After the nude photo of Aliaa Magda Elmahdy became world wide news, everyone, it seemed, was trying to find out more about her, or at the very least, find her infamous picture. In the following 4 days since I posted about Aliaa, my blog managed a total of 1,336 views.
Why, I wondered, were so many people looking for Aliaa? And furthermore, why were they were all coming to my blog? I came to the conclusion after doing a little research: most people in the English-speaking world were not blogging or writing about Aliaa. And those who did, like CNN and the Daily Mail UK, did not include her nude photo but an altered version. I myself had not included her photo in my first posting.
Just a few days prior to Aliaa’s disrobing, I had installed a flag counter on my blog. Most visitors were American, but it appeared that many of the people looking for Aliaa were also from the Middle East: 34 Egyptians, 16 Emiratis, 16 Turks and 14 Saudis alone had found my page. Looking to scorn and rail against her picture, or secretly wanting to view her naked body?
It is kind of amusing when one thinks about how one woman can occupy the minds of so many people. Forget the Occupy Wall Street protesters or those in Tahrir Square: Aliaa’s method of protesting not only took her probably an hour to do, but it most definitely caught people’s attention. Will her actions cause change?
Unfortunately, it might have been bad timing, seeing how Egypt is currently (yet again!) embroiled in protests. You would think, with people getting their eyes shot out and cars burning up and general pandemonium, the people of Egypt would have other things to worry about.
At the moment, I think Egyptians better be more concerned about what’s happening right outside their own front door and not worry about a girl who posted a nude photo on the internet in protest. I mean, if most Egyptians feel that protesting is okay, then shouldn’t she be allowed her say too?
Public nudity in Egypt I do believe is a crime punishable under law. If the Egyptian government makes moves to punish Aliaa, there will no doubt be an international outcry. I do not wish for Aliaa to be prosecuted for such a “harmless” act, but I disagree with her getting preferential treatment just because she successfully manipulated the media. What about those who came before her (if there were any) who were punished for their crimes? It’s similar to the situation of the woman driver in Saudi Arabia who was saved from being lashed because of public outcry: why is one person exempt while the others suffer? The international world might protest and condemn a punishment, and get justice for one person, but one person is not enough: it is the laws that must be changed.
The Western world feels that it is their right to step in whenever a situation emerges that is deplorable. But if the country is not preforming, say, genocide on it’s citizens, than what right does the West have to block the country’s system of justice? If you find the law deplorable, than bring it to the United Nations, but please don’t let the laws remain and save just one person because the media has caught everyone’s attention. And what does this say about a country like Egypt, if they actually pardon someone like Aliaa? Does it show thay they do not exert enough power on the international level? And when pardoning her, would they stop and consider the fact that, if they are allowing this pardon, that maybe the law needs to be changed?
There’s a lot going on in Egypt at the moment. Egyptians need to get their priorities straight and think rationally. Ousting the military is not a bad idea, given that they have proved to be just as bad as Mubarak recently, but they cannot be ousted unless there is someone to take their place. There must be a leader in Egypt; someone has to be in charge. Otherwise, all Hell will break loose.
And if that happens, anything goes, even photos of naked girls.
- “Waiting for Aliaa” by Maya Mikdashi –a really good article http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/3208/waiting-for-alia
- Aliaa Magda Elmahdy’s personal blog: http://arebelsdiary.blogspot.com/?zx=eeebf28555e066f6