Putting Mona in perspective
Women are neither just their headscarves or hijabs,
nor are they just their bikinis, or for that matter, their
hymens. They are, first and foremost, human beings
and entitled to just as much respect, dignity and rights
as are men.
We must listen to those of them that are speaking out
and amplify their voices, and be the voice of those that
are suffering in silence.
Mona Elthawy's article "Why do they hate us? The real war on women is in the Middle East" recently published in Foreign Policy magazine ( http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/23/why_do_they_hate_us?page=0,0 ) created quite a buzz on the internet.
Strictly as a writer, I was struck by how well written her article was, with such powerful language, graphic word pictures and an attention grabbing opening. The content was most disturbing. The list of abuses being suffered by women was long and painful to read. As an activist for human rights and as someone who strives to give a voice to those who need to be heard, I felt I had to do something. So, as a first step, I put Mona's article on my blog ( http://defyingsilence.blogspot.com/2012/04/why-do-they-hate-us.html ) and, as a second step, put a post about it on my Face Book page.
However, the way Mona presented it, especially her dragging in religion into the discussion, made me a little suspicious. It felt she had some sort of a personal agenda in addition to protesting against the abuses she described.
I had not heard of Mona till I read her article under discussion. My curiosity aroused, I looked deeper into the issue and read dozens of articles (and comments on each of them -- more than 1.500 in the original article in Foreign Policy magazine alone!), news-reports, blogs and opinion pieces about her essay.