The Cult of Mona Eltahawy

[Submitted by an Ikhras reader who requested to remain anonymous]

Mona Eltahawy’s broken arms have now become a part of Egypt’s revolution, or so she says. In each media appearance wherein she dons two casts, now full of signatures, well wishes and smiley faces, Mona Eltahawy draws attention to her alleged abuse while in the clutches of Egyptian officers. All the while she sits in green-room studio’s around the United States she makes passerby acknowledgment of abuse other Arab women have faced.

Despite having bones broken in both wrists, one broken, swollen arm, and a broken hand Mona Eltahawy was able to tweet some 12 hours after her supposed physical and sexual assault, an assault a number of major media outlets cannot yet verify.

Yet there she is, her face plastered on our television screens, her story being covered by Democracy Now!, CNN, Anderson Cooper 360 etc. etc. ad nauseam.

As with most beloved media icons one is hardly able to question Mona Eltahawy publicly without being lambasted with often unwarranted accusations by Eltahawy or her cultish following of being sexist.  Mind you, this same feminist crusader once described journalist and co-founder of Electronic Intifada Ali Abunimah as “a shrill diva” during an online dispute about the “legality” of removing the Israeli flag from atop Israel’s embassy in Egypt and replacing it with the Egyptian flag after the killing of Egyptian soldiers by Israeli Forces, telling Abunimah that he should “woman up [and] grow some ovaries.”

So, in late August, after watching her exchange with Ali Abunimah and how quickly many came to her defense, I created a parody account as a means to simply burlesque Eltahawy’s often pompous and self-serving rhetoric; the account remains open @monaetahawy, only missing the letter “l”, present in Eltahawy’s actual account. Little did I know that not only would I gather a nice following but they would wholeheartedly believe that I was Eltahawy; mind you, the account clearly states that it is parodying her official twitter page. I often steal from her tweets, adding a bit more arrogance at times (which is not easy to do) or simply mocking her outright, and yet her bastion of idol-worshipers have not only responded to my parody with praise but often attempted to impress me by showing how devoted they are. As comical as it sounds I openly called myself a “warrior” while in Mona cyber-dress and instead of receiving questionable looks I was appalled at the level of cultish praise many provided me. For example, from the parody account, I tweeted “I’ve decided to publish my harrowing story: Mona – The Strength of a Thousand Warriors. Comments?” Instead of questionable replies or even the questioning of the authenticity of the account there was a slew of individuals who recommended that they would like to know the date of publishing:

While others attempted to stroke the ego of who they believed was the actual Mona Eltahawy:

After stating that Mona Eltahawy was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize “in the category of self-promotion” while the United States of America was considering awarding her the medal of freedom I received an amazing number of congratulatory replies to this seemingly obvious joke, all of which ranged from enthusiastic “congratulations!” to “you go girl! Super proud of you!” I was stunned. I began to wonder just how madly they followed Eltahawy, a brigade of puppets at her disposal; so easily manipulated and abused just so that they may simply become grateful members of her pack, grateful to lap up any crumbs she may decide to toss at them.

The members of the Cult of Mona Eltahawy express deep, unquestioning commitment which they put on display over and over again. Questioning Eltahawy is not only discouraged but those who dare call her into account are shunned, mocked and swiftly denounced as being either sexist or a fool. Eltahawy dictates as to how followers should think, act and feel as she usually directs her followers on who is worthy of their replies when engaged in debate and who they should simply ignore.

Eltahawy’s journalism work is her own ‘divine commission’, a revelation which stressed absolutism; those who take issue with her contentions fall outside the clique and the fold of acceptance as Mona Eltahawy requires unquestioning obedience and submission of her devoted followers.

Mona Eltahawy is a self-appointed speaker on a variety of issues, accountable to none and elitist in both actions and rhetoric. Though Eltahawy may not be speaking in tongues or claim to be carrying God’s message she does chant her own narrow-minded phrases in order to subdue critical thinking. To believe that so many of her devotee’s who cling her very pant legs just so they may catch a glimpse of Eltahawy, who believe outright exaggerations posted in her voice under a parody, are not mindless communicants of the Mona Eltahawy school of ‘thought’, and I use this word loosely, are not indoctrinated is to refuse to acknowledge what stands before them.

As of late Mona Eltahawy is using a cult of personality to create a sensationalized and grandiose public image of herself. She is an elitist with a cult following by definition:

A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise.” (Cult of personality.  Encyclopedia Britannica)

Mona Eltahawy is not the first media darling to make headlines nor will she be the last. The cult of Mona may soon find themselves filling the trash-bins of history but as history often shows, there will more presstitutes, more proselytizers of this type of black and white elitism.

