Debating the (Middle East’s) War on Women
A follow-up debate on Monday’s page, The Middle East’s War on Women, which referenced an article written by Mona Eltahawy titled “Why Do They Hate Us?”
Rather than cherry-pick specific passages, I’ve simply provided the first paragraph of each respondent’s commentary below, along with thier respective gender and their name hyperlinked to whatever background info I could find (where I was unable to locate anything definitive, I linked to their Twitter profile). They represent a wide latitude of opinion in reaction to Mona Eltahawy’s piece, something most LGF members should be able to appreciate, even if they disagree.
When I marched to Tahrir Square on Jan. 25, 2011, I was driven by the indignities and suffering endured by all Egyptians, men and women, from decades of corrupt and oppressive rule. Despite the oppression, I believed in my power to effect change. I believed then and I believe now that to bring about that change, we need lots of determination and hard work. […]
Shadi Hamid - Male, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center and fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.
Unquestionably, the plight of Arab women is cause for considerable alarm. And it only seems to have gotten worse since the Arab uprisings began. For this reason, Mona Eltahawy’s recent Foreign Policy essay makes for vital reading. But how and why did it get this bad? The answers to this question are perhaps just as troubling, and require far greater consideration than Eltahawy allows. In Egypt, women were at the frontlines of revolt. But when it came time to cast their votes, the majority of Egyptian women voted for parties that do not believe in “gender equality” as most Westerners would understand the term. Presumably, men did not force them to do so. The fact of the matter is that Arab women, throughout the region, are exercising their moral and political agency, but not necessarily in the ways we might expect. […]
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf - Male, chairman of the Cordoba Initiative and author of Moving The Mountain.
As Islam has spread throughout the world, it has combined religion with native cultural practices. Many centuries later, separating the religion from the underlying culture has become difficult. That’s why Islam as practiced in Egypt differs from, say, Islam as practiced in Malaysia. […]
Hanin Ghaddar - Female, managing editor of NOW Lebanon and a journalist based in Beirut.
I was 16 when I first recognized that my father was terrified of me. We were at a grocery shop in my town in southern Lebanon when my classmate, a boy, came in. All I did was say “hi” and smile, but that was horrifying enough for my father to spend the night screaming and banging his head against the walls because he did not want to hit me. His little girl had turned into a woman with a natural sex drive that he could not put off. […]
Naheed Mustafa - Female, freelance writer and broadcaster based in Toronto, Canada.
Let me just state right off the top: I have nothing against naked women. But as with all things, there’s a time and place. When they appear out of context, naked women quickly become nekkid chicks. Now, granted, I’m hard pressed to point out exactly when — outside of three or four very specific scenarios — it’s appropriate to plunk down a picture of a naked woman. But I’m certain it’s not smack in the middle of a serious essay about gender-based violence in the Arab world. […]