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Egypt: An attack on CBS correspondent Lara Logan

Lara Logan

Horrific news from the CBS camp was released Tuesday: Foreign correspondent Lara Logan was beaten and sexually assaulted Friday while covering the celebration of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's downfall in Cairo's Tahrir Square for "60 Minutes."

 So much for female empowerment in Egypt.

UPDATE: Mona Eltahawy, a columnist and public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues, has turned her Twitter account into a forum for women to share their perspective on Logan's assault. It offers a variety of sentiments, including this from @RebeccaCl. "I was sexually assaulted in Egypt in 2000, but don't talk about it in the US because of the racist response."

--Alexandra Le Tellier

Photo: CBS correspondent Lara Logan is pictured in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Friday. Credit: Reuters /CBS News

 

Comments () | Archives (33)

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coldpillow

Anderson Cooper wishes it were him...

cody mccall

Why did CBS put a young, blond, American female in that situation: a seething mob of Arab men, mostly Muslim, some surely Islamic extremists? A bunch of arrogant males at CBS, trying for a scoop, thoughtless, clueless, egregiously insensitive to the inherent dangers of such a volatile situation. It's a miracle she wasn't killed.

Jon Healey

@cody -- That's a pretty offensive comment. She's a good journalist who happens to be pretty. Are her looks a disqualifier when it comes to covering the Middle East? And what makes you think it wasn't her call to go there? This Esquire piece -- http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/lara-logan-egypt-assault-5241788 -- makes it sound like it was her decision, not CBS'. (And why do you assume her boss at CBS is male?)

The protests were dangerous, period. See http://www.franklincenterhq.org/2049/abcs-list-of-reporters-injuried-in-egypt/ for a two-week-old list of journalists attacked while trying to cover the Egyptian revolt. Even a guy from state-owned media was killed while reporting on the protests. See http://www.sabcnews.com/portal/site/SABCNews/menuitem.5c4f8fe7ee929f602ea12ea1674daeb9/?vgnextoid=a54aee34f24fd210VgnVCM10000077d4ea9bRCRD&vgnextfmt=default. Would you have female journalists exempt themselves from covering the biggest story on the planet just because they could get hurt? Leave the job to the men?

Jon Healey

@coldpillow -- That's even more offensive than cody mccall's comment.

Verballistic

She should be grateful that they didnt follow the sexual assault by charging HER with sexual provocation. Muslim males (as opposed to MEN) sometimes like to blame the female VICTIM in cases of rape & other sexual assaults.

This clearly points out that, even in the 21st century, fundamentalist Islam oppresses, exploits, abuses and brutalizes women. Unlike other global religions, Islam has never gone through a desperately needed reformation that would allow its women to join the rest of us in the 21st century...

Verballistic

@Jon Healey

Your accolades of this being the "biggest story on the planet" ignores the elephant in the room.

If the so-called "democratic revolution" that is supposedly taking place in the Arab/Muslim world right now does not LIBERATE WOMEN from the most sexually oppressive and abusive global belief system of the 21st century, it will be a COMPLETE and UTTER FARCE.

Women all over over the Arab/Islamic world are treated like cattle & the political correctness of the mainstream American media has danced around this embarrassing FACT for far too long.

Fundamentalist Islam gets a PASS for barbaric treatment of women, "infidels", gays & former Muslims, just because of PC weenies who are AFRAID to identify barbaric behavior when they see it.

Jon Healey

@Verballistic -- Not sure what media you're reading and watching, but I've seen an enormous amount of coverage of the poor treatment of women in the Arab world. If you're suggesting that Logan was attacked because she was a woman, though, I think you're misreading what happened. She was attacked because she's a journalist -- the same reason numerous male and female journalists were assaulted as they tried to cover the Egyptian protests.

A.man

Did any of the 'male' journalists get 'sexually' assaulted?

Yes; I agree that it was equally despicable that journalists get accosted, assaulted, even murdered in the line-of-duty. However, everyone needs to find exceptionally heinous when 'female' journalists get 'sexually' assaulted as it seems to be a pervasive approach by perpetrators, torturers, and the like to inflict such violence principally against women.

Men, but in this case especially those who purport to practice the Muslim faith need to address the issue front and center; i.e., find and punish the perpetrators; begin dialogue to reform the perspectives on the equality which naturally extends from the expression freedom of all people, including women.