When it comes to Mona Eltahawy “flattery” and “praise” are what drive her motives, her actions, and her very existence in the media. Without her chorus of hand-clapping, ululating and braying admirers she would be but another arrogant, spineless media-whore, chasing after one news outlet after another in an attempt to make a name for herself off the backs of those who have often died in the pursuit of liberty and justice.

  36 comments for “The Cult of Mona Eltahawy

  1. Tomatoes_Potatoes
    January 11, 2012 at 9:46 AM

    Mona worked in Israel. I have no respect for her.
    I’m sorry she was abused but I have no respect for anything she has to say.

  2. Anonymous
    December 3, 2011 at 11:38 PM

    ElTahaway took a vigorous public stand in support of the revolt in Libya. Curiously, as a self-described “feminist,” she hasn’t withdrawn her support even after the new regime reversed all of the rights Libyan women had until now. What a joke, a sock puppet for the likes of Sarkozy. Her supporters, exposed here as mindless, need to go away and hang their heads in shame. Pathetic.

  3. Monalover101
    December 2, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    Mona to all and to all a good night!! God bless all the Monaoids and all hail Mona hail Mona!! She wins she wins!!

  4. Inquisitor
    December 2, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    “Despite having bones broken in both wrists, one broken, swollen arm, and a broken hand Mona Eltahawy was able to tweet some 12 hours after her supposed physical and sexual assault, an assault a number of major media outlets cannot yet verify.” 

    Tendentious. Not only disgustinly low to doubt someone’s medical condition. Somebody may have written her tweets for her (as you would say that tweets from arrested ppl can’t be for real).

    “As with most beloved media icons one is hardly able to question Mona Eltahawy publicly without being lambasted with often unwarranted accusations by Eltahawy or her cultish following of being sexist(…) telling Abunimah that he should “woman up [and] grow some ovaries.” ”
    And she had a point, with the intentions of not letting Egypt degrade to 3rd degree states like former Libya, Syria, Iran. 
    I bet if you take some of her advice you might actually see the light as well.

    “I created a parody account as a means to simply burlesque Eltahawy’s often pompous and self-serving rhetoric; the account remains open @monaetahawy, only missing the letter “l”, present in Eltahawy’s actual account”

    So you created an account to evoke reactions for other uses than mocking. That’s just so low, parody or not. And obviously a proof that you’ve nothing else to do than wanting crush a persona. Go, do something useful.

    [lots of stuff about how uncritical followers are etc]

    He! Wait a second. Could it be? Oh man, fuck!
    -reality check-
    Too bad, that’s how the world works. As the same that a 40% of the population voted for Ikhwan/Republicans/Tory, for the same reason UN/EU/USA sanction Syria. For the same reason that a thousands of people went to the Israeli Embassy in Cairo to tear down the walls and take the Israeli flag. For the same reason you have a 100.000 protestors at Tahrir AND another 100.000 at Abassiya. For the same reason that flocks of people love the Beatles, the Rolling Stones or even Lady Gaga. For the same reason Justin Bieber fans are a hazard to the world.

    [“When it comes to Mona Eltahawy “flattery” and “praise” are what drive her motives, her actions, and her very existence in the media. Without her chorus of hand-clapping, ululating and braying admirers she would be but another arrogant, spineless media-whore, chasing after one news outlet after another in an attempt to make a name for herself off the backs of those who have often died in the pursuit of liberty and justice.”]

    Apparantly she’s not. She obviously has better points to make than other people. Otherwise she would not have been invited over and over again.

    To conclude: I never heard about Mona ElTahawy, I never heard about you. She’s obviously putting her face on media outlets for a cause and you try to mock her safely behind your laptop. I always wonder how come (like REALLY how come) to many Egyptians are so ignorant on police brutality and violations of the sacred individual? And how come if somebody stands up and says something about it, that same person is flogged by the masses who find all kinds of faults in the persona. It’s this disrespect that worries me alot. If you don’t understand that the transgression of the body and mind by a public institution (!) are untolerable, then you’ve obvisouly missed the point of the whole revolution.
    But this piece of barf you just vomited in to my face made several things clear to me: The one who’s replying anonymously on all the comments is obviously the same person that wrote the piece. And that same shrew should be tamed. You’d be so much more valuable to yourself and to your future offspring if you put 1% of that anger into human rights.

    I’m obviously gonna hear more about her and I’m never gonna hear about you ever again.  

    Bend over, cause it’s gonna hurt. A little.

