Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No liberation for Egyptian women

Jeff Jacoby

PERHAPS THE MOST SHOCKING THING about the despicablesexual attack on CBS correspondent Lara Logan in Cairo's Tahrir Squareis that to those who know Egypt, it wasn't shocking at all.

"Why is sexual harassment in Egypt so rampant?"asked the headline over a story written by CNN's Mary Rogers last November. A veteran producer and camerawoman who has lived in the country since 1994, Rogers reported that the experience of being publicly molested unites women across Egypt's social spectrum.

"Young, old, foreign, Egyptian, poor, middle class, orwealthy, it doesn't matter," she wrote. "Dressed in hijab, niqab, or western wear, it doesn't matter. If you are a woman living in Cairo, chances are you have been sexually harassed. It happens on the streets, on crowded buses, in the workplace, in schools, and even in a doctor's office." Rogers discovered the ugly reality soon after her arrival in the country, when, as she was walking home from work, a stranger "reached out, and casually grabbed my breast." After repeatedly enduring such obnoxious harassment, Rogers stopped walking to and fromher office.

In a swath of the globe notorious for mistreating women, Egypt is particularly infamous. According to a survey conducted in 2008 by the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights, 83 percent of native Egyptian women and 98 percent of women visiting from abroad have experienced some form of public sexual harassment. More than half the Egyptian women reported being molested every day. And contrary to popular belief, most of the victims of this "social cancer," as theCenter called it, were wearing modest Islamic dress.

Not all sexual harassment is physical -- besides groping women's bodies, grabbing at their clothing, and indecent exposure, it can also include blatant ogling, sexual catcalls, and stalking. What happened to Logan, however, was serious enough to land her in a hospital.

CBS reported that on Feb. 11, the day Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak left office,Logan became separated from her "60 Minutes" crew and found herself "surrounded by a dangerous element amidst the celebration . . . a mob of more than 200 people whipped into frenzy." In an attack that lasted more than 20 minutes, she suffered what CBS called "a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating." Eventually she was rescued by a group of women and a squad of Egyptian soldiers. Logan was flown to the United States the next morning, and was hospitalized until February 16.

If this is how Egyptian men are capable of treating women in public, at a moment of national celebration and international attention, what are they are apt to do to women in private when they are angry or frustrated? Data compiled by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics indicates that half of all married women experience violence in Egypt, usually at the hands of their husbands. A different study, cited by the 2009 Arab Human Development Report, estimated that 35 percent of married Egyptian women have been physically attacked -- but the report cautions that violence against women is severely under-reported in the Arab world, because "the subject is taboo" and women who file complaints are considered shamed.

"Sexual violence is not an aberration [in] Egypt," writes Joseph Mayton,the editor of Bikya Masr, an online provider of independent Egyptian journalism. "It has a deep-rooted history." The subject flared briefly onto the public agenda in 2006, when a mob of men and boys rampaged outside a downtown Cairo theater, groping and tearing at any woman unfortunate enough to be within reach. But "after a few weeks of heated discussion," Mayton says, the customary silence and denial had returned.

The recent Egyptian uprising has inspired flights of excited rhetoric about freedom, reform, and a new beginning for Egypt. But the sickening assault on Lara Logan is a reminder that much of Egypt's cruelty and corruption had nothing to do with Mubarak or his regime. No nation or culture that subjects half its population to the degradation suffered by women in Egypt and so much of the Arab world can ever hope to rise to greatness.

In a famous letter written during America's revolution in 1776, Abigail Adams implored her husband John: "Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. . . . Abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex." That was cogent advice for 18th-century America. For 21st-century Egypt and the Middle East, it is indispensable. If there is no liberation for the women, there is no liberation.


Foreign squatters given legal aid to fight eviction from £1million house... as its British owner has to represent himself in court

Squatters who broke into and occupied a £1million house have been given hundreds of pounds of taxpayers’ money in legal aid to fight eviction. The intruders from France, Spain and Poland have been living in the three-storey five-bedroom townhouse for a month.

Meanwhile owner John Hamilton-Brown has been forced to rent a two-bedroom flat for his family while he battles to get the gang out of the house.

Neighbours said the property had just been sold when the 12 squatters broke in during the early hours of the morning after a window was forced open. Since then there has been more damage and endless parties – several of which have culminated in the police being called.

Yesterday, several of the squatters danced, waved flags, sang and played the guitar outside the property. They also bragged about how easy Britain’s laws were in allowing them to take over homes.

A French man who called himself Jean-Claude, said: ‘I came to England seven years ago because this is where the love is. We will speak to other people from all over the world to come here and live because it is so easy. Why can’t we live anywhere we want?’ A French girl with blonde dreadlocked hair added: ‘I love it here. We move around where we want and share our love. You should see the views in there – it’s amazing.’

Mr Hamilton-Brown, 36, applied to the county court last week to seek an interim possession order to enable him to claim the house back. He did not hire a solicitor because of the expense. But when he arrived at Clerkenwell and Shoreditch County Court, in East London, he was amazed to find that two of the squatters had been granted legal aid and were represented by a duty solicitor. Because they were EU citizens and unemployed, they qualified for free legal representation.

