Stay Connected
Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS Media Alerts

Why Do They Hate Us?

June 19th, 2012

The real war on women is in the Middle East.

Eltahawy1 Why Do They Hate Us?By: Mona Eltahawy

In “Distant View of a Minaret,” the late and much-neglected Egyptian writer Alifa Rifaat begins her short story with a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband that as he focuses solely on his pleasure, she notices a spider web she must sweep off the ceiling and has time to ruminate on her husband’s repeated refusal to prolong intercourse until she too climaxes, “as though purposely to deprive her.” Just as her husband denies her an orgasm, the call to prayer interrupts his, and the man leaves. After washing up, she loses herself in prayer — so much more satisfying that she can’t wait until the next prayer — and looks out onto the street from her balcony. She interrupts her reverie to make coffee dutifully for her husband to drink after his nap. Taking it to their bedroom to pour it in front of him as he prefers, she notices he is dead. She instructs their son to go and get a doctor. “She returned to the living room and poured out the coffee for herself. She was surprised at how calm she was,” Rifaat writes.

In a crisp three-and-a-half pages, Rifaat lays out a trifecta of sex, death, and religion, a bulldozer that crushes denial and defensiveness to get at the pulsating heart of misogyny in the Middle East. There is no sugarcoating it. They don’t hate us because of our freedoms, as the tired, post-9/11 American cliché had it. We have no freedoms because they hate us, as this Arab woman so powerfully says.

Yes: They hate us. It must be said.

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.

Read Mona Eltahawy’s full article in Foreign Policy here

Also, check out Visualizing the War on Women Debate, a Foreign Policy look at how Mona Eltahawy’s article, the magazine’s most popular cover story, trended across Twitter.

Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning New York-based journalist and commentator and an international lecturer on Arab and Muslim issues.

ShareThis

Comments are closed.

Stay Connected

Facebook Twitter Youtube RSS
Media Alerts

Users