Meltdown: Women harassed, attacked in Tahrir Square during International Women’s Day protests

posted at 5:56 pm on March 8, 2011 by Allahpundit

This wasn’t the only ominous confrontation today in Egypt: Crowds of Muslims and Coptic Christians ended up throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at each other after a protest over a church-burning over the weekend. I want to focus on the women’s protest, though, partly because of the location, partly because it’s International Women’s Day, and partly because I got to “watch” it happen, sort of, in real time this morning. (More on that below.) CNN is reporting what happened as a case of “shouting matches” between women in the Square demanding equal rights and men opposed to them, but things went waaaay beyond that.

Protesters were attacked and driven out of the square, accused of being “foreigners” (quite a few foreign women and journalists were present), and had their flyers and posters torn up.

There was tension from the beginning, with throngs of male hecklers outnumbering the hundreds of female protesters…

Many of the protesters’ male critics invoked religion saying Islam itself decrees that men and women are different, and that men should be responsible for, and rule over, women. At one point, a crowd of male counterprotesters circled a women in a niqab (the full, black veil that covers everything but a woman’s eyes and is worn by Islamic fundamentalists here) chanting, “This is an Egyptian woman!”…

“Suddenly we heard people raising their voices and women screaming. I didn’t see exactly what happened because we had to run,” says Engy Ghozlan, another young activist.

“One woman was attacked,” says journalist Pakinam Amer. “And after that we heard gunfire shots. People started targeting women. They were being very hostile, very aggressive. They were systematically trying to get us out of Tahrir.”

The AP, acknowledging that sexual harassment is widespread in Egypt, says what started with heckling ended with shoving, groping, and even beatings. And, as with the attack on Lara Logan, it didn’t stop until the Egyptian army intervened. Quoth one woman protester: “I thought we were going to be celebrated as women of the revolution because we were present during the days of Tahrir. Unless women are included now, we are going to be oppressed.” Foreign Policy editor Blake Hounshell started retweeting reports from English-speaking Egyptian women in the Square while this was all going on, which is how I came to follow the story. Here’s a selection of them from his Twitter feed; it’s in reverse sequence, so read from the bottom up to see how it unfolded. Hounshell’s verdict, delivered amidst these reports: “What’s going on in Tahrir Square right now is a national tragedy for Egypt.”

Some ask: “Are you not disappointed with what happened today?”… We believe that what happened today is -unfortunately- a surprise to no one.

My friends & @Sabelo were groped & chased by a mob of men; took refuge in a little shop; rescued by Army; now safe nr Talaat Harb. #Egypt

I am so disgusted by the news about wht happened in Tahrir today, this is totally against everything we have been fighting for #jan25 #Egypt

Literally some girls got sexually harrassed by thugs. They wanted them to leave. #millionwomen #egypt #womeninternationalday

a sad day reminds us of the close mindedness that still exists in #egypt against women & christians. Egypt must rise above ignorance

Seeing my friends getting groped and unable to protect them breaks my heart. #egypt

Encircled by men, yelling “out.” Told me I’m “spreading lies.” Cam almost taken.

Abuse of Egyptian women struggling in Tahrir by men: disgusting. Cultural revolution needed across the Arab world & must include women.

Sad day for women i just got chased out of tahrir by mob of men #jan25

Men only can be seen in the place where we were, very few women.

Groups of men attacked women protesters and ran after them. Few tried to help. At one point army intervened for 3 women. Very ugly scene.

It’s amazing: there were human shields for Muslims and Christians but there were none for Women Today #BIGFAIL #WomenDay

Refuse to believe that the pigs who attacked the women today represent the majority of Egyptian men,if they did it’d be over for #Egypt #IWD

Heartbroken. Enraged. Is this revolutionary #Egypt? Just 200 people turn up 2 support women’s rights? #IWD #Jan25

You can’t ask for democracy when you’re denying half of the population their right to speak! I’m done with this country! #tahrir #women

got into an argument that almost turned into a fist fight with a Asshole over women’s right for presidential nomination

We didn’t meet any supporters, the type of crowd was weird and not average tahrir protesting! #IWD #tahrir

Men were pursuing us, screaming at us. Scary. Men near Omar Makram came between us. Girls, if you’re in #Tahrir leave, it’s dangerous.