Mr Hamilton-Brown had already been to the court four times since his home was invaded on January 21. At Thursday’s hearing, he was not granted the interim order that would have let him remove the squatters within 24 hours because of a legal technicality. He was granted a possession order – meaning he will now have to wait up to six weeks for a warrant that will allow bailiffs to remove them.

‘I was horrified they were given legal representation,’ Mr Hamilton-Brown said. ‘As I work and pay taxes, I’m at a disadvantage. ‘I’ve saved up for ten years to move into this house and this is what I get. It’s remarkable that they can get away with this.’

Mr Hamilton-Brown, a married father of two young daughters who is a director of a financial services company, added that neighbours had indicated that a lot of damage had been done to the property.

The house in Archway, North London, is near the homes of actress Patsy Kensit and comedian Rob Brydon. A legal notice put in the front window by the squatters states that anybody who enters without their permission could face six months in jail and a £5,000 fine.

A neighbour said: ‘They have more rights than we do. ‘They know what they’re doing on the legal side of things as they’ve been in houses before in the area.’


Four British Muslims slashed teacher's face and left him with fractured skull 'for teaching other religions to Muslim girls'

Four men launched a horrific attack on a teacher in which they slashed his face and left him with a fractured skull because they did not approve of him teaching religion to Muslim girls.

Akmol Hussein, 26, Sheikh Rashid, 27, Azad Hussain, 25, and Simon Alam, 19, attacked Gary Smith with a Stanley knife, an iron rod and a block of cement. Mr Smith, who is head of religious education at Central Foundation Girls' School in Bow, east London, also suffered a fractured skull. The four now face a jail sentence.

Detectives made secret recordings of the gang's plot to attack Mr Smith prior to the brutal assault. The covert audio probe captured the gang condemning Mr Smith for 'teaching other religions to our sisters', the court heard.

The RE teacher was targeted as he made his way on foot along Burdett Road in nearby Mile End on July 12 last year, Snaresbrook Crown Court was told.

Prosecutor Sarah Whitehouse told the court: 'The evidence from what was said on the probe points overwhelmingly to a religious motive for this attack.'

It is believed the gang had made two earlier attempts to get at the teacher. They were due to stand trial for the attack at Snaresbrook Crown Court but pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

A fifth defendant, Badruzzuha Uddin, 23, admitted assisting the thugs by hiding blood-stained clothing.

Judge John Hand QC remanded the defendants in custody until sentence on a date yet to be confirmed.

Hussein, of Bethnal Green, east London; Rashid, of Shadwell, east London; Hussain, of Wapping, east London, and Alam, of Whitechapel, east London; have all admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent. Uddin, of Shadwell, admitted assisting an offender.


Life of crime predictable from age three for some children

At the age of three, most children will want to grow up to be a train driver, astronaut or princess. But according to scientists, some toddlers are already destined for a life of crime. Disturbing evidence has emerged that the psychological seeds of a criminal career can be seen before they even reach nursery school.

Abnormalities in the parts of the brain that handle emotions, guilt and fear are far more common in criminals than in law-abiding members of society, it shows. It is unclear whether these abnormalities are genetic, the result of upbringing or both – but they can be measured at a surprisingly tender age.

The finding means youngsters could potentially be screened to see if they are at risk – and then ‘treated’ to prevent criminal behaviour.

Professor Adrian Raine, a former Home Office criminologist, agreed predictive scans were many years off. But the father-of-two added: ‘If you told me my son had an 80 per cent chance of being a psychopath, but that he could be treated for it, I would have him treated. But it has to be a decision made by individuals, not by scientists.’

Professor Raine, who now works at the University of Pennsylvania, studied brain scans of prisoners. He found that murderers who kill in the heat of the moment are more likely to have a poorly functioning prefrontal cortex – which deals with reasoning and helps suppress base instincts.

Psychopaths who lack remorse, guilt or empathy tend to have smaller amygdalas – a region that handles all three emotions, he told the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Professor Raine also tested the fear response of three-year-olds by playing them a neutral sound followed by an unpleasant one, until the children learned the nasty sound always followed the neutral tone.

For most, the sound of the first tone was enough to raise their pulse rates and start a sweat. But a few showed no ‘anticipatory fear’ – a possible symptom of an abnormal amygdala, Professor Raine said.

The prospect of scans suggests a serial killer such as Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe could be spotted and treated as a child – but it also poses dilemmas. ‘It raises the question to what extent should we develop new biological interventions to reduce crime,’ Professor Raine said.


Psychologists have identified key personality traits in childhood which are linked to poor behaviour later in life.

Seven-year-olds with unemotional and ‘callous’ traits were much more likely to be involved in anti-social behaviour at the age of 12, a study by Dr Nathalie Fontaine, criminal justice expert at Indiana University, Bloomington, showed.

Other signs include not having at least one good friend, being unkind to other children and not being helpful if someone is hurt.

The experts stress that not all youngsters with the traits turn into criminals – and not all criminals had the traits as children, but that they increase the risk of a life of crime.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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