How’s that “Arab Spring” working out?

A Photo That Encapsulates the Horror of Egypt’s Crackdown

The above photo shows Egyptian army soldiers beating a young woman in Tahrir Square in Cairo on Saturday, the second straight day of clashes with protesters that began on Friday and continued overnight. There’s no reason to believe that there was anything special about this woman or even about the way that soldiers treated her. Members of the army, once beloved by Egypt’s activists for standing by their side during the revolution in February, have sent hundreds of men and women to the hospital over the last 48 hours and have killed at least 10, some with live ammunition fired into crowds.

But there is something especially barbaric about this photo. The taboo of violence against unarmed women is unusually strong in the Arab world. But to watch three soldiers beat a defenseless woman with batons, their fists, and for one extraordinarily cruel soldier with his boot, is not even the most provocative part. For these men to pull her black abaya above her head and expose her midriff and chest is, for Egypt, a profound and sexually charged humiliation.


The Egyptian military, the strongest and most powerful institution in the country and perhaps the Arab world, has taken a dramatic and dark turn since winning power earlier this year. Though it initially safeguarded the revolution in February by protecting protesters from President Hosni Mubarak’s state security forces, it has gradually (if clumsily) consolidated power since his fall, declaring that it will retain independence from and control over any democratically elected government. As protests against the military have grown, the generals have abandoned their earlier pledges to support the people and refrain from violence against civilians. The SCAF — the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, a panel of top military leaders — increasingly looks like Egypt’s new dictator. Its troops, now openly attacking civilians, are unlikely to deescalate their war against democratic activism.

A few months ago some people were getting giddy over revolts in the Arab world. They wanted us to join them in supporting these revolts. Some of us were less than enthusiastic.

History teaches us is that those who start revolutions are often not the same ones who finish them, and brutal dictatorships are rarely replaced by peaceful democracies. And when you upset an apple cart the apples don’t always roll the way you expect.

Among the people who were getting giddy over revolts in the Arab world were the Occupiers. I hope they are paying attention but I doubt it. They are too full of themselves to let reality intrude.

This entry was posted in OWS. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to How’s that “Arab Spring” working out?

  1. votermom says:

  2. Given that there are lots of rapes and even gang rapes with OWS, it seems rather of a similar mindset.

  3. 1539days says:

    The intellectuals behind the French Revolution ended up in the same guillotines as the Royal family.

    The Egyptian military, of course, was trying to curry favor with their occupiers until they had control. It’s the same thing Khomeini did to get the Shah ousted.

  4. yttik says:

    That is really sad. It also makes me angry when some of the OWS protesters claim police brutality. No, THIS is what brutality looks like. THIS is evidence that you don’t live in a democracy that values civil rights.

    Police brutality is not, “I threw a container of gas, hit a cop, so he turned around and pepper sprayed us.” It makes me crazy watching video of the port protests in Seattle and the protesters actually throwing bricks and canisters of gas at police while hollering about police brutality when they return fire with NON LETHAL weapons. If you didn’t live in a free country, those would be bullets, not pepper spray.

    • 1539days says:

      OWS wants confrontations with police. It’s why no liberal mayor was able to just let the protests continue. The Owies want to protest. Then they want to camp out. Then they want free electricity. Then they want to accost passers by. And if they get all that, they’ll just turn on their own.

      For them, the revolution will be televised. If it’s not, there’s no reason to do it.

  5. You’ll notice that the mindless newsmodels on CNN and MSNBC are still talking about the Arab Spring like it’s the greatest thing like sliced bread, and that they hope it happens here in this country too.

  6. Pingback: Arab Hell

  7. myiq2xu says:

    Ruh roh!

    Somebody’s perfect season is about to be ruined.

  8. DeniseVB says:

    What color is pepper spray ?

    Our coddled owies have no right to complain about brutality and their freedoms to squat and pee in public.

    And as a tea party activist friend said, if the OWS wants a civil war with the Tea Party, guess which side has the guns 😀

  9. Melissa says:

    I thought this Twitter exchange was interesting. FYI, Sandmonkey is actually one of the presidential candidates and he is one of the liberal Egyptian activists.

    Here’s the response from someone I will classify as a nitwit.!/ArleneAdamo/status/14877538416971776

    It’s just not the same thing. Grr…

Comments are closed.