(Foreign Policy, May/June 2012)
Some may ask why I’m bringing this up now, at a time when the region has risen up, fueled not by the usual hatred of America and Israel but by a common demand for freedom. After all, shouldn’t everyone get basic rights first, before women demand special treatment? And what does gender, or for that matter, sex, have to do with the Arab Spring? But I’m not talking about sex hidden away in dark corners and closed bedrooms. An entire political and economic system — one that treats half of humanity like animals — must be destroyed along with the other more obvious tyrannies choking off the region from its future. Until the rage shifts from the oppressors in our presidential palaces to the oppressors on our streets and in our homes, our revolution has not even begun.
I read this twice. And wish many people would read it. Monay Eltahawy is angry and for good reasons. But her analysis is sharp and to the point, and should be a wake-up call to those who ignore the systematic maltreatment of women in the middle east in the name of cultural relativism.