In this special guest submission Dr. Diane Shammas* takes a look at the selective reporting by Western media outlets on the abuse of Arab and Muslim women, and the colonial feminists’ lack of concern for the real victims of physical abuse and sexual assault which remain unknown.
I just viewed Mona Eltahawy on CNN today and another from Democracy NOW during the wake of the Libyan Revolution. I do not deny that women suffer violation in the Middle East, as I surely have experienced sexism myself living several months in the Middle East. The only difference between sexism, and I will add, ageism in the Middle East is that the former is more blatant in their expression than in the West, mainly due to the latter loath to litigate. Getting down to brass tacks, violation of women and men are rampant on all seven continents, from the overt to the covert—I am sure even among the research inhabitants of Antarctica. In the case of Eltahawy, I cannot help but sense an aura of opportunism— modeling her two arms in a cast. Granted in her CNN interview she gives a humble admission that many Egyptians have “fared” much worse than she has. Nevertheless, what makes it reprehensible Zionist grist in her CNN and Democracy NOW reports is that she never exposes the abuse Israeli soldiers have committed against women in Lebanon and Palestine, many of which go unreported. Even the primo Zionist, Tom Friedman admittedly reports in his book “From Beirut to Jerusalem” the IDF soldiers ogling the bikini-clad, beautiful Lebanese women on the beach as a prelude to what occurs/ed with women under the Israeli occupation. Consider dismissing any of the reports on Google that IDF would not touch an Arab woman for fear of getting the cooties.
Apart from Mona” presstituding” herself in the following ways: reporting for the right wing Jerusalem Post and Washington Post, popping up at the J Street 2011 conference, and posing as a modern day Germaine Greer— a coquettish cum feminist cause célèbre– on Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. It just seems that Mona’s accounts of fondling and groping follow her wherever she goes—sample her interview with Amy Goodman that a Libyan foot soldier with the Qaddafi forces grabbed her nipple. There is little difference between CNN and FOX News, both are high on reporting sex trafficking in Nepal, child slavery in Haiti, and the Taliban’s raping of Afghani women (never do they mention the Northern Alliance share in the pickings)—all of which emanates from colonial pomposity. However, when it comes to the Arab Middle East, which the West brands as spawning the 19 men who blew up the Twin Towers and a near miss of the Pentagon, violation against the average Arab woman is seldom reported unless it originates from high profile American journalists as Lara Logan and Mona Eltahawy.
*Diane Shammas is an Arab-American of Lebanese heritage. She holds a PhD in international education and urban higher education specializing in Arab-American and Muslim American studies and is a lecturer in American Studies and Ethnicity . She lived in Gaza City in both Spring 2010 and 2011, and taught at Al Azhar University. While in Gaza Dr.Shammas assisted as a researcher for Gaza Community Mental Health Program (Arabic: “saaha nefsiyya). She also has spent extended time in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank.