Writer/Activist Mona Eltahawy Arrested, Beaten, Sexually Assaulted By Police In Cairo

Illustration for article titled Writer/Activist Mona Eltahawy Arrested, Beaten, Sexually Assaulted By Police In Cairo

Mona Eltahawy — New York-based blogger, feminist activist, award-winning columnist and public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues — was arrested yesterday in Cairo. She'd traveled to Egypt a couple of days ago to report on the protests in Tahrir Square; after she was arrested, the State Department expressed concern. Eltahawy is a US citizen, and to some extent, there was a sense of relief when she tweeted, "I AM FREE" early this morning. But the tweets that followed were sad and disturbing:

Illustration for article titled Writer/Activist Mona Eltahawy Arrested, Beaten, Sexually Assaulted By Police In Cairo

My right hand is so swollen I can't close it.

5 or 6 surrounded me, groped and prodded my breasts, grabbed my genital area and I lost count how many hands tried to get into my trousers.

They are dogs and their bosses are dogs. Fuck the Egyptian police.

Yes sexual assault. I'm so used to saying harassment but those fuckings assaulted me.

The past 12 hrs were painful and surreal but I know I got off much much easier than so many other Egyptians.

God knows what wuld've happened if I wasn't dual citizen (tho they brought up detained US students) & that I wrote/appeared various media.

The whole time I was thinking about article I would write; just you fuckers wait.

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And just recently, she revealed:

Illustration for article titled Writer/Activist Mona Eltahawy Arrested, Beaten, Sexually Assaulted By Police In Cairo

My left arm and right hand are broken acc to xrays

Just imagine what happens to the protesters who can't argue that they are American journalists.

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US Citizen Mona Eltahawy: I Was Sexually Assaulted By Egypt Police [MSNBC]
American Woman Accuses Egypt Police Of Sexual Assault [Global Post]
Mona Eltahawy [Twitter]

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DISCUSSION

I don't know if I can even form an articulate comment right now, but I'm very glad she's safe now and that the only thing broken is her hand. I feel like an idiot when I remember how completely thrilled I was in February when Mubarek was overthrown. And in retrospect, calling my Egyptian friends to congratulate them at the time almost feels like naivety to the point of being borderline offensive. Power vacuums create terrible, cutthroat environments, and the military has no reason to give up their power. A lot of the other revolutions were inspired by Egypt's very public success. It felt really different than Tunisia because Mubarek seemed so much more prepared and fought back hard. I hope Libya and Yemen don't end up going through a phase like this. I'm not even going to mention Syria because at this point, I can't imagine things being any worse, but they can always get worse. It's hard to read stories like this and feel very hopeful. I'm looking forward to reading the article that comes from this experience and dreading it at the same time. As Dodai pointed out, if this is what's happening to someone who can claim dual citizenship and who had people writing letters and calling representatives on her behalf since the story broke, what happens to regular Egyptian citizens who don't have anyone to fight for them on the outside?