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Egyptian Reporter Defaces Subway ‘Anti-Savage’ Ad, Sprays an Opponent, Gets Arrested (Video)

Eltahawy was arrested Wednesday evening, September 26, in a New York City subway station because she insisted free speech included her right to deface an ad espousing a message with which she disagreed.

Pouty Egyptian free speech sprayer Mona Eltahawy moments before getting arrested.

Pouty Egyptian free speech sprayer Mona Eltahawy moments before getting arrested.
Photo Credit: Pamela Hall

Mona Eltahawy is an extremely well-spoken, Egyptian-American journalist who has become the g0-to speaker for comments on the Middle East in general, and on Egypt and Women’s issues in particular.  A speaker who stays on message no matter what is being asked, Eltahawy’s theme is: former Egyptian President Hosnai Mubarak and those who supported him are always bad, Muslims seeking to control their own destiny are always good and should be supported in the name of freedom and democracy, no matter how reprehensible their actions. Over the past few years Eltahawy has regularly been represented as an expert on such media outlets as CNN, the Guardian (UK), The New York Times and the Washington Post.

Eltahawy was arrested Wednesday evening, September 26, in a New York City subway station because she insisted free speech included her right to deface an ad espousing a message with which she disagreed – Pamela Geller’s anti-Jihad ad discussed and shown here.  She also insisted her free speech right extended to spraying toxic paint on a woman, Pamela Hall, who tried to interfere with Eltahawy’s efforts to deface Geller’s ad.  And then Eltahawy blamed Hall for interfering with her free speech rights and accused the arresting police officers of interfering with her “non-violent” protest, thereby engaging in anti-democratic activity.

It appears Eltahawy has a singularly self-focused understanding of freedom and democracy.  Given her limitations, it is problematic that so many media outlets rely on Eltahawy as an “expert.”  It is possible that given her criminal activity Wednesday evening, some will see her convoluted views of reality as casting doubts on past Eltahawy discourses.

The journalist’s inability to recognize why her activity was criminal and subverted the First Amendment, simply because Geller’s anti-Jihad ad constituted speech with which she didn’t agree, is telling.

But this isn’t the first time Eltahawy’s view of reality has been refracted through her own, narrow prism.

Eltahawy is best known for being an ardent activist for women’s rights, a dangerous and valiant effort for a Muslim.  She has written about the enormously high percentage of women who have been sexually assaulted in Egypt, as many as 80 percent, and that four out of five Egyptian women have reported being sexually assaulted.

Although Eltahawy has been highly critical and very vocal about the subjugation of women under Islam, when that view bumps up against her global recognition as an articulate spokesperson for the revolutionary Arab Spring, a disconnect takes place.

In the context of the anti-Jihad ads which she defaced, Eltahawy expressed outrage over the use of the term “savage,” to describe Jihadi activity.  In her view, the use of the word savage was an insult because she interpreted it to refer to all Muslims.  While defacing the ad, she told Hall, who tried to prevent the ad from being damaged, that she was protesting racism, and that Hall was defending racism.

But Eltahawy described Muslims who sexually assaulted and beat her last winter as a “pack of wild animals.”  So, was her anger over the use of the term savage, when she described wild, violent Muslims as “wild animals” hypocritical?  Not necessarily, because her criticism of the Egyptian police is consistent with her world view.  There were numerous reports of women assaulted by the civilian crowds, the revolutionaries, in Tahrir Square, during the Arab spring.  And it is in commenting on those assaults that Eltahawy’s hypocrisy is made clear.

Perhaps the best known, to western audiences, of sexual assaults by the Arab spring activists, is the assault on CBS’s Lara Logan.  Logan was brutally physically and sexually assaulted by those demonstrating in Tahrir Square crowds in February, 2011.

When Eltahawy was asked to comment on CTV News on the attacks on Logan, she “unequivocally condemned” the violence experienced by Logan.  However, the focus of her ire was always pointed back at the Mubarak regime, which was, she said, “known for targetting women.”