Carol

Dear LAT,

Please shut down this forum and delete the posts. The nine that are here now are vile and offensive and there is no reason for them to be left there.

No one's freedom of speech will be harmed, there are still plenty of online fora where people can speak out.

Mitchell Young

@Jon

She may have been *attacked* because she is a journalist, but I'll bet dollars to doughnuts she was sexually assaulted because she was a woman, a westerner, and being a blonde probably set her up as a target too. *Though of course the overwhelming number of Muslim men are not rapists*, there is evidence that Western women are subject to disproportionate risk of sexual assault from Muslim men than from Western men.

http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article190268.ece
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_gang_rapes
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jan/08/jack-straw-white-girls-easy-meat
[there is much more evidence out there]

Unfortunately, the self-censorship of people like the Twitter poster, fearing to fuel what they term 'racism', means that women (Western women) will be less able to assess risks accurately. I'd add that that government imposed or self-censorship by Western media have the same effect. Perhaps if Logan had more accurate information, she would have worn a hijab and/or dyed her hair dark-- both would have been useful precautions.

Finally, while the violence against journalists -- from the attack on AC to the killing of the Egyptian journalist -- was deplorable, the fact is that the sexual assault on Logan provokes more feeling of horror. That is why the original post was put up in the first place. The revulsion at 'sexual assault' is probably hard-wired into us. Having more women in positions of danger -- whether foreign correspondents or combat troops -- is bound to result in more episodes like this. We are going to have to try to overcome a natural revulsion.

Julie

Just horrible!!!!

chas

Don't go to a country that is in a state of revolution unless you are ready to accept the consequences. Go cry to your mommy.

chas

Dear LA Times. delete Carol's post because she is easily offended.

Jon Healey

@chas -- Not sure whom you're telling to "go cry to your mommy," but it sounds as if you're saying Logan should simply accept the assault. That's akin to arguing that she deserved it.

If you're saying people shouldn't complain about Logan choosing to go into a dangerous place because that's part of the job description, then I would agree with you. There's a difference, though, between recognizing the worst-case scenario in an assignment and shrugging it off when it actually happens. We should all be outraged by what happened to her.

chas

Jon, she shouldn't have gone there unless she was fully aware of what could happen to her. Obviously she was surprised at being assaulted.

She can get sympathy from her mom.

I know, why don't we go hiking in Afghanistan...

Jon Healey

@Mitchell -- I'll concede your first point, but am not so sure about your second. The vast majority of rape victims know their attacker -- 73%, according to a Justice Department study in 2005. See http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-offenders. That suggests the opposite of your conclusion.

You also made a point about self-censorship. Yes, it would be better for the public to know more about the risks in traveling to Egypt. But I think the real self-censorship phenomenon -- that victims don't report rapes by family members and supposed friends -- undermines your point about disproportionate risks.

affableman

"Fundamentalist Islam gets a PASS for barbaric treatment of women, "infidels", gays & former Muslims, just because of PC weenies who are AFRAID to identify barbaric behavior when they see it." Substitute Christianity for Islam as the fundies are pretty much the same.

Verbalocity

Nice looking women, like Laura, need to understand that when they travel to foreign countries, especially volatile ones, that they DON'T get US Constitutional protection in those countries. The Constitution ISN't portable. Leave it to naive Laura and her arrogant bosses at CBS to think they can command all rights and privileges in some of these dirt-bag Arab countries and put her in harms way. Shame on the arrogant and dopey bosses at CBS news!

Jack43

Here's the question: Did this correspondent sacrifice herself to be part of the story or did she let politically correct thought cloud her judgment? The companion question is, of course, did her superiors allow her to place herself in danger for the same reason(s)?

Despite the easily predictable outcome, people like John Healey (a frequent poster in this discussion thread) appear to be clueless as to the nature of the situation and the cultural predilictions of the people involved. She most certainly was not attacked for being a journalist nor for being a woman. Pretty or not, she was a target of opportunity for Egyptians to pay back an American for their country's support of a tyrant. A male correspondent would have been attacked. A female correspondent offered the added incentive of a sexual assault most probably because she was not observant of their cultural strictures regarding women.