    • December 2, 2011 at 11:21 AM

      Both arms broken yet not a mark, scratch or bruise on her face? Of course, if her face was messed up, she couldn’t flirt with Zionist Bill Maher and a like plethora of media lackeys.

      “She obviously has better points to make than other people. Otherwise she would not have been invited over and over again.” –Are you serious? The media is not going to invite someone over and over again that has valid points: they are going to invite people that parrot the same Zionist-inspired diatribe ad nauseum. It’s the same way Hussein Ibish gets invited to blather on O’Reilly; the same way Dean Obeidallah gets invited to make an ass of himself regularly on CNN in an attempt to drag all Arab-Americans down with him.

      If you would put 1% of the energy you spent on composing that inane comment into actually researching the truth, you would have a much different opinion. Or maybe you’re far too obtuse.

    • December 2, 2011 at 11:48 AM

      “I always wonder how come (like REALLY how come) to many Egyptians are so ignorant on police brutality and violations of the sacred individual?”

      Egyptians are ignorant when it comes to police brutality? This is beyond ignorance and sheer and utter bullshit.

      Then again you and the others only think that those in the media exist – the other Egyptians are of no matter because they didn’t wag their tail for Maher, as pointed out by Tammy, they don’t go around trying to get even a bit of attention like they are the second coming. 

      Saying that you’ve “never heard of Mona Eltahawy” is telling, maybe that’s why you’re defending her attacks on Abunimah, her being insanely egotistical and her blatant stupidity when it comes to things unrelated to her ego. Makes sense now.

  5. December 2, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    You seem rather pathetic.

    P.

    • Khalid
      December 9, 2011 at 5:03 PM

      Look in the mirror.

  6. December 2, 2011 at 8:40 AM

    At one time I though this website was on our side but tis clear its just run by bitter people upset they are not in media. Maybe if u were good writers u would be. (There are online writing classes online u can learn to write.) 

     How can u taunt a woman who was beaten and sexually abused? You have no decency. Who funds this website? Why is everything anynomous? What r u afraid of? I can understand secret identity if youre in Syria but not in West – so why hide?  Hasbara? Maybe but more likely just bitter, untalented writers who have no place to write. 

    • December 2, 2011 at 11:29 AM

      You seem to be missing the point. The whole purpose of alternative media exposing the lies, hypocrisy and corruption is because mainstream media has failed to do their job. We do not wish to be a part of lamestream media. The House Arabs/House Muslims who prostitute/pimp themselves on Zionist-owned media did not get there because of their talent, writing skills or for being articulate. They got there because they serve as useful idiots and tools.

      I wonder what your educational background is that you would think yourself in a position to judge someone’s writing style? From this comment, I can see that your own command of grammar and the English language is a bit weak to be criticizing someone else’s writing skills.

  7. Beesat
    December 1, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    Wow.  As someone who supports the general political line of this blog and often disagrees with Mona’s I find this such hateful garbage.  What happened to attacking the idea, and not the person?

    How petty and immature. 

    • Anti-Cult
      December 1, 2011 at 10:59 PM

      Again, no dissection of the piece just more boo-hooing. I bet you do “often disagree with Mona” yet I doubt you’ve ever publicly done so else’ you may offend the royal sniveling princess.

      • Beesat
        December 2, 2011 at 12:43 AM

        Do tell, what part of the “piece” would you like me to dissect? The paragraph outlining the very clever and wily parody account?  Or the constant references to whores and prostitution?

        Get real.  Trotsky, even after exile and murder of his son by Stalin never used such language.  Not because Stalin was undeserving, but because he didn’t see himself as tabloid gossip writer.

        • None
          December 2, 2011 at 1:22 AM

          Excuse me while I laugh hysterically at you mentioning Trotsky in respect to a post about Mona Eltahawy. Hilarious.
          I don’t see the author claiming it’s a clever account…the account brought her fanbase to light on a much more comical scale, for what they are. You want to whine about the tone of the article, fine by me. It doesn’t detract at all from the meat of the article – showing her and her followers for what they are.

          • Dianeshammas
            December 2, 2011 at 12:03 PM

            This is why I wrote my article and signed my name to it, she is an out and out fraud. Again, if she were any ordinary Egyptian woman, or let us say any human rights activists and had been pushed around, you would not hear boo about it .

            • December 2, 2011 at 2:07 PM

              Exactly. All of the comments supporting her, including Ruwayda (who continue’s to pat Mona’s back on Twitter), seem to think because Mona has the media’s full attention it means all other activists do not exist, or at least not in the same capacity as Mona. To them Mona is on a higher level because she does media specials while other activists are busy working on the ground.

              I read your article Diane, great piece! Thank you.

