I’ve tried NOT to write this blog for a week, but I have to do it. Before I launch, let’s address some facts confirmed by Egyptian government and international media sources, including The Washington Post (http://wapo.st/hvQ55D).
- Tourism makes up 11 percent of Egypt’s economy. In resorts, the percentage is exponentially higher.
- The loss in tourist dollars since Arab Spring is estimated at 1.5 billion annually.
- As Egyptians celebrated freedom from the Muslim Brotherhood, between 91 and 189 women were raped in the streets by men jubilant about “liberty.”
What’s wrong with this picture? Everything.
This is about rights. Simple ones. The right to walk a street. The right to celebrate a victory for humankind. The right to personal safety. The right to be female. The right to a career. (Three Western reporters have been publicly assaulted since Arab Spring “blossomed.”) On a related note, the first “non-white”—The London Telegraph’s term, not mine—Anglican Bishop, Michael Nazir-Ali, says (http://bit.ly/12PLL2I) what’s needed isn’t majority rule, but a Bill of Rights. I pray it covers women, and not just men, and is strictly and heinously enforceable.
THESE ARE MY RIGHTS—and yours. MY daughter and granddaughter’s. YOUR sister and sister-in-law’s. OUR mother’s. This is not about Muslims, Christians, Jews, or any other religion: rapes are crimes committed by people practicing all beliefs. This is about the gift of being fully HUMAN.
As we pat ourselves on the back about the success of a military overthrow, ask yourself if it’s going to truly make a difference if animals celebrating in Tahrir Square aren’t any better than the Brotherhood they’ve ousted. This region isn’t a poster child for human rights, most particularly if one lacks the Y chromosome. As of now, the military, Morsi’s government, and a percentage of male Egyptians look identical, are equally disgusting, and alarming as hell.
But the patriarchal West looks more kindly on a government that spews placating rhetoric than it did on the most-recent one destined to topple the region. As for me and mine, Egypt remains a “no-go zone” until the two-legged animals are secured in the Giza Zoo. I believe in voting with my dollars, which won’t be spent in Egypt.
It’s time for Egyptians to protect their women, and salvage their international reputation while they still can.