Horrible, horrible news about Lara Logan

Lara Logan

I’ve been a fan of CBS foreign affairs reporter Lara Logan ever since she was on The Daily Show. A quick look around YouTube will show you how talented and courageous she is – she’s one of those journalists who makes me wish I had even 10% of her talent and courage. She truly is an inspiration.

So I’ve actually been in shock since the news last night that on the day Hosni Mubarak stood down as president of Egypt, she was brutally beaten and sexually assaulted by a crowd of pro-democracy protestors.

In the crush of the mob, she was separated from her crew. She was surrounded and suffered a brutal and sustained sexual assault and beating before being saved by a group of women and an estimated 20 Egyptian soldiers. She reconnected with the CBS team, returned to her hotel and returned to the United States on the first flight the next morning. She is currently in the hospital recovering.

It’s easy to achieve “compassion fatigue”. You can hear that one in three Afghan women has been the victim of physical, psychological or sexual violence. You can know that this isn’t an isolated incident and that something similar is probably happening to women all over Egypt and the rest of the world.

Maybe it’s just when it’s someone you know (or even ‘know’) that you remember just what a horrifying world we live in – and just what terrible things men do to women.

UPDATE: Charlie Rose, as usual, has some excellent interviews with Logan, the first from October 2009, the second from a little over a week ago. From the transcript:

“It’s very hard for me to be away from this story. I feel in one sense like a failure professionally. I feel like I failed because I didn’t deliver, and I take that responsibility very seriously. We’re still working on the story, but fundamentally it’s in my blood to be there and to be on the street and listening to people and to do the best reporting that I can.”

That was after being tortured by the Egyptian regime:

“We were detained by the Egyptian army,” Logan told Esquire. “Arrested, detained, and interrogated. Blindfolded, handcuffed, taken at gunpoint, our driver beaten. It’s the regime that arrested us. They arrested [our producer] just outside of his hotel, and they took him off the road at gunpoint, threw him against the wall, handcuffed him, blindfolded him. Took him into custody like that.”

There was more: “They blindfolded me, but they said if I didn’t take it off they wouldn’t tie my hands. They kept us in stress positions—they wouldn’t let me put my head down. It was all through the night. We were pretty exhausted… We were accused of being Israeli spies. We were accused of being agents. We were accused of everything.” In the process, Logan said, she became “violently, violently ill.” The army eventually released Logan and the crew. And then, because it is hard to keep Logan away from a hot foreign story, she went back.

She’s an inspiration.




  • That is so so horrible. It does show the difficulty of these situations. I’m all for freedom for the Egyptian people, but I don’t think it’s a black and white issue, and clearly from this it’s not just Mubarak supporters capable of horrific actions. But then, I never think it is as straightforward as one side is evil, the other good. What an horrific thing to happen.That poor woman. It would be good if this could change in a new democratic Egypt, but I’m not holding my breath. But then I’m not holding my breath for a new democracy either, certainly not while the army is still in control…

  • Terrible news – I feel horrified it’s not been picked up sufficiently elsewhere (so well done for passing this on). Horrific to put action in context – there is violence being done to women all over the world all the time.
    I share JH’s concern about how Eygpt will develop: those missing words “whichever is the sooner” from the Army’s offer to hold power “for 6 months or until elections” is worrying…

  • Thanks for the update Rob – my God, she really does put herself in harm’s way.

  • Astark

    This is a terrible story and I very much so am angered by the fact that it happened to one of our women as well. However, what a terrible thing to say when you said ” what a horrifying world we live in – and just what terrible things men do to women.” We do live in a very troubled and peaceless world. I agree totally with you there, but now ALL men are put under the blanket of rapers, neglecters, and abusers? I would challenge you to channel your anger better and not use blanket statements such as the one you made above. All men are not as you say and while life is tough on us all we should be more wise when we comment on such a thing. I hope she does recover quickly and fully. I know she’ll never be the same from this as most people who experience this type of trauma say they never are the same. Also her assailants will probably never be punished for their crime here on this earth. Lets be more careful about what we say and how we say it though. What if I said “All of The media is not enough columists or bloggers are incapable of writting a good story or finishing a thought, or even taking care of properly telling the story like it is!”???

  • MediumRob

    “We do live in a very troubled and peaceless world. I agree totally with you there, but now ALL men are put under the blanket of rapers, neglecters, and abusers? I would challenge you to channel your anger better and not use blanket statements such as the one you made above.”
    I didn’t say all men. I said men. Rape is a gendered crime – 98% of rape is men raping women. It is a thing that can be said that almost exclusively men do to women.
    “What if I said “All of The media is not enough columists or bloggers are incapable of writting a good story or finishing a thought, or even taking care of properly telling the story like it is!”???”
    I’d say you need to do some basic research since there’s only one of me.

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