Tuesday, December 27, 2005

On Mona Eltahawy

Mona Eltahawy is a bright, young, female egyptian journalist who lives in New York. I knew her primarily through the weekly article she writes for the panarab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, and I found most of her articles to be pretty mature for her relatively young age (she was born in 1967). She also writes in english, and I found some of the articles she published in western journals to denounce extremism in our midst [sample no. 1, sample no. 2], or to promote a better understanding of Islam in the West [sample no. 3] to be pretty good. (In some instances, I also found that she missed the mark, like here - but that's an other story.)

So much for the introduction. Recently, I learned that Mona Eltahawy has got herself in trouble after she published a coureageous opinion piece in the International Herald Tribune, in which she expressed sharp criticism of the elections in Egypt. Ms. Eltahawy was summoned to a meeting with egyptian officials, during which she was told that her actions are being monitored by the egyptian government.

Two thoughts about this incident. First, the egyptian government, by taking this step, actually lends credence to Ms. Eltahawy's assessment of the status of democracy and civil liberties in her country. Second, I think that the Egyptian government must feel in a position of force that enables it to do this, and sentence Ayman Nour to five years in prison for some rather dubious forgery allegations, without fearing an international uproar. In my opinion, this is evidence that Egypt is still being needed as one of Washington's key allies in the war on terror. Thus, in this particular case, we may again conclude that the threat of terrorism has only served to further strengthen a repressive arab regime and western ally, not exactly what the extremists sought.

7 comments:

Jawad said...

Karim & Jallal: I wish you both a wonderful new year. Thank you for the stimiluating value of the points of view you guys put forward. We have to continue watering the plant of knowledge despite the fact that sometimes its growth looks helpless and slow in coming. The two of you have been doing a great job at getting people to think - so keep on keeping on.

lili said...

Salam
Tous les gouvernements arabes ont beaucoup de chemin à faire en termes de démocratie.. On n'a jamais vu des présidents durer des décennies au pouvoir puis se faire succéder par leurs fils avant que nos stars les arabes le fassent! Mieux que ça quand une personne a osé se présenter aux côtés de Mubarak, elle s'est vite vue condamner pour avoir commis une erreur qu'il faut être aveugle pour ignorer qu'on la lui a tout simplement collée au dos, ainsi elle apprendra à défier les "éternels" :)..
Puis, pour voir son propre peuple défiler dans les rues en manifestant contre le président et ne pas démissionner, il faut vraiment en avoir du cran, mais disons que nos chers présidents arabes sont champions dans la matière! pfffffffffff ils sont répugnants!

Blue VelVET said...

Salam guys,
Thanks Karim for this interesting post. I've been following Mona as well on Asharq Al Awsat. I thought I would share with you guys Kevin Sites' piece on her, at this address: http://hotzone.yahoo.com/b/hotzone/blogs1750;_ylt=AlohMNc27zfbmgvKZH5e6o2LFMsF;_ylu=X3oDMTBjZzJsamRkBHNlYwNibG9nLWVudA--

Egypt is definitely going in the wrong direction. Je crains la suite.

Karim said...

Dear Jawad,
Thank you very much for your kind words and encouragements. I will mention that your blog has also been a great source of inspiration to both of us, a place where we learned something of value at each visit. I wish you all the best for 2006, and I will be looking forward to another year of great insights and analysis from you.

Lili:
"les gouvernements arabes ont beaucoup de chemin à faire en termes de démocratie"

Le probleme, c'est qu'ils n'ont meme pas encore commece le voyage! :-)

Blue:
Merci pour le lien a cet article. It was interesting.

"Egypt is definitely going in the wrong direction. Je crains la suite."

Des fois, il m'arrive de penser que, quoi qu'il qu'arrive, du moment qu'il y a une dynamique, qu'il y a qlq chose qui se passe, c'est mieux que la stagnation.

Le probleme de l'egypte, ce n'est pas seulement Mubarak, mais c'est toute une classe sociale, une oligarchie (encore plus corrompue qu'au Maroc, il me semble) qui n'a pas du tout interet a voir un regime democrocratiquement elu prendre le pouvoir. Ces gens la n'etant pas prets a voir leurs privileges menaces, ils n'ont aucune intention de conceder quoi que ce soit de leur pouvoir. Un jour ou l'autre, ca finira par exploser. Allah yesster ousafi.

Foulla said...

Happy new year.;)keep up the great work!!

Jallal said...

Thanks Jawad for your kind words. As Karim pointed out, we enjoyed much your articles as well as your inputs here. Keep them coming!

Happy new year 2006 to all of you. Bach matmennitou in chaa Allah.

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