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Egypt’s Plague of Darkness

In the Biblical story, God sent ten plagues to Egypt to persuade Pharaoh to let the Israelites go. The news from Cairo today suggests that at least one of those plagues — the plague of darkness — is back.

From the Associated Press:

A mob of hundreds of men assaulted women holding a march demanding an end to sexual harassment Friday, with the attackers overwhelming the male guardians and groping and molesting several of the female marchers in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

From the ferocity of the assault, some of the victims said it appeared to have been an organized attempt to drive women out of demonstrations and trample on the pro-democracy protest movement.

The attacks were brutal, cowardly and horrific.

After the marchers entered a crowded corner of the square, a group of men waded into the women, heckling them and groping them. The male supporters tried to fend them off, and it turned into a melee involving a mob of hundreds.

The marchers tried to flee while the attackers chased them and male supporters tried to protect them. But the attackers persisted, cornering several women against a metal sidewalk railing, including an Associated Press reporter, shoving their hands down their clothes and trying to grab their bags. The male supporters fought back, swinging belts and fists and throwing water.

Every country has thugs and no country or culture deserves to be judged by the actions of a few. Here in New York we remember occasions of “wilding” when groups of young men stormed through Central Park and other public places, attacking and harassing women.

But in Egypt today, unevolved and badly brought up thugs like this can claim the approval of certain misguided and bigoted religious “authorities,” and there are those who say that assaults on women protesters are a virtuous act.

When religious authorities confuse evil and good in this way, they are under a true curse — a plague of darkness. They are blind guides; those who follow them will fall into a ditch. It’s likely that most of the men attacking those women in Cairo are not going to find much prosperity or dignity in this life, and as long as they take the advice of delusional “sheikhs” and radical political leaders they will wander helplessly in the dark, victims and puppets by turns manipulated and cast aside in a political game they will never understand.

This is no consolation to the women or to those, like Via Meadia, who want Egypt to find the democracy and prosperity it so desperately needs. By itself, one incident like this doesn’t say much about the future of a country, but there are enough grim stories coming out of Egypt these days to make it clear to realists that the country has a long and hard road ahead.

Education, emphatically including the education of women, offers the best hope that future generations of Egyptians will have better choices than the country currently enjoys. This won’t yield political or economic miracles overnight — but it looks increasingly likely that nothing else will produce miracles of growth and development in Egypt today.

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  • Steve0

    Surely the thugs in question are more evolved, not less, since they exhibit behaviors more likely to reproduce in the current political milieu.

  • LarryReiser

    Do you think any of the mainstream media will publish or provide commentary on this ugly event.Perhaps some of the women’s organizations might publicly condemn this attack on Egyptian women.

  • Brendan Doran

    I don’t think the good demonstrators have a fraction of support the thugs do…

    And the thugs have God on their side..

  • Alex Scipio

    Sorry, but this is not just a bunch of thugs. This is Islam in action. The Koran says women are half the worth of men in testimony and other topics. They cannot leave their homes without a male escort. They are treated worse than dogs – which Muslims also hate. They stone women… But everyone knows this. And it is multiculturalism @ work. It’s the way of Islam & will exist – and be taught across the 1.3B person Muslim would. Until they have an Enlightenment.

  • Lyle Smith

    And progressives in America are more concerned with the likes of Pat Robertson.

  • John Burke

    I’m with Alex. This is the real face of Islam which may be suppressed or kept out of view or overlooked here or there, now an then, but always rears up again from one end of the territory currently occupied by the ummah to the other. Sad to say, there is nothing much we can do about it. If is enough to stay focused on protecting our own interests.

  • silia

    Are Clinton, the secret service, and rappers visiting over there?

  • Cunctator

    Copts, Jews and Women — all have suffered a great deal of violence in Egypt at the hands of representatives of that most tolerant and peaceful of religions.

  • Steve

    Why the quotation marks around the words “sheikhs” and “authorities”. These are not men falsely claiming religious authority. These are men who have religious authority. These men represent normative Islam.

  • nadine

    There is something very curious about the way these attacks go down. The women are groped and humiliated but not gang-raped. What is stopping the men from taking the attack to its natural conclusion? It seems that the attackers are acting under orders: this far but no further is allowed.

  • Brendan Doran

    Rape will bring blood vengeance, also opprobrium. Roughly correcting an immodestly dressed and acting woman will not..although in rural areas the affront against honor might bring violence.

    Yes, this is Islam not marginal thugs. The margins are the Liberals and democrats.

    The West conned itself this was 1989. And damn all the media that played along.

  • Anthony Spence

    Is this true story?

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