By now you’ve no doubt heard or read the news that Lara Logan, CBS’s chief foreign correspondent, was raped while covering the story about jubilant crowds celebrating the ouster of Mubarak in Egypt. In these last hours since I heard about it, I’ve already heard some right-wing men call into a radio show complaining she’s getting too much attention. I heard a woman host claim that people just have to realize that the Islamic world operates by different rules and further more their morality is not compatible with that of the West.
Actually this was not a political or geopolitical phenomenon as far as I can see.
But before I comment any more on all of that, I just want to say that I do not know much about Ms. Logan, except that I certainly have seen many of her reports and realize that unlike a lot of pretty girl (and she is pretty) so-called news types you see on the tube she is a real reporter, quite articulate, and has a good voice for broadcast, I think (and don’t forget the pretty boy types, blow dryers at the ready).
But being a reporter can be dangerous and being a foreign correspondent is especially dangerous if you are doing your job and getting out into the field instead of holing up in a hotel room or sitting by the pool and filing your stories from there.
I also know that she complained about the poor coverage the American news media did in Iraq and I think she also complained she had a hard time getting air time on her own network. The networks never really thought the war was that great of a story once it got under way. They did quite a job on the build up to it. They had been cowed by popular sentiment that seemed to blame them for losing Vietnam all those years ago and vowed to show just how eager they were for the country to go to war, by gosh by jingo.
Ms. Logan pressed on, nonetheless, and did a lot of reporting out there with the troops with the bullets flying (she was — is — a bit of a showboat and does not mind letting her assets, so to speak, show).
But what happened to her is that she was doing dangerous work and some thugs got to her. This could actually happen most anywhere, and I doubt that in this case it had much to do with the fact that she was in the part of the world where Islam is the major religion.
It does seem to be the case, though, that women are treated as second-class citizens under Islam, in most cases, and the reports are that in Egypt women are routinely subjected to sexual harassment just walking down the streets (I don’t know; I’ve just heard this).
The strange thing to me, though, is that fundamentalist Christians also believe women are second class, although I am sure they would deny this, except they cannot deny that they insist that women must be subservient to men. And both the fundamentalist Christians and Islam call for women to dress modestly (in the case of Islam, cover themselves almost completely) lest they be too tempting to men (who just cannot help themselves).
I do think, though, that there is some truth to the fact that the Islamic world is not compatible with the Western world because we have developed different social customs and a different culture. Europeans, most notably in France, are starting to push back against Islam, which has made such inroads there because of foreign workers, once welcomed in Europe due to a shortage of labor after World War II.
But back to Ms. Logan:
She suffered an attack from some thugs. That comes with the territory and she is a brave reporter.
Now if one wanted to be catty about all of this, there was a gossip story some time back about Ms. Logan having an affair with a married man in the war zone and getting mixed up in a messy divorce battle ( http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/06/25/lara-logan-sex-scandal-cb_n_109271.html ) .
But while I could not help but recall that, I don’t think it has anything to do with the misfortune she suffered or her skill at and devotion to news reporting.
As I wrote at the top of this post, I did not know much about Ms. Logan, other than seeing her on television. I always wondered what the accent was. She is from South Africa. I found that out on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lara_Logan