Two stories with a few things in common. Namely, women + captivity + the Arab Spring.
The Stranger has an interview with Dorothy Parvaz, an American/ Canadian/Iranian journalist for Al-Jazeera who was held captive in Syria and then handed over to Iran for questioning. Lacking the grotesque pull of other torture stories that are emerging, the interview is fascinating in more a considered and nuanced way. Parvaz’ thoughtful observations about the perverse courtesy she received (“they have this odd sense of chivalry, like Oh, we’re so sorry, this place is not suitable for women. Like it’s suitable for men somehow”) and what small, emotionally insignificant item she most craved (a pen) are the kind of details that make for a really great read.
In Egypt, the story of female rebels doesn’t have a happy ending, and does, unfortunately, contain sickening detail into the torture and humiliation captives are suffering. CNN reports that female prisoners are being subjected to virginity tests. To what end? A senior general anonymously explains, “We didn’t want them to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove that they weren’t virgins in the first place. None of them were (virgins).” Is that all? No… “”The girls who were detained were not like your daughter or mine. These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters in Tahrir Square.” Not like your daughter, you know, so totally cool to force vaginal exams….
Related Post: Two interviews, two sides to feminism.
Related Post: More on the Arab Spring… in Angry Birds form.