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Old 02-20-2011, 10:16 PM   #226
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Wow. Sounds like my assumption was borderline racist in that case. This behaviour is much less of a feature of Northern European culture, meaning UK/Scandinavia/Germany, etc.
Part of my response to you was going to be pointing out that, even as I expressed surprise at some of her experiences, I did also acknowledge that Paris is not a smart place for women to go around smiling at and making eye contact with male strangers. Paris does kind of have one foot in the north and one in the Mediterranean, and women travelers will definitely sense a difference in the social environment there compared to, say, London--a more macho vibe from the men, a more ritualized and conformist performance of gender roles (pardon the jargon) from both sexes in public. Still, I've never personally encountered harassment beyond the occasional leer or fleeting lewd comment there, so I was a bit surprised to hear that.

As for associating a higher local incidence of sexual harassment with the prevalence of some particular ethnocultural group in an area--I suