The details of Lara Logan’s terrible treatment at the hands of an Egptian mob emerge, and they are about what one would have thought from previous accounts:
She was ripped away from her producer and bodyguard by a group of men who tore at her clothes and groped and beat her body. “For an extended period of time, they raped me with their hands,” Ms. Logan said in an interview with The New York Times. She estimated that the attack involved 200 to 300 men…My clothes were torn to pieces,” Ms. Logan said.
She declined to go into more detail about the assault but said: “What really struck me was how merciless they were. They really enjoyed my pain and suffering. It incited them to more violence.”
The fact that sexual violence could happen at the hands of a group is not so strange; group groping and even group rape (see this) is not unheard of. What is somewhat more unusual is that this sort of thing could happen in public with so many onlookers and press at hand (Logan herself, of course, being a press member). It is hard to escape the conclusion that Arab/NorthAfrican/Muslim culture’s misogyny and scarcely-repressed hostility towards women, especially Western women and their freedom, is at least partly to blame, although it is also at least somewhat encouraging that it was other elements in that same mob (reportedly some women and Egyptian soldiers) who saved her from what she thought would be a certain and prolonged death.
But what happened to Logan, terrible as it was, pales in comparison to this incident of mob violence, which received a lot less coverage. It didn’t happen to a famous journalist, and it wasn’t sexual in nature. At the beginning of the second intifada in 2000 two Israeli reservists had lost their way and mistakenly entered Ramallah, where they were apprehended by police and placed in a local prison for questioning. A Palestinian mob broke in, and some of the proceedings were captured by an Italian news team that managed to get some photos:
The soldiers were beaten, stabbed, had their eyes gouged out, and were disemboweled. At this point, a Palestinian (later identified as Aziz Salha), appeared at the police station window, displaying his blood-stained hands to the crowd, which erupted into cheers. One of the soldier’s bodies was then thrown out the window and stamped and beaten by the enraged mob. One of the bodies was set on fire. Soon after, the mob dragged the two mutilated bodies to Al-Manara Square in the city center as the crowd began an impromptu victory celebration.
Never heard of it? There’s a reason for that; they press was actively intimidated and co-opted:
In the days of the PLO state-within-a-state in Lebanon, PLO intimidation of journalists was flagrant, though rarely reported by the self-censoring Beirut-based press corps. As described by Zeev Chafets in his book Double Vision, Western journalists in Beirut were almost uniformly pro-Palestinian, those who were not having been driven out under threat of death.
Although it’s not congruent with the pretty narrative the press preferred to spout about the Egyptian demonstrators, the Lara Logan episode has made it more difficult to ignore the potential for violence at the hands of mobs in the Middle East. That danger is much worse if you’re a woman or a Jew, of course, and that’s no accident either. And unfortunately there will be few consequences for the perpetrators.