Eltahawy even went so far as to insinuate that Logan’s story was in some ways questionable, or at least an anomaly.  She also deflected the responsibility for the attack on unnamed others.

“Women I know said it was the safest area in Cairo,” Eltahawy said of Tahrir Square during the demonstrations.  But after Mubarak, the area was “open to all, so we don’t know who else was there.”

Pamela Hall is pressing charges against Eltahawy.  Her clothing and her bags were damaged by the paint.  When reached by The Jewish Press, Hall said she knew who Eltahawy was as soon as she saw her, but she was “surprised” to see her spray painting the ad.

According to Hall, using “paint is a much more serious act than slapping a sticker up and walking away.  What was she thinking?”

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


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10 Responses to “Egyptian Reporter Defaces Subway ‘Anti-Savage’ Ad, Sprays an Opponent, Gets Arrested (Video)”

  1. Arie Rosenrauch says:

    Not surprising that she has no real concept of freedom of speech! Look at the following quote from the article:

    "Eltahawy has regularly been represented as an expert on such media outlets as CNN, the Guardian (UK), The New York Times and the Washington Post."

    A who's who of Anti-Jew media. Surprised she is not a lead ""reporter" for the gaza based nazi owned haaretz!

  2. Robert Birdwell says:

    Where is Eltahawy's "Islamic slave uniform," the hajib?

    She is not a "reporter," she's a jihadist for her Muslim master. Muslima's don't act independently. They are the property of male slaves of Allah.

    She was ordered to spray paint the ad and get plenty of press doing it. Muslimas are expendable and make excellent suicide bombers and bullet catchers.

    I demand that all lying, cheating, stealing and murdering Muslims be rounded up and deported to Saudi Arabia no matter their country of origin!

  3. I GUESS IT'S BETTER THAN SETTING THE AMERICAN EMBASSY ON FIRE.
    I SUGGEST SHE RETURN TO A MUSLEM COUNTRY AND SHE CAN DO WHAT SHE LIKES?

  4. If media outlets had any decency they would remove her press credentials and never buy her work.

    She reminds me of some depraved nurses that secretly poisoned there patients.

  5. Anonymous says:

    GO BACK TO EGYPT AS YOU APPARENTLY FIT RIGHT IN, Eltahawy. Pamela Geller, I HOPE THAT YOU ARE OK AND THAT THE PAINT DID NOT HARM YOUR HEALTH…SINCE IN FACT SHE WAS SPRAYING YOU UNDER THE GUISE OF SPRAYING THE PAINTING.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Eltahawy YOU ARE AN EMBARRASSMENT TO WOMEN SHAME ON YOU…ALL I HAVE FOR YOU IS THE BOTTOM OF A SHOE.

  7. A crazy woman who does not want tovaccept truth

  8. Charlie Hall says:

    I had two Libyan doctors in my class last semester who wore the hijab — not the full veil but the headscarf. They were impressed that my wife shows as little of her hair as they do of theirs. And they were anything but slaves — they had protested against Ghadafi and family members back in Libya had fought for the rebels. They were very hardworking students and I hope that they do well in their careers.

    Another person opposed to the ads didn't deface anything, but stood by one of the posters passing out leaflets explaining why he thought the ad was wrong. THAT is the way to protest!

  9. Andy Bendzin says:

    This is just crazy. Does this naturalized Egyptian even care how the Coptics suffer under the new Muslim Brotherhood regime? Not one bit. But Israel is the racist aggressor. Right!

  10. Liad Bar-el says:

    Charlie, as I remember and correct me if I am wrong, but you stated some time ago that you are married to an Arab. So, there is no wonder of your continued support of them and rejection of anything presented here that supports Jews. I am saddened that you advertise Albert Einstein (a Jew) College of Medicine as your place of work in teaching.

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