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  Am I the Only One Troubled By Cairo Street Scenes?

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Posted on February 5 2011 8:00 am
Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York. For extended biography visit The Phyllis Chesler Organization.

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First, most photos show us mobs of mainly men marching, men at prayer, men shooting, running, falling, wounded in hospitals, standing atop tanks.  These could be scenes from Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan. I am not suggesting that women rush out to join a promised American Nation of Islam style “Million Man March”—as women, they are horribly endangered among groups of men, which is why Muslim men argue that “their” family women must be veiled, sequestered, kept in purdah, strictly supervised, accompanied wherever they go by a male protector.

Muslim men know how lustful and licentious they truly are, what their view of all women (who are not their mothers) truly is, and how sexual repression, forced marriage, polygamy (a shortage of available wives for poor men), affects men who have been fired up by a mosque sermon or by a holy war to seize state power. Women are also shorter, weigh less, and have rarely been trained in boxing, martial arts or weapons training compared to most men; most women cannot hold their own against one angry and determined man, certainly not against thousands of such men.

Yes, there are some female faces in the Cairo mob scenes, but understandably, they are in the minority.

While there are some—very few—female faces that are bare-faced and bareheaded, most women are wearing serious hijab: Pulled low and tight on their foreheads, tied under their chins, covering their necks, draping down to their shoulders.

And, yes, we also see women in niqab, face masks, dark, heavy-looking, with only a slit for their eyes. Were it not for that mere slit, she would be wearing an Afghan burqa or chadri, or a full Saudi covering.

My reading of these photos suggests that Egyptian women have already been Islamified. Whether they have done so to please their loving (or abusive) families or a favorite mullah, whether it was peer pressure from girlhood on that did it; or whether it was the teachings of the Muslim Brotherhood being preached in every mosque, on every media channel, and in school that did it, the fact is: It is done. Women are veiled. Such women—and their fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons, will vote for the Muslim Brotherhood to run their country.

I wonder why no media have looked—really looked—at what the photos they themselves are running really tell us about who the “people” in the streets really are.

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