        • Solaf
          December 2, 2011 at 1:30 AM

          Have you never read her comments between those she even remotely takes issue with? Even when she is not name-called she is disgusting in how she replies to people. I saw the exchange with Abunimah and how she used what would be called “sexist” language with him when he was not rude nor at all perverse. So much for your example right? Maybe you should go teach her the ways of Trotsky.

  8. Inquisitor
    December 1, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    What a tendentious piece of shit. Do yourself a favor and don’t litter the internet with this garbage. Wonder what you would’ve done if you got harassed on Tahrir.

    • None
      December 1, 2011 at 10:57 PM

      Thousands of others are harassed in Egypt. Thousands upon thousands who aren’t Egyptian are harassed in all other places of the world. Wonder what they would have done? Not whore themselves out for attention saying they’re arms are “part of the revolution” etc etc etc
      You all can’t rip up the piece so instead you pick on emotive bullshit. Boo Hoo Mona Eltahawy had her feelings hurt because finally someone gave it to her right where she needs it most – they poked at that inflated head of hers and called her out for being an egotistical tool of the media.

  9. Navehla
    December 1, 2011 at 2:58 PM

    What disgusting cheap misogynistic garbage

  10. December 1, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Did ‘Ikhras’ also accuse other women who were sexually assaulted in Tahrir Sq? Was Samira Ibrahim — one of the women subject to military virginity tests called a liar — were her accounts questioned? No. 

    Calling Mona El-Tahawy a spineless media-whore, a public figure that has raised awareness about women rights, and was one of the few who used Twitter efficiently to raise awareness about the Tunisian protests when it first started — when all public outlets paid little attention summarises the integrity of this article.

    • Anonymous
      December 1, 2011 at 2:54 PM

      All those who tag alongside Mona Eltahawy have this insane idea that she somehow is doing everyone a bloody favor by highlighting, when it fits her agenda, i.e. self-interest, the suffering of women. She was not “one of the few”. She was one of many, many whom were not paid attention to because they did not appear on the mainstream media outlets. 

      If you mean by “use Twitter efficiently” in that she incessantly tweets and retweets compliments to herself, about her, about how brilliant and unique and beautiful and stunning and all-in-all amazing with a large exclamation point and smiley face – then yes, she does.

      Public outlets did not begin to pay attention to the revolutions in Tunisia et al. because of Eltahawy. This fallacy is pathetic, with no verification and no substance. Just another fan-girl grunt.

      Tunisians were out on the streets, dying for their struggle, so were the people of Bahrain, Egypt etc. They were bloody online revolutions. These things were taking place on the street. Because the mainstream media decided to pay attention to them is not brag-worthy, nor is the fact that Eltahawy used them to get herself spots on news channel after news channel.

      • Anonymous
        December 1, 2011 at 3:00 PM

        Correction: they were “NOT” bloody online revolutions. 

        Again, I reiterate. Mona Eltahawy is not one of the few as you and many others wish us to believe. I’ve been to Egypt on many occasions and met women with spine, integrity and dignity and unfortunately for those interested in propping up MonMon they do not sit on their asses tweeting all day about themselves – they are out fighting on the streets each and everyday, unlike Mona who comes on revolutionary tours. How many times was she seen highlighting, in a ROW, what happened to her hand? Egyptians were replying back, asking why she wasn’t speaking of others who were hurt and injured as much as she spoke of herself!

        They do not have such splendid media attention like Eltahawy and somehow you and many of her other fan-girls see this as her being a unique figure in the struggle when in fact it means no such thing. 

        • December 1, 2011 at 3:20 PM

          This isn’t true. Both this article and you are claiming that she tweets only about herself, she’s been vocal about numerous things, and not just her sexual abuse/assault in Egypt.

          Twitter is a personal account which people can use in any way that suites them — whether highlighting Human Rights abuses or otherwise. 

          • Anonymous
            December 1, 2011 at 3:26 PM

            You mean whether highlighting abuse or talking about yourself on a hour-by-hour, day-by-day basis.

            Also, as others are pointing out, she’s very selective in respect to what women she talks about. Nothing on Gaza as she was “on the fence” during the slaughter of Palestinians then and now.

            What dignity and integrity aye?

            • December 1, 2011 at 3:38 PM

              Women abuses are not limited to Gaza. She doesn’t have a contract with the world to tweet/talk about women rights abuses everywhere. If you want to highlight the women rights abuses of women within Palestine, by all means use social networking to achieve that.

