Egypt: An Open Letter to Phyllis Chesler
How can you remain silent about the female genital mutilation which is practiced on 96 percent of Egyptian women or on the honor murders, forced veiling, arranged marriage, polygamy, etc. that characterizes Islamic gender apartheid in the disputed territories and in Egypt—as practiced by the very people you are busy idealizing, when in fact it was Mubarak who, unsuccessfully, banned and actually tried to eliminate some of these barbaric practices....moreIn the post linked to below, Chesler refutes her own statement about Mubarak. She shows a series of group photos showing women becoming more veiled and less free as Mubarak's reign rolled on. She is correct to point out to feminists that gender apartheid is worse in Egypt than in Iran if we are to judge by the women's role in street actions. Can that even be possible?
NRB is one of the few places which publish Chesler's work now because she will not parrot politically correct positions for the US left and its women's auxiliary. Chesler's voice is important for feminist to ponder. I do not totally disagree with Ms Chesler – it is a matter of emphasis – which is also important. I am seeking to influence further posts on the subject from her and other feminists.
Am I the Only One Troubled By Cairo Street Scenes? by Phyllis Chesler on NewsRealBlog February 1, 2011
I answer her post here as I am banned on NRB:
I have serious things to say to you in regard to your tone in this post. You did not go to the correct conclusion –you left it at, torturing dictators may be better than the alternative both for their own people and because they safeguard Israel by suppressing the fundamentalists. But Mubarak certainly did not stop gender apartheid or protect women's rights as you show by the pictures you publish in your NRB post linked to above. This letter is written to urge you to go further in your analysis, that is, write a Part 2.
You seem to be taking a stand against the people's struggle instead of criticizing how Obama is not organizing in Egypt with US food and foreign aid as effectively as the Brotherhood is organizing with anti-semitism.
The US should be on Al Jeezera and in Egyptian, Tunisian and Jordon's newspapers. The US should be dropping leaflets about US Foreign Aid being only for secular societies and what needs to be in a secular constitution-leaflets and other media saying we support the Egyptian people but not the Brotherhood.
We should use media to explain what happened in Iran when the fundamentalist took power, how the Iranian people admit they are oppressed in Iran by sharia law and now want a secular society having experienced theocracy. Leaflets and media documenting how life was under the Taliban in Afghanistan should be distributed.
"Israel is not the enemy" leaflets should be distributed showing how anti-semitism is used to deflect anger from middle east dictators, how anti-semitism is diverting the people from actions against their real oppressors, the strongmen who rule them. Ambassadors should be organizers and not just passive observers posting gossip and messages between countries.
This is the job for our ambassadors and their support staff. After all, US taxpayers must pay their bills. Now is the time for these highly paid government workers to promote the US Bill of Rights and secular society.
Google how many dependants were just flown out of Egypt. US taxpayers are paying for their education and housing. What are we buying with all that money for dependants? If we do not get the spread of democracy for all that money, why not use the money to pay for our own medical care in the US?
The US should be explaining the Bill of Rights and urging the Egyptian masses to struggle for its adoption in their constitution.
But NO - we - the US -from the mouth of Obama - talk publicly about how the Egyptian government is none of our business. This washing of the president's hands of any responsibility is occurring while Egypt gets the bulk of US foreign aid. 1.5 billion dollars is the amount of US foreign aid just to Egypt, not counting what we give to the UN for its use in Egypt.
Instead of criticizing the Egyptian people, or warning that they may be facilitating the ascendancy of the fascist Brotherhood, we feminists should be criticizing our own government and its tolerance of oppression in the name of tolerance as an absolute.
The relevant question is, what are we doing to prevent theocracy, NOT what might the Brotherhood be doing to promote theocracy.
It is not right to use arguments about the possibility of fascism to keep people under a torturing dictatorship for the benefit of foreign governments. That is immoral! But it is also immoral for the US to remain passive as we watch people be trapped in fundamentalist theocracies. Immoral for the US to watch women be trapped into slavery and do nothing.
Right Here in the US, all the Egyptian immigrant women on TV have garbage bags over their heads – what about Obama’s and Hillary’s passivity in the face of the Brotherhood at home and abroad?
We get speeches from Obama on tolerance and how it is not proper to seek to influence the Egyptians – what crap!! What suicidal crap! Our foreign aid –tax payer’s money – not Obama’s money - gives us the right to lobby in Egypt.
Feminists should be explaining that Obama’s passivity is at fault for the success of the Brotherhood -- do not blame the Egyptian people, who may be dupes but who are risking everything for a better life and what they think of as freedom.
Don’t blame the people –blame our own government’s lack of leadership- lack of organizing in Egypt and at home for the spread of secular society. All this religious BS in the US obscures the best we have as citizens which is that we are organized in a secular society that safeguards the rights of the individual and the minority.
The Bill of Rights is what US organizers should be talking about in Egypt right now.
People who refuse to accept those rights and the equality of women should not be allowed to immigrate to the US, much less become citizens.
This is the root of the world threat: US passivity - US lack of response to gender apartheid and theocracy. It is US, not them. When we truly respect freedom, teach it, support it, value it as a gift to the world, then we can say we have done all we can to share our wealth.