Egypt’s Tahrir Square has seen nearly hundred women falling victim to “rampant” sexual attacks during the past four days of protests against President Mohamed Morsi, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.
The global rights watchdog said on Wednesday that the mobs sexually assaulted “and in some cases raped at least 91 women” in Tahrir Square amid a climate of impunity.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is recommending against all but essential travel to Egypt following widespread protests.
At least 23 people have been killed and more than 200 injured following clashes between supporters of president Mohammed Morsi and those who want him removed.
Mr. Morsi insisted he was the legitimate leader of the country, hinted that any effort to remove him by force could plunge the nation into chaos, and seemed to disregard the record numbers of Egyptians who took to the streets demanding he resign.
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Here comes our Egyptianity (a term I am coining); this is the aspect that many people won’t understand all over the world! It is a fact that I did not watch President Mubarak as an American might watch Obama. In my conscious, I was not taught to treat him in a firm rigid manner; judging each and every corrupt order issued by him! I watched him as if my father! Yes, call me naïve, but I remember he is an 82 year old man, regardless of the fact that this does not count for me. It counts for me; he is dying and I was taught to have merci on the old! I watched his features that are very Egyptian and that resembles many dads I have! I did not think of the corruption, I did not think of the regime. I just cried like my 58 year old mom for the poor leader who wants to die in his country! This is called political naïve minds, I know. But I can assure that millions of Egyptians have this same mentality.
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As acquaintance — or let’s call it even “pre-acquaintance” — may learn, I’m wicked fast when it comes to learning by way of the web a little bit more about people whose writing I enjoy.
Journalist Imane Nofal’s reaction to the revolution deposing Hosni Mubarak speaks within all of us as regards the affections and comforts associated with “The Father”, and, of course, the same fits well with the psychology involved within current Egyptian President Muhamed Morsi: what father would wish to fail or be humiliated before his children by seeming to back off his most passionate area of conviction?
To get this down into something schematic, the father-become-“malignant narcissist” seeks control of his social surrounds to ensure himself a continuing and energizing “narcissistic supply”, i.e., adoration, affirmation, approval, and love without cause nor end apart from the continuing aggrandizement and glorification of his own existence.
With an old dictator who steps down, with a bear of a father who grows old and infirm, both freedom from the tyrant and affection for the “Old Man” mix in the heart, so even with the father-as-antagonist, adult children most often bring themselves to the displays and duties attending the care of old lions.
With more vigorous national leaders in their prime, conditions and cautions may attend the same relationship.
In families, depending on the mix in souls actually present, a healthy child may be expected to rebel against a too constraining and implacable “fatherly” (tyrannical) will — and such a father might well find himself abandoned (and questioning the cause of the animus).
In countries, contemporary leaders, generally narcissistic enough to believe in their own messianic sensibilities and put themselves “into the ring” bidding for leadership of a state, may enjoy the affections of their close backers and larger public who see in them the “good father”, but they face challenges and responsibilities larger and more profound than merely making their people feel good and parading themselves as the paragons of their respective civilizations.
In politics, the good father must leave the family and become the good man in the public sphere and among other equally beloved and fatherly adult men — and it should be not hard to add in here also the strong mother who may also engage in the public sphere as equally indispensable in the development of the life of the community.
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The mouth is the medium through which we arrange or define our relationships with others, and our perception in self-concept may be part of each interior “back channel” conversational monologue about reality.
When I taught English many years ago, I referred to this as “The story we tell ourselves about ourselves when we wake up in the morning.”
In the middle east, the father’s tendency to allow his mouth to paint him into a corner may summon disaster.
Add a little black and white thinking for extra kick: either Allah is with Morsi or is not, and Morsi, by way of personality (build it up from the infant’s acquisition of a social grammar along with language uptake to the adult’s beliefs about himself and the world), sets out to test God believing himself an exemplary believer worthy of proven — i.e., tested — divine favor.
How does one call off that test?
I suppose one might consider leaving God’s work to God.
One might also choose to accept that a presidency really is just another and temporary executive position requiring great and rapid decision-making invested deeply in the practical interests of a whole constituency and its experience of “qualities of living” (another term on which I need to get to work).
In other words, becoming the president of a state is not as big a deal as one might think, and most certainly not an excuse to license putting into motion a grandiose messianic vision certain to lead constituents into violence among themselves or with others.
Along with the virtues of compassion and integrity in living and in speech, one might also work in humility and ever the possibility that no matter how strong one’s conviction, one might be wrong and better corrected by way of a conversation with the world than by setting out to test the will of the Almighty — or alternatively, the nature of nature.
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Here a Beginner’s Note About Contemporary Judaism
I suspect — and welcome Yeshiva-type affirmation and criticism — that much that informs the contemporary Jewish ethos goes back to the decisions and methods developed and defended by Hillel the Elder in the First Century CE.
Credited to Hillel: “That which is distasteful to thee, do not do to another”; “Whosoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he destroyed an entire world. And whosoever that saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world.” Hillel, for those who may read Telushkin’s book about him, would hew to two paths in his living a Jewish life: tendency to include rather than reject others — for me, there has been a real life preparation for this notice by way of chatting with Mobarak Haider about Islam and “civilizational narcissism” (Haider’s term — see on these pages “Mobarak Haider’s Diagnosis — Taliban: Tip of a Holy Iceberg”); and then encouragement of challenge and criticism involving one’s ideas rather than rejecting either as hostile out of hand, the thought being that if an idea or rule is truly good, it will stand up to examination from many directions.
Whether at start or end, compassion, humility, integrity, and spirited inquiry may better serve the “humanity of humanity” — abundant with invention in myriad cultures and languages — and that in its totality than the grandiose and monolithic figure of the powerful father whose voice may be greeted with affection but an affection laced also with deep fear.
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