Enough with the thugs nonsense. Men harassing us today are average Egyptians who have not learned to respect women. #iwd

We have no idea who attacked us, but they tore the demands and said leave, they say y foreigners are here #tahrir

Some men trying to convince us now that harassment doesn’t happen. The plot thickens. And I’m leaving. #Tahrir

Anti demo accused us of being foreigners. As if an Egyptian woman wouldn’t dare ask for equal rights. #iwd #Egypt

Men just told me and @ShereefAbbas that they are agst women’s being harassed today but “we are against women protesting in the first place”

Just spoke to one woman who was harassed “I was grabbed today while shouting for my rights. We have more work to do than we thought” #Egypt

men chanting ” atbokhi” cook , as the opnly role of women m still the women are chanting for equality #iwd

Just heard three women have been chased after by dozens of men, scene in tahrir still very tense

Men chanting against us were very furious. It offended them that we were calling for equal rights. #Egypt #Jan25

Military got in and dispersed crowds, we are safe, we met moushira khattab on the way walking w her daughters asked her not to go in

Unbelievable this is organised attacking us for our demands #tahrir

We were beaten and pushed us out, girls were beaten and harassed #tahrir

On another note, friend is deeper into the crowds called us and said some men are “attacking” a woman. Not sure what he means. #Tahrir

What is happening in tahrir is killing me. Plz dont ask again how r u women oppressed in such a country. #millionwomen #egypt

Absurd RT @Egyptocracy: Men encircled a woman in niqab and chanting: this is the Egyptian woman. #Egypt

Aaaand we just got harassed. Time to go home. More disappointed than I could have possibly imagined. #tahrir

Was just ranted at by a ‘sheikh’ telling me to go home and raise my kids. #tahrir

Man came up to me, asked “Why are u showing world Egyptian women are mad?” Many saying now is not the time. #Egypt

Leaving now. It is getting ugly. I just got grabbed by someone telling me I can’t run for president. #Egypt

Men: “we don’t want it secular, egypt is in an islamic country.” #tahrir

I’m actually starting to feel a little unsafe. Couple of thousand shouting men and what doesn’t even look like 100 women.

Million woman march in #tahrir so insulting. Men “woman’s voice is 3awra” “forget it.” “We don’t want it secular.” #jan25

“Womens rights, yes but not Now!” said an old man at the Womens march #Tahrir

A guy just lifted his shoe at us. Happy women’s day! #Egypt #Jan25 #WomensRights

The turnout against Mubarak in Tahrir Square was on the order of hundreds of thousands; the turnout today for women’s rights, less than a month after revolutionary brotherhood swept the old bastard from power, was by some estimates less than 100. Quote: “‘I’ve never been as afraid as I am now in all my years in Egypt,’ she said, watching men deride women standing nearby and yell: ‘The people want to bring women down!’”

So there’s where things stand today in the heart of the new Middle East. For an equally pessimistic take, read Hitchens’s new piece in Vanity Fair explaining why he can’t get excited about the Egyptian revolution. And in case you’re wondering, no, there’s no coverage of this yet at Al Jazeera’s website that I’ve been able to find. There is, to their credit, this overview of sexual harassment and women’s rights in Egypt but nothing about the ugliness in Tahrir Square. That’s not the first time they’ve quietly overlooked a story about an attack on women that would reflect badly on the revolution. Probably won’t be the last.


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Comment pages: 1 2 3

There’s this thing called ‘internet lag’, wingnut mcstupid. Imagine that.

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 9:43 PM

theres this thing called dumbass…you know that all too well…

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 9:45 PM

We need to freeze disassembly of our nuclear weapons immediately. We’re going to need them if the world keeps going to H at this rate.

slickwillie2001 on March 8, 2011 at 9:43 PM

Totally agreed. I don’t know that we need to build new ones except to replace the older stuff on the shelf, but we may well need atomic deterrence in the near future.

It may be our last credible threat before too long, if our conventional military doesn’t quit losing games of ring-around-the-desert with jihads.

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Oh don’t be so modest. You have the most fun, wallowing all day and night.

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 9:39 PM

Dark? I have a question for you.

Are you still living with your mom on Lorie Circle?

