In her sloppy indictment of Arabs, Muslims, authoritarian rulers, and Islamists, El Tahawy has papered over some messy issues that complicate her underlying message: liberalism is the solution. Why is female genital mutilation practiced widely in Egypt? Because men hate women. Why can’t women drive in Saudi Arabia? Because men hate women. Why are men and women against raising the age of consent in Yemen? Because men hate women. Hatred is a one size fits all answer. The use of hatred in this way is important. Hatred is irrational. It is a state or emotion. As Wendy Brown reminds us, such emotional or affective states are understood to be outside of, or unwelcome in, liberalism.
via Let’s Talk About Sex.
Given the history that culminated in the Jewish Holocaust, Jews around the globe, including Israel, have every right to get agitated with a prominent German public intellectual lecturing them about violence. But Zionism is chiefly responsible for having wasted the moral authority of the Jewish Holocaust – through what Norman Finkelstein has aptly called “the Holocaust Industry” – on establishing a racist apartheid state called “Israel” – a colonial settlement as a haven for the victims of a whole history of European anti-Semitism, on the broken back of a people who had nothing to do with that travesty.
Another day expressing the beauty of humanity in the center of Cairo, the center of Egypt, the center of the world. I was in Tahrir square for only a moment today, between meetings with colleagues to organize moving forward with our work with refugees, but it was enough to repair the doubts I never had about the soundness and sincerity of this revolution. Walking to the office this morning, the peace, joy and pride was thick in the air and spread across the faces of the people in the street. There was a line to enter Tahrir square in the early afternoon, Egyptians were queuing patiently on the sidewalk for over a block… Egyptians don’t wait in line.
… it was enough to repair the doubts I never had about the soundness and sincerity of this revolution.
While entrepreneurial youth have set up shop inside the mini-city that Tahrir has become, there is still the generous spirit present that have pervaded these demonstrations from the beginning. There is no struggle for resources here. I am struck again with how lucky I am. To have ever come to Egypt in the first place, purely by chance, to have fallen in love with the country and its people, to have kept my relationship with Egypt alive and to have decided only three months ago to come here, now. There is an Egyptian proverb that claims once a person has drunk the water of the Nile, that mother of all rivers, that person will always return again. I am so thankful I drank the water those years ago when I first set foot in this ancient land.
I would not want to be anywhere else on our planet during these times. Long live Egypt!
On one day early on in Tahrir I was frustrated with my inability to DO anything to help… I am not Egyptian so I resist yelling the chants because it’s not my place. I saw some young people had organized to begin collecting trash and so I got a trash bag from them and joined. My friends and I moved through the crowd looking for trash on the ground. The response was overwhelming, people were looking for something to throw away, they were moved to see this white blond girl collecting their trash. Their smiles could have broken their faces. There was one man who wanted to take over for me, “This is our job they said, it is our country we should clean it up.” But I insisted and they relented seeing my true desire to DO something.
A man came up to me, falling over himself to give me an apple, he dropped it and embarrassed he picked it up rubbing the dirt off of it with his shirt sleeves… it looked like the most perfect Red Delicious, the most beautiful apple I have ever seen, an apple of love between human beings, an apple representing the mutual respect that can exist if we can only stop our fear. I accepted it, reassuring him, “mish mushkela”, no problem, “Shukran”, and putting my hand over my heart in profound gratitude for this precious moment.