Friday, March 8, 2013

US to Honor Egyptian Woman, Reverses Decision

Yesterday news was announced of the U.S. State Department's intentions to honour Egyptian woman Samira Ibrahim, the female activist who was allegedly subjected to a virginity test while protesting in Tahrir Square. She was selected to win the International Women of Courage award, to be handed out today, International Women's Day, by Secretary of State John Kerry and Michelle Obama. 

Samira Ibrahim in Cairo, Dec. 2011.
(Ahmed Ali / AP) Source
The decision has been revoked however, following news of Ibrahim's anti-American and anti-Semetic comments on her Twitter feed. While the activist has claimed her account was hacked, the comments reportedly go back a few months. Click here to read more on the revocation of the decision. 

Some of the comments allegedly include statements such as: ""Today is the anniversary of 9/11. May [we] every year see the U.S. burning," posted to her account on the eleventh anniversary of the September 11 attacks. 

Al-Ahram online writes: "On 18 July 2012, Ibrahim tweeted: "An explosion on a bus carrying Israelis in Burgas airport in Bulgaria on the Black Sea. Today is such a lovely day with a lot of lovely news," referring to a suicide bomb attack that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver."

So my first comment on this would be, bravo to the U.S. for recognizing the plight that many women go through around the world to promote and further women's rights. But with that being said, do they not research these people in advance? Do they just pick through headlines and decide "Okay yeah she sounds great, let's nominate her" and leave the dirty work to the media outlets? I understand in many cases some of the dirt that media outlets are able to dig up is buried in such a fashion that it takes a substantial amount of time to find it, but this was posted to her Twitter feed! This was in a public domain! It would have taken the researchers tasked with finding such women very little time to actually be able to check out her Social Media sites and ensure that such comments were never made. 

And Ibrahim's response? So typical of many responses we see these days in Egypt. "My account was hacked, multiple times. No racist comments were mine." Oh how convenient. Those pesky invisible hands have extended their reach to the Social Media accounts of activists, and over a prolonged period of time work their darndest to make sure you look like a racist bigot. Sneaky, sneaky invisible hands. All I can do is sigh and shake my head. 

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