To the Egyptian woman beaten in a Cairo street,
I can’t find the words to express my outrage at what has happened to you. I am beyond sorry. While I watched uniformed soldiers rain down their batons on your face, arms, and legs, I felt the bruising myself. Even though we were separated by thousands of miles and a dim computer screen, we shared the same thoughts: how can human beings stoop to such a low level?
I have never met you and it is likely that I never will but I see you as a sister, a sister I will forever respect for having the courage that I myself lack, for having the determination to defy the institutionalized corruption and oppression that has returned to Egypt after you ousted Hosni Mubarak almost one year ago, for putting your life on the line and being the example the world needs.
To watch an uncivilized and inhumane group of cowards treat you with such brutal indignity is to watch a black cloud settle over the entirety of Egypt. To watch a soldier stomp on you with his boot is to see clear evidence of the abuse that must be put to end. But more importantly, to watch these ruthless things — I can’t call them men as I am a man myself and wouldn’t dare level myself with them — strip you of your clothing is to watch humanity at its lowest form.
I am unsure of your condition and whether or not you are aware that the Egyptian armed forces have been publicly shamed in the world’s eyes. Millions have seen the footage of your beating. Millions watched soldiers drag you down a street layered with spent rubber bullets and sharp stones. But these same millions have also seen your most well-kept secret, your most treasured personal belonging: your bare body. I am beyond sorry.
During the course of your beating, soldiers ripped apart the abaya that stood as sign of your true modesty. But don’t think you are any less modest. They exposed you to the world, but in doing so, the brutal Egyptian military has exposed itself as a collection of untamed animals who are no better than Mubarak’s thugs. This sexual abuse was intended to publicly humiliate you, and I am beyond sorry that it happened in the first place, but there is no reason to put your head down in shame.
The world understands the abuse of your body, your personal treasure, was against your will. The millions who watched soldiers voluntarily smash your bones with clubs are all aware that you committed no crime. Your intention has always been to bring justice and prosperity to the only land you’ve ever called home and your objective has always been to dismantle the institution of uncivilized and abusive authority used as a weapon against your Egyptian counterparts. You are the essence of purity in a world where purity barely exists. Although I am beyond sorry, my dear sister, I am very proud of what you’ve done in the past and what you will do in the future, God willing.
The sexual and violent abuse of women, of unarmed demonstrators, and of civilians from any background is an act of war against humanity and our natural rights. It is only natural that you will feel uncomfortable with what these savages did to you. The footage, now permanently embedded in history, will haunt you. It will haunt me and anyone else with even the slightest shred of moral consciousness. I am beyond sorry for the damage this has done to you. But know that you are admired, that I especially am confident in your ambitions, and that only the soldiers shall bear the shame of their actions.
To the Egyptian woman beaten in a Cairo street, stay strong.