoming the CBS News chief foreign correspondent in 2008, she appeared on Comedy Central’s ‘The Daily Show’, complaining about how little time the networks gave to actual war reporting.

“I’m holding the armor-piercing R.P.G., it’s aimed at the bureau chief, and if you don’t put my story on the air, I’m going to pull the trigger” — and said she would “blow her brains out” if she watched American news coverage.

Lara Logan’s tragedy proves that all women — not only uneducated women in the developing world — can suffer horrific these horrific assaults because they are women.  Women are raped in the Congo and burned alive in India and Afghanistan.

This horrific attack has once again raised questions about the sexual harassment of women journalists and also the very question of whether or not women should be in war zones.

Shannon Freshwate for NYTimesWe reject this argument because female journalists often tell those stories from a different angle than men. Women will talk with a female journalist and not with men, who aren’t interested in this aspect of war reporting in the first place.

In the early days of the Egyptian uprising, we saw American media totally ignore the fact that large numbers of Egyptian women were involved in the protests.

Al Jazeera broadcast details of the ‘Million Person March’, while Hardball’s Chris Matthews — who has only one pronoun in his testosterone-infused vocabulary — called it the ‘Million Man March’. Do you seriously believe that Chris Matthews is a journalist women will talk to about their human rights problems?

Anne of Carversville exists to tell women’s stories, ‘from fashion to flogging’. Let us hope that Lara Logan’s new-found support for the lives of women can be leveraged into a voice much larger than our own — not that we aren’t gaining enormous strength week by week, because we are a growing audience bonfire.  Anne

 

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