Jon Healey

@Jack43 -- And the male reporter from Al Jazeera was killed to pay back ... what, exactly?

I'm not sure why folks insist on pushing the "PC blinders" argument. Reporters went into Iraq knowing full well that they could die. They go into Afghanistan and Pakistan today knowing the same thing.

It takes a certain type of person to do that -- you might say foolhardy, but to call them naive is just insulting to the memory of folks like Danny Pearl. A pal of mine -- a blonde American -- has been reporting from Iraq and Afghanistan for years. She knows what she's up against. I don't have that kind of courage, and am in awe of the people who do.

Verballistic

@Jon Healey

Why are you so clueless to the fact that Egypt and most every other majority Muslim nation has a horrendous track record regarding the oppression, abuse & brutalization of their OWN women?

How much more a representative of AMERICAN media like Lara Logan? The suits at CBS were so shackled by their unwillingness to call Islamic sexual oppression for what it is that they actually sent this poor woman into a virtual WAR ZONE of anti-female hostility WITHOUT A SECURITY TEAM...

Did anyone even notice the conspicuous SCARCITY of Egyptian women during the protests?

The few women that have been present at the demonstrations were COVERED HEAD-TO-TOE with burqas, hijabs & every other conceivable layer of PROTECTIVE clothing that Muslim women must often wear just for their own SAFETY in the oppressive atmosphere of ANTI-FEMALE HOSTILITY that permeates Islamic no-go zones

Charles Morris

Oh...one question for our beaten, sexually assaulted journalist...were you wearing a head-scarf???

AC

as deplorable the act of sexual assault on this young woman is ,the fact of the matter is,in a state of lawlessness physical and sexual attacks as well as attacks on properties should be expected but not accepted.

Jon Healey

@Verballistic -- You keep insisting that Laura Logan was "sent" into this situation by her employer, as if she had no say in the process. She's no child. If she didn't want to go, she wouldn't have gone. You also seem to be arguing that no woman journalist should have tried to cover this story. That, I think, is up for female journalists to decide. As for the precautions Logan took, hindsight tells us they were totally inadequate. But I'm not about to point fingers on that issue because I don't have sources inside CBS telling me what was decided and why.

concerned

To me, the horrible attack on an journalist in public during what was to be a celebaration underscores the fact that America needs to get out of the Middle East!!!! We are not making it better by being there. We are putting our journalists, our soldiers, our sons, our daughters, in harms way for people who want to be-head us, blow us up, rape us. For What????? Bring all the Americans home. Lets spend all the money we are spending on the wars in Iraq and Afganastan on families & childrent in the U.S.

Verballistic

Jon Healey wrote:

"As for the precautions Logan took, hindsight tells us they were totally inadequate. But I'm not about to point fingers on that issue because I don't have sources inside CBS telling me what was decided and why."
----------------
I just found out in another article that you are an LA Times editorial writer & have a hard time understanding why you have so little sympathy for Ms Logan.

Since when is an EMPLOYEE required to provide adequate protection for HERSELF...this was clearly the responsibility of her bosses at CBS.

As I see it...the culpability in this incident in descending order:

1. The rapists themselves

2. The employer for whom Ms Logan was working

3. Ms Logan herself

This is not to say that Logan is without accountability here, just that she is less culpable than either the rapists or her employees for whom she is ON ASSIGNEMENT.

Mitchell Young

@Jon

That most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows is completely compatible logically and mathematically with group A committing a disproportionate number of such assaults when compared to group B.

Here's a report by a female student visiting Alexandria, Egypt (granted it is 15 years old). From the very 'progressive' Rough Guide website
===
Foreign women are well-known as “easy game”. Every Egyptian man claims to have at least one friend who can testify to the willingness of a foreign woman he once met. In a society in which pre-marital sex is officially taboo and a complex set of rules govern even informal relations between the sexes, the freedom enjoyed by most Western women is easily misinterpreted
...
I often went out alone and found a café where I was able to sit undisturbed, my back to the road. I longed to be able to wander at will but it was only when I was with someone else that I felt confident enough to look around me. Alone, it was easier to walk head bowed, ears closed rather than risk attracting anyone’s attention. This was the stance adopted by many Egyptian women who are themselves the object of unwanted attention.

