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.