Key West Reader on March 8, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 9:46 PM

you’ll bow down to the muslims.

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Are you still living with your mom on Lorie Circle?

Key West Reader on March 8, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Never heard of Lorie Circle in my life.

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 9:48 PM

you’ll bow down to the muslims.

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 9:46 PM

Yeah, right before the world ends on May 21.

You will die a bitter old fool, clinging to a rusty shotgun and looking out with dimming eyes for the horde of jihadis to come charging over the hill. And that’ll be if your friends (if you have any) or children (God forbid you reproduce) don’t have you disarmed and shipped off to a distant fogey farm.

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 9:50 PM

<blockquoteDark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 9:50 PM

remember me when you bow down…

you don’t have a clue whats coming…you’re so stupid the muslims wouldn’t even want your loser ass.

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 9:54 PM

PS. Lance Murdock is a Simpsons character you dolt.

Lance Murdock on March 8, 2011 at 8:39 PM

You watch the Simpsons, and Key West Reader is the dolt?

OldEnglish on March 8, 2011 at 10:00 PM

remember me when you bow down…

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 9:54 PM

Only place I’ll be bowing is at a Catholic church, if I go to one in the near future.

And why are you so bothered anyhow? You have natural Muslim immunity! Don’t you know they consider pork and pigs abhorrent?

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 10:01 PM

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 10:01 PM

you’ll bend over for the muslims…like you do for every other guy that comes along…

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 10:03 PM

You watch the Simpsons, and Key West Reader is the dolt?

OldEnglish on March 8, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Geez Louise. If watching the Simpsons makes someone a dolt, then watching Palin makes someone a wingnut chickenhawk, watching a Michael Moore film makes someone a communist, and standing in a garage makes someone a car.

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 10:04 PM

you’ll bend over for the muslims…like you do for every other guy that comes along…

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 10:03 PM

Ah, so you’re a filthy-minded homophobe too…how unsurprising. And I bet you squeal for ‘fambly valyoos’, too.

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 10:05 PM

If watching the Simpsons makes someone a dolt

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 10:04 PM

you make homer look like a buff genius.

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 10:05 PM

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 10:05 PM

not nearly as loudly as you do for the boys…or your momma does for me…

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 10:06 PM

not nearly as loudly as you do for the boys…or your momma does for me…

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 10:06 PM

Aww, how cute! You’re fantasizing about getting laid with someone besides your sister!

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 10:08 PM

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 10:08 PM

better gettin laid than being laid…dark bottom….

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 10:09 PM

better gettin laid than being laid…dark bottom….

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 10:09 PM

What would you know about either? Do they even have sex ed out in your neck of the trailer park, or do they still pretend babies come from the stork?

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 10:10 PM

your only view of it is the floor of the park restroom…

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 10:11 PM

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 10:04 PM

Er … it’s a tv show, for pre-pubes.

OldEnglish on March 8, 2011 at 10:12 PM

Er … it’s a tv show, for pre-pubes.

OldEnglish on March 8, 2011 at 10:12 PM

he’s not there yet…

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 10:13 PM

They should look on the bright side, at least they didn’t get gang raped by 200 prehistoric savages, have their n!pple bitten off and then p!ssed on, like Lara Logan.

Alden Pyle on March 8, 2011 at 10:26 PM

Just wait til the stonings begin.

lonestar1 on March 8, 2011 at 10:54 PM

Why would a host of guys- being in complete dominance over their women- willingly give thia everyman despotism up?

Until Muslim women cross (sic) their legs, their degraded serfdom will continue.

No tyranny ever went peacefully.

Not even patriarchy.

And the Koran is patronizing misogyny made Divine.
(Women and Islam don’t mix.

One grovels and one kicks.)

profitsbeard on March 9, 2011 at 1:16 AM

profitsbeard my friend…you said it all. (I am also AlaskanInfidel at Jihadwatch…) I will add this only..

islam is a lie and
Truth is killing it.

Army Brat on March 9, 2011 at 3:41 AM

Allahpundit, I hope you were not in the least surprised by all this. This IS Islam and our ideologically blinded liberal-progressive media we’re talking about, after all. The former by law, sharia law, must oppress women for they are the weaker sex. The latter must ignore the cause of the repression for it conflicts with their ideology.