              • Anonymous
                December 1, 2011 at 3:44 PM

                This further proves to what extent you will go to explain away her being on the fence,her being egotistical, her being a sell-out and all-around fake. That she ‘can’t cover everything’. Ruwayda my dear you are a pathetic person. And before you accuse me of sexism, I’m a woman. Or, maybe a self-hating woman by you and MonMon’s standards aye?

                She’s on the fence with Palestine but not all other subjects right? And yet she’s the champion of women’s rights? I do highlight the abuses and so do many others and will continue to do so.

                The fact you take no issue with her lack of ‘integrity’ and ‘dignity’ when it comes to her coverage (or lack of) when it comes to Palestinian women shows how hypocritical you are.

                I think the author got it right by writing the following:

                “A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized and heroic public image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise.” (Cult of personality.  Encyclopedia Britannica)
                There we go, that about covers it.

                • December 1, 2011 at 3:50 PM

                  I don’t understand why you have to be insulting towards me, simply because I share a different view. 

                  And, @LSal92 I haven’t called you a self-hating woman, this isn’t about you, or me for that matter. Her coverage of Palestinian women is something that you can bring up and question, and that isn’t a topic which I’m going to discuss since it would make us digress.

                  I have an issue with those who question whether she was sexually assaulted. Her presence on Media channels about Middle east isn’t something that I would condemn/criticise her for — some of her views, sure but not on unjustifiable grounds. She is a journalist + public figure, and they go on news-channels. Its odd that she would be called a media-whore for doing her job.

                  • Anonymous
                    December 1, 2011 at 3:56 PM

                    I’m not @LSal92:disqus  dear. 

                    She can tweet incessantly about her arms but not about Palestinian women? She’s the champion of women’s rights so long as it does not offend the hands that feed her aye?

                    I have an issue with those who do not question things, period. She may or may not have been sexually assaulted, I find this to be a non-matter in this particular argument. You are deviating from the points I have listed and from the issues I’ve brought up.

      • December 1, 2011 at 3:17 PM

        I didn’t claim it was simply because of Mona’s tweets but that she was part of the few tweeting at the early stages of the Tunisian revolution to raise awareness.

        And no one has claimed Tunisia was an online or Twitter revolution, only that social networking enabled Media outlets to extract information as it was developing. 

        Yes, during these revolutions Mona was vocal on news channels – why shouldn’t she be? She was following the news, raising awareness and this isn’t something that should be condemend. This is called journalism. What did you expect? That she shouldn’t go on news channels to talk about the Egyptian revolution.

        • Anonymous
          December 1, 2011 at 3:24 PM

          Let her talk as she pleases, she does regardless of public opinion of her. You obviously do not understand what the author meant by CULT and that her following fit the description to a T. 

          I have more respect for those who are not on revolutionary tours, who are not attempting to make a name for themselves off the back of the revolution: Hossam Hamalawy, Gigi Ibrahim, Nora Shalaby et al. 
          She is not part of any few tweeting, you can believe whatever you want though. There are many more tweeting but none with as much attention as her. In this they are unlucky.

          Oh, and I’m glad to know that there seemingly is no issue with the fact that she’s extremely egotistical and loves having her ego stroked.

          • December 1, 2011 at 3:39 PM

            Public opinion isn’t limited to Ikhras. 

            • Anonymous
              December 1, 2011 at 3:47 PM

              Dear me, you have no idea how much she is mocked outright do you? It’s no wonder she loves surrounding herself by those who will gladly pat her on the back.

              You won’t reply to the examples of other Egyptians, you brushed off the Palestinian women issue by saying that the all-powerful MonMon just can’t cover EVERYTHING!, and you continue to show yourself to be only capable of defending her. Nothing more.

              The fact that she gladly admitted to being on the fence in respect to Palestinian when they were being killed en masse by Israel, the fact she relished in this is enough for me – a woman of DIGNITY. 

              It’s time for you and her following to learn what dignity is.

            • Bil_sal
              December 1, 2011 at 4:16 PM

              Tell any Egyptian what her position is on Palestine and half will declare her unrepresentative of Egyptian public opinion. The other half would declare her a traitor. One thing which unites all Egyptian political factions is their unwavering support for Palestinians and since Mona’s views on the cause is known (not matter how she tries to spin her views), you cannot expect her to receive any support. Not withstanding the reprehensible abuse she endured, of course.

    • Sab2002
      January 24, 2012 at 1:35 PM

      The revolution was live not on twitter btw! Dont drag other names in what is a very concise article about how blind obedience distorts evrything.  She is a paid journalist, she is not a revolutionary. She has a very skewed idea about feminism, she refused to call a woman in hijab/niqab a ‘sister’ …It’s well documented on Twitter.  Maybe she will give make you her PA in Washington if you continue with the fawning…

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