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Arabisc: Sexual Harrassment Saga Continues in Egypt

Citizen journalism (blogging) took a new turn in Egypt this week, with online journals going where traditional media dared not go.

It was only after bloggers brought a two-day orgy of sexual harrassment in downtown Cairo to the forefront that newspapers and television channels started dealing with the issue.

Discussions on the issue are still raging at the Egyptian blogoshere, with some blaming the government for not taking action and allowing the incidents to go ahead and others accusing the bloggers of blowing the incident out of proportion in a bid to embarrass the authorities.

Wael Abbas, who was among the first bloggers to write about the incident, lists a number of sites containing links to newspaper articles, in Arabic and English, which have touched on the topic.

He also complains that an Interior Ministry official tried to tarnish his reputation on a television interview for blowing the whistle.

Fellow blogger Malek, also known as Malcolm X and who was actually the first to write about the scandal, also posts links to newspapers articles as well as pictures from Wael Abbas’ blog to show that what he saw and blogged about was the truth.

Blogger Asad follows the same line with a post containing links to other blogs and news and television sites which covered the incident.

كادت الجريمة تمر مرور الكرام كما مرّت وتمر غيرها من الجرائم في بلادنا المنكوبة كل يوم , إلا أن مجموعة من المدوّنين المصريين كانوا هناك ونشروا شهاداتهم التي تلقفتها باقي المدونات , لتتحول الواقعة إلى قضية رأي عام , تناولتها الصحف والتغطيات التلفزيونية .
“This crime would have gone unnoticed just like other crimes in our country. However, a number of bloggers were there and published what they saw online. It was picked by other blogs, forcing the incident to be a national issue, which newspapers and television covered later on,” explains Asad.

بعد هذا الانتشار الإعلامي الواسع للقضية التي أثارها المدونون , واجه النظام المصري انتقادات شديدة من المراقبين والمواطنين المصريين لتقاعسه عن حفظ الأمن , وإهماله في تأمين منطقة حيوية كوسط القاهرة في يوم العيد المعروف بأنه يشهد ذروة الزحام في الأسواق ودور السينما .
أثار هذا التقصير في حماية أمن المواطنين تساؤلات حول أسباب التواجد الأمني المكثف في الأنشطة السياسية المعارضة , حيث تُواجه التظاهرات السلمية المحدودة بآلاف من قوات الأمن المركزي المدججة بأنواع الأسلحة , فيما يترك نظام مبارك بنات مصر عرضة لأذى المجرمين وقطعان المتحرشين في الشوارع
“After this widespread coverage of the incident raised by the bloggers, the Egyptian regime was criticised by citizens and commentators for not protecting the security of people in a vital area like downtown Cairo on a busy day like Eid, where crowds pack the bazaars and cinemas. People were also wondering how come there is heavy security presence during rallies organised by the opposition where thousands of riot police boasting different types of weapons clash with peaceful demonstrators while girls are left vulnerable to attacks and sexual harrassment on the streets,” continued Asad.

But the bloggers weren't planning to keep silent and as Nerro tells us, plans are underway for a rally to protest against the attacks.

I really can't tell whether the rally, planned for today took place or not, as there was no coverage in the blogs at the time this report was published.

Meanwhile, the discussions don't stop at the Egyptian blogosphere and spill onto the BBC News Forum, where more than 400 people have so far commentated on the incident – with some blaming the women for bringing it upon themselves by not dressing up modestly, the deterioration of values among youth or simply as a drive to tarnish Egypt's reputation.

ما حدث هو معاكسة عادية من بعض الشباب لفتيات يرتدون ملابس مثيرة فلا تهولو الموضوع وكفانا ما نحن فية
“What's happened is a normal flirtation between youth and girls dressed in a provokative manner so don't exaggerate the issue. The problems we have are enough,” wrote a reader from Egypt.
احب ان اقول لكم جميعا ان التحرش الجنسى موجود فى كل شارع فى مصر و الذى ينكر ها فهو لا يعيش في مصر….اسألوا أى بنت كم مرة تتعرض لهذا يوميا…وهذا لا علاقة له بملابس الغرب فكثير من البنات اللواتي يرتدين ملابس شرقية يتعرض لمثل هذا. وحتى لو كنت لا ارتدي الحجاب فهذا لا يبرر هذه المهازل
“I would love to tell you all that sexual harrassment is a reality which exists in every street in Egypt and anyone denying that does not live in Egypt. Ask any girl how many times she is subjected to this everyday. It has nothing to do with a Western clothing attire. A lot of the girls wearing Oriental clothing are also subjected to this behaviour. Even if I don't wear the Hijab (head scarf), this isn't an excuse for such attacks,” wrote Ola, from Cairo.
لذى حدث أنه كان هناك افتتاح لبعض الافلام وكان من هؤلاء الراقصه دينا والمطرب سعد الصغير وكانت دينا ترقص وسعد يغنى وادى ذلك لتجمع الكثير من الشباب وفى مثل هذه المواقف يصعب السيطرة على الوضع …هذه ليست حجه وتبرير لما حدث ولكن ما حدث كان من قله ولا يجوز ان نعمم الوضع بهذة الصوره الخطيرة …لان الكلام بهذه الصوره عن حالات تحرش جماعى…ادت لحدوث هلع بين المواطنين وضرت اكثر مما فادت وانا صراحة لست من مؤيدى المبالغة فى ذلك وأيضا لست من المؤيدين لما حدث….وشكرا لكم على اتاحة هذة الفرصه للتعبير
What happened was that a few films were being opened among them a film by the dancer Dunia and the singer Saad Al Sagheer. Dunia was dancing and Saad was singing so a lot of people gathered. In such situations it is difficult to maintain control. I am not making up excuses for what had happened, which was the action of a few and shouldn't be exaggerated to include everyone in this dangerous fashion. Speaking about massive sexual harrassment has created panic among the people and caused more harm than benefit. Personally, I am against exaggerating the situation and also against the incidents which happened,” wrote Wael Ghannam.
قرأت معظم المدونات وامضيت نصف يوم في ذلك والسؤال الذي يدور في ذهني بعد كل هدا لماذا لم يتم القبض على الراقصة التي قامت بالرقص امام السينما التي يعرض فيها فيلمها، كنوع من الجذب والترويج له؟… الايوجد قانون في البلد يجرممثل هذا الفعل في الطريق العام ؟
“I read all the blogs and spent hald the day doing that and the question I have is why wasn't the dancer who danced in front of the cinema to promote her film arrested? Isn't there a law which prohibits such action in public places?” wrote Adham.
المؤسف أن معظم الذين كتبوا تعليقا على الخبر لم يتواجدوا فى مكان الحادث ولم يشاهدوا ماحدث ، إن كان هناك حدث!! والشىء الملفت للنظر والمحزن حقا أن (بعض) المشاركين يستمتعون بالإساءة للمصريين وتشويه صورتهم …..

رضا الاتربى, المنصورة

“It is a shame that most of those who commented were not present at the time of the incident and did not see what happened, if anything happened to begin with! What draws my attention and saddens me really is that some commentators are enjoying the fact that they are abusing Egyptians and ruining their reputation,” wrote Redha Al Atrabi from Al Mansura.

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