{^_^}

herself on March 9, 2011 at 3:52 AM

Ugh… Yeah I cannot get excited about the Egyptian revolution either because it doesn’t seem that many of the men in the Arab world are ready to act as grown-ups and except a mature, liberal democracy which includes protections for minorities and women. The only heartening thing about the situation is the army continues to act as neutral observers in the situation. It would be best for all if a Turkish style situation happened in Egypt with the army deciding who is too extreme.

Illinidiva on March 9, 2011 at 4:10 AM

I advocate cultural confidence. As in cultural confidence of Western Civilization and Judeo-Christian values.

Lance Murdock on March 8, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Ah so!

PS. Lance Murdock is a Simpsons character you dolt.

Lance Murdock on March 8, 2011 at 8:39 PM

The Homer Simpson school of foreign policy. One step below the Obama madrassa.

Libs are so low, it all looks like up to them.

Roy Rogers on March 9, 2011 at 6:52 AM

For liberal defenders of hell spawn:

Yes. Heroic scuzlims, standing for the goodness of allah, the righteousness of shariah defending the helpless and innocent against the infidel. Brave, honorable scuzlims, bound for paradise. Surely allah will reserve a special place for such men of honor and distinction.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVXRuAaCVlY

“scuzlims”

Roy Rogers on March 9, 2011 at 7:12 AM

Teaching Liberals 101: Why Islam is BAD

12 year old girl victim of violence by husband

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUP42nSP1ko

Roy Rogers on March 9, 2011 at 7:16 AM

Celebrate diversity! \

AZCoyote on March 9, 2011 at 8:19 AM

Jeez, these women ought to get a life. If you want respect, leave Islam in which you’re just chattel and cattle. What these guys did is how they always treat women, and now the women want to pretend they’re surprised? C’mon, ladies, Islam teaches that women are nothing. If you remain Muslim, swallow it and shut up.

SilentWatcher on March 9, 2011 at 8:21 AM

The AP, acknowledging that sexual harassment is widespread in Egypt, says what started with heckling ended with shoving, groping, and even beatings.

Somehow this is all our fault. If left alone, Islam is a benign element of society. The only reason this could possibly happen is that they’re upset at US Policy in the region.

/one-track Libertarians

mankai on March 9, 2011 at 8:22 AM

At least Al Jazeera HAS something. As I tweeted last night, after watching Michelle Obama and Hillary at the White House handing out women’s “awards”:

Odd how World News Tonight fails to mention Islam/Sharia as reason behind women’s subjugation when they laud their bravery breaking “free”.

tree hugging sister on March 9, 2011 at 8:45 AM

Roy Rogers on March 9, 2011 at 6:52 AM

OldEnglish on March 8, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Key West Reader

Man, I wish I can be as delusion/naive as you people. But I guess I would have to lower my IQ to retarded status. So your solution is to deport every single Muslim in this country and to ‘isolate’ 1.2 Billion people from the Western World? I look forward to reading your White Paper on how this whole plan is going to be implemented.

Moving on, it’s funny how you morons think my username is stupid. The Old Simpsons episodes are obviously way above your intelligence threshold, so I wouldn’t waste my time trying to explain to you people the highly intelligent, moral and philosophical nuances that were integral to most episodes back in the 90′s. I find it funny that we’ve got a guy naming himself after a cheap malt liquor, a guy naming himself after a crappy roast beef sandwich (arby’s is better. if you wanted to pick a cowboy you should have picked The Duke) and finally, we have a dude whose brain so bleach from the sun he could have been an extra in Deliverance.

‘True Conservatives indeed.’

Good luck in your Ron Paul revolution.

Lance Murdock on March 9, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Lance Murdock on March 9, 2011 at 8:59 AM

Need a tissue or just some “me” time?

Roy Rogers on March 9, 2011 at 9:18 AM

The connotations of this phrase will soon become more familiar: “The Arab Street”.

Paul-Cincy on March 9, 2011 at 9:21 AM

But I guess I would have to lower my IQ to retarded status.

Lance Murdock on March 9, 2011 at 8:59 AM

I have said it before and it’s worth saying again…

Liberals, so low everything looks like “up” to them.

Now, fetch my cheez whiz “Lance”.

