Arrest, Sexual Abuse in Tahrir Sq: Mona Eltahawy’s Story in Tweets

NOTE: As reported here by Kristina Chew,Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy, who appears frequently on American television and in print, was arrested and sexually abused in Cairo over the past two days — all the while reporting on her experience on Twitter. Here, in “reverse” and therefore chronological order, are those tweets. I have met and spent time with Mona – who is as brave and committed — and fascinating — as these tweets indicate. Please send messages of support in your comments here – she deserves them. CKS

At Tahrir Square

Across street from AUC* gate I used to enter every day Mohamed Mansour. Can’t believe it. A cacophony sirens, horns, flashing ambulance lights (*American University of Cairo) 23 Nov

Pitch black, only flashing ambulance lights and air thick with gas Mohamed Mahmoud #Tahrir 23 Nov

I AM FREE 23 hours ago

12 hours with Interior Ministry bastards and military intelligence combined. Can barely type – must go xray arms after CSF pigs beat me. 23 hours ago

A thousand thanks for all well wishes and support. Fuck #EgyPolice. 23 hours ago

I can barely imagine what my family and loved ones were going through those 12 hours-I know they were worried about me to begin with. Sorry 23 hours ago

Thank God a political activist in MOI with me lent me his phone to tweet. Right after my tweet his battery died 23 hours ago

My right hand is so swollen I can’t close it 23 hours ago

The assault

5 or 6 surrounded me, groped and prodded my breasts, grabbed my genital area and I lost count how many hands tried to get into my trousers. 23 hours ago

@Sarahngb is coming to kindly take me to the hospital. Besides beating me, the dogs of CSF subjected me to the worst sexual assault ever 23 hours ago

Yes sexual assault. I’m so used to saying harassment but those f%#kings assaulted me. #CSF 23 hours ago

They are dogs and their bosses are dogs. F@#k the Egyptian police. 23 hours ago

Military intelligence blindfolded me for 2 hrs. Didn’t want 2 go with them but 1 said I either go politely or else. 3 hrs later, 23 hours ago

Didn’t want to go with military intelligence but one MP said either come politely or not. Those guys didn’t beat or assault me 23 hours ago

Instead, blindfolded me for 2 hrs, after keeping me waiting for 3. At 1st answered Qs bec passport wasn’t w me but then refused as civilian 23 hours ago

Another hour later I was free with apology from military intelligence for what CSF did. Took pics of my bruises and recorded statement 23 hours ago

On sexual assault and said would investigate it and said they had no idea why I was there. Then who does??! WTF! 23 hours ago

The past 12 hrs were painful and surreal but I know I got off much much easier than so many other Egyptians. 23 hours ago

My Cairo phone got lost during my beating so no calls there 22 hours ago

My left arm and right hand are broken acc to xrays 21 hours ago

I was arrested alone and I didnt know that @MagButter was arrested too. Glad to hear he was released as well 20 hours ago

#FreeJehane In solidarity with Jihane Noujaim. Friends please kick up huge fuss to relesase her 16 hours ago

My angels in Cairo: @Sarahngb @RamyYaacoub @Sandmonkey Thank you. 13 hours ago

Friday morning

Can barely type bec of my casts but want to say 1mln thanks to all who tweeted re my arrest & helped get word out.So grateful. 9 hours ago

So relieved @MagButter is free too and sorry for brutal beating. we were together Mohamed Mahmoud. 8 hours ago

V excited about #Tahir today. Will be on a balcony overlooking square bec still learning to maneuver with arm/hand in casts. 48 minutes ago

Must get people to sign my casts so that i can have #Tahrir love on me for 6 weeks. 47 minutes ago


Photos from Mona Eltahawy via twitpic


Penny C.
penny C6 years ago


Darlene B.
Darlene W6 years ago

Disgusting. The Master was with you during this period, bless your soul and good luck in all you are trying to accomplish. You have many supporters.

Gloria Morotti
Gloria Morotti6 years ago

Everywhere, there are good and bad people. Thank Goddess for the good ones. As for the bad...only love will change their hearts, hard as that may be to believe.

Valarie Snell
Valarie Snell6 years ago

my heart goes out to her

Alicia N.
Alicia N6 years ago

this is really, really sad. I hope she gets the help that she needs.
GOD bless you sweet heart.

Ian F.
Ian F6 years ago

What matters more than anything is who the perpetrators were. If the Police Chiefs are allowing this to happen to women, then they are just as responsible for commiting these dreadfull acts. It doesn't matter where you are in the World, this is un-acceptable and these people should be brought to account.

Donna S.
Donna Smallwood6 years ago

Continued - Their women HATE us, by the way; they think we are trying to take their available men. The media has distorted so much of what's happening there and can't be trusted, so all journalists, MALE AND FEMALE are simply not welcome. It's a WAR ZONE, just stay out for now. There is no way that putting Western ideologies and values on this situation will work; their culture isn't like that, right or wrong.

Donna S.
Donna Smallwood6 years ago

Continued -Many teachers put in long days trying to fulfill all the private lessons in order to feed their families. Private school teachers fare a little better, but not much.
The final grade point average in your last year of high school determines what you will be allowed to study in college. There are only 5 major professions available listed in order of payscale and social importance: doctor, engineer, dentist, teacher and lawyer. Those who are connected to the regime are considerably more successful than the others. Furniture is largely handmade there, as are many other things. Most trade positions are taught and handed down father -to-son. Small companies and businesses are the same way.
What you see in Tahrir Square is a LARGE number of young people who have finished college, but there is NO JOB for them, because after awhile, 5 professions don't have any openings. These people want to start their adult lives, but there's no chance for them. Also, they're the first generation indoctrinated by Western society, via the web, to want "more" for their lives. Their system has failed them and they are trying to do something about it. They are very out of control; agreed. I lived there almost 2 1/2 years and was "touched" only twice; both times in public transportation. However, I also had my wallet stolen from my purse twice, both times in public transportation by WOMEN in burkhas and totally covered faces. Their women HATE us, by the way; they think we are trying to take

Donna S.
Donna Smallwood6 years ago

Then, there are actually 2 groups of "haves"; professional businessmen and military high ranking people, who are well connected and supported by the regime, and the teachers. The first group of "haves" are both self-important( for those with new wealth) and well- adjusted to the hierarchy. They use the people for whatever purpose they need them for. They have first rights in Egypt and their testimonies are always TRUE. It's an atmosphere of paternalism very similar to 1950's America. These men have mistresses and second lives all over the place outside of Egypt wherever their "businesses" take them to. They are very interested in Western mistresses because they think we are "loose, desperate, and will do anything with anyone at anytime, anywhere". (This is the image of what our movies and media portray.)
The teachers basically monitor the class and babysit the kids for 7 hours. Little is expected of them in class; it's like a social club away from their usual social clubs. Parents hire "private tutors", usually the child's teacher, in order to ensure that the child will be given an "A" in the subject. Teachers receive very little money from the schools for their work, from $250-$500 a month. They depend on these "private lessons"; parents subsidize their salaries so they can support their families. In Egypt, until last year, there were no teacher's programs to teach them how to be teachers. If you majored in a subject in college, then that is what you are qualified to teach.

Donna S.
Donna Smallwood6 years ago

Continued - These are not the men groping journalists and occupying Tahrir Square! They have farms to tend to that keeps Egypt fed. These men only go into town when they have to in order to deliver meat and produce. They know their social position and don't disturb women at all, much less pinch them, grope them or any other deviant behavior.

In the cities, the "have nots", the servants of the "haves", live a much different life. These people, MOSTLY men work 18 - 20 hours a day for survival. The women who work are servants, cleaning people, and nannies for the" haves". Some are "educated", some are not. The men who have little "shops" to sell things are often the ones who lie, cheat, and steal to get the American dollar. They are also SOME of the ones who grope, pinch, and ogle women uncovered. They charge Arab women one price and the rest of us another price because they know we need what they're selling and they can get away with it. NOT ALL are like that. This group of people is very frustrated because they are under impossible pressure to survive now that no one is able to buy their products. They also have the money to go to internet cafes during any free time they may have to sit and watch porn and western movies.