Nowhere are wandering hands, or for that matter, wandering bodies, quite such a problem as on crowded buses and trams. Morning tram rides to the university were a constant nightmare of sweaty bodies, grinding hips and whispered comments. However, if you find yourself seriously cornered you should make a fuss, and other passengers will invariably help you out.
===
http://www.roughguides.com/website/Travel/SpotLight/ViewSpotLight.aspx?spotLightID=388

Given all this, the attack on Logan was hardly to be unexpected. There is a fine line between courage and foolhardiness. Personally I think parachuting in these celebrity reporters, male or female, is ridiculous -- much better to go with the BBC model and have long time reporters/experts in the region do the on-scene reporting. Putting an obviously western, blonde, uncovered female in that situation -- even if she wanted to be there -- is both dangerous and counter-productive in terms of actual reporting.

Robt

So far, I'm astounded. I haven't found even one comment or blog or editorial whose writer has conjured up a way to blame what happened to this woman on white males. That's just amazing, unless you count those who blame her bosses. There has to be at least one white male in that group. Anyway, the Twitter comment by RebeccaCL is just cretinous. So she doesn't want to talk here in the US about what happened to her in Egypt because of the racist responses? What race, besides Caucasian, is involved? That of the rapists? Guess what? Egyptians are not of the same race as Native Americans, East Asians, South Asians, Pacific Islanders, or black Africans. Egyptians are technically white, but like many Jews, racially Semitic, a subgroup of Caucasians. Perhaps she is confusing racism with scurrilous comments about Islam. Followers of Islam can be Black, South Asian, East Asian, Pacific Islander, as well as Arab (Semitic). Deriding the nastier aspects of Islam--particularly the misogynism that is endemic to that religion--is not racism anymore than deriding certain propensities and proclivities exhibited by Christians would be. Egyptians are not of a different "race" than whites/Caucasians who criticize their sexism, sexual hypocrisy, or even sexual brutality. This is about religion and its corrosive effect on human sensibilities when humans let it override their common sense. How else would you describe any belief system that permits its adherents to blame victims of rape as adulteresses deserving of death by stoning? Of course, I'm just as free with my criticism of Christians of any race when they exhibit misogynism, sexual hypocrisy, or sexual brutality. Got Vitter or Ensign, anyone? What gets to me about a "progressive" like RebeccaCL is how she sees those she believes to be white racists are intrinsically more evil than the Islamic perverts who actually violated her.

Verballistic

It's OFFICIAL:

EGYPT's DEMOCRACY REVOLUTION HAS BEEN HIJACKED BY A MUSLIM EXTREMIST NAMED YUSUF QARADAWI.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Egypt-protest-hero-Wael-Ghonim-barred-from-stage/Article1-663996.aspx

"Google executive Wael Ghonim, who emerged as a leading voice in Egypt's uprising, was barred from the stage in Tahrir Square on Friday by security guards, an AFP photographer said. Ghonim tried to take the stage in Tahrir, the epicentre of anti-regime protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, but men who appeared to be guarding influential Muslim cleric Yusuf al-QARADAWI BARRED HIM FROM DOING SO. Ghonim, who was angered by the episode, then left the square with his face hidden by an Egyptian flag."

More on Qaradawi,

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,745526,00.html

"Qaradawi advocates establishing a "United Muslim Nations" as a contemporary form of the caliphate and the only alternative to the hegemony of the West. He hates Israel and would love to take up arms himself. In one of his sermons, he asked God "to kill the Jewish Zionists, every last one of them.

In January 2009, he said: "Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the [Jews] people who would punish them for their corruption. The last punishment was carried out by [Adolf] Hitler."

NewsCollective

It does not matter how deep you fall, what matters is how high you bounce back.
We wish u to get well soon
http://www.newscollective.com/blog/?p=3729

NewsCollective

It does not matter how deep you fall, what matters is how high you bounce back.
We wish u to get well soon
http://www.newscollective.com/blog/?p=3729

NewsCollective

It does not matter how deep you fall, what matters is how high you bounce back.
We wish u to get well soon
http://www.newscollective.com/blog/?p=3729

NewsCollective

The courage and bravery shown by lara logan is very much appreciable and the incident is not going to take her courage down
http://www.newscollective.com/blog/?p=3729


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