Roy Rogers on March 9, 2011 at 9:21 AM

Quite a name calling match you guys have going here.

Count to 10 on March 9, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Welcome to the reality of living in a muslim nation, the women are finding out the truth, you cannot have freedom in an islamic society. On another note, glad to see some Copts starting to fight back, theirs is a true fight for survival, literally.

TQM38a on March 9, 2011 at 9:47 AM

Teaching Liberals 102: Why scuzlims are BAD

Nose and ear of an Afghan woman is cut off by her husband

Roy Rogers on March 9, 2011 at 9:57 AM

Any comment from Code Pink yet?

TugboatPhil on March 9, 2011 at 10:52 AM

If you want respect, leave Islam in which you’re just chattel and cattle.

SilentWatcher on March 9, 2011 at 8:21 AM

Islam is just so wonderful, they will kill you if you leave it:

“[In the words of] Allah’s Apostle, ‘Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.’”

For a woman to leave islam in an islamic country, will almost certainly result in her death – usually at the hands of her family.

Rebar on March 9, 2011 at 11:00 AM

“We love death more then [sic] you love life!” –mass murder Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood jihadi

“The Americans love Pepsi-Cola, we love death.” — Afghan jihadist Maulana Inyadullah

“We love death more than you love life!” Adis Medunjanin, would-be al Qaeda-trained terrorist who was a high school classmate of Najibullah Zazi, the NYC subway bomb plotter

“If I’m given 1,000 lives I will sacrifice them all for the life of Allah,” Faisal Shazad, the Paki Times Square bomber.

All muslims, all male, all evil scum. Bring on the hearings, Rep King.

Western_Civ on March 9, 2011 at 11:07 AM

Remember these are some of the people that you guys praised for standing up to a dictator for their basic rights. Some people need dictators, suckers.

Greed on March 9, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Why are trolls allowed to thrive here? Dark-Star gives hope to every trolll out there waiting to ruin any forum they can infest.

It’s not fair that Iran’s Nut-men-a-job doesn’t have a voice here either.

Like my friend “The Great One” Mark Levin says….”what the hell happened to Hot Air?”.

Bleed_thelizard on March 9, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Bleed_thelizard on March 9, 2011 at 11:49 AM

The left needs all the rope we can give them!

Elections have consequences…

Roy Rogers on March 9, 2011 at 1:37 PM

Holy inappropriate banner ads, Batman!
Google ads has placed a banner ad for “sexy Arab women” accompanying this article.

OxyCon on March 9, 2011 at 2:03 PM

not nearly as loudly as you do for the boys…or your momma does for me…

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 10:06 PM

Aww, how cute! You’re fantasizing about getting laid with someone besides your sister!

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 10:08 PM

better gettin laid than being laid…dark bottom….

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 10:09 PM

What would you know about either? Do they even have sex ed out in your neck of the trailer park, or do they still pretend babies come from the stork?

Dark-Star on March 8, 2011 at 10:10 PM

your only view of it is the floor of the park restroom…

right4life on March 8, 2011 at 10:11 PM

You are insufferable, ignorant, and your hygiene is poor.

*Nothing personal, I just wanted to join in the fun.

RINO in Name Only on March 9, 2011 at 3:18 PM

So glad I live in America. Glad it’s still free while it lasts.

I’m praying for these poor men and women over there. Even the deluded men that think their harrasment and mistreatment of women is approved by God. Their conscience tells them they know it’s wrong but their hearts quickly follow the lies told by supposedly holy men.

shick on March 9, 2011 at 3:27 PM

If you’re not disgusted enough already, go to the link AP provided of Jonathan Capehart’s February 18, 2011 WaPo piece on Al-Jazeera’s silence re the gang rape of Lara Logan. The hamina-hamina-hamina excuses A-J supplied were to be expected; unexpected — at least, to me — was the venom in the subsequent comments by readers defending Al-Jazeera.

L.N. Smithee on March 9, 2011 at 5:43 PM

RINO in Name Only on March 9, 2011 at 3:18 PM

looks like I struck a nerve, loser!

and yeah I mean that personally!

right4life on March 9, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Not a green card for any of the pigs

Sonosam on March 9, 2011 at 9:40 PM

Welcome to a middle east democracy.

peacenprosperity on March 10, 2011 at 7:48 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3