I never managed to get myself all weepy-eyed with joy over the alleged "Arab Spring," when tinpot despots were challenged and toppled, but what sometimes rose in their place were vile Islamic radical thugs with their barbaric attitudes toward women.
In Egypt, for example, there have been numerous savage sexual attacks on Western women, especially reporters, by Alahu-Akbar-chanting male thugs. The most recent occurred during the celebrations after a winner was chosen in Egypt's first free presidential election, when a British student journalist was brutally assaulted by the mob in (where else?) Tahrir Square.That mob assault on that young woman, Natasha Smith, was similar to assaults on other female journalists, including a horrifying mob sexual attack on CBS News correspondent Lara Logan and one on Egyptian-U.S. journalist Mona Eltahawy last year. There have been other attacks on other female journalists too.
Ms. Smith, wrote about the attack on her blog and spoke about it in an interview with CNN.
Dozens of Egyptian men stripped her naked, repeatedly sexually assaulted her and dragged her by her hair across Tahrir Square. Her story is horrifying, as were the others.
Incidentally, here's an important take on the issue, and the idea of blaming the victim, on the important Web site devoted to combating street harassment against women, IHollaback.org. However, I don;t think even IHollaback is doing enough to focus on the harassment and assaults on female visitors in places like Egypt and other Moslem countries that attract foreign tourists, including Morocco. (Re Morocco, see this by a Peace Corps volunteer)
Meanwhile, officials in Egypt are hoping to repair the extreme damage that has occurred since the Arab Spring to tourism, which until recently has accounted for more than 10 percent of the country's GNP.
Not to worry, the boosters say (abetted by credulous media). Tourists can have fun in Egypt!
"There will be no bans on wearing bikinis and drinking alcohol for tourists coming to Egypt after the Islamist Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected president on June 24, Rossiyskaya Gazeta daily quoted Egyptian Ambassador to Russia Alaa El Hadidi on Friday as saying. Here's a link via the travel industry trade publication Global Travel Industry News, which adds:
"Hadidi’s statement came after Morsi’s allies said during the presidential campaign that there will be a number of restrictions for tourists if Morsi is elected, including a ban on selling alcohol, wearing bikinis outside hotels and dividing beaches into male and female zones."
The U.S. State Department, which is after all the department of being diplomatic, has issued only a "travel alert" rather than a more pointed travel warning for Egypt, of which this is an excerpt: "The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations in Egypt, as even peaceful ones can quickly become violent and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse."Or worse? Hey, not to worry!
Really! They probably will not behead you for wearing that bikini or drinking that beer. After all, this is the 15th, ... uh, 21st Century! Welcome!