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.
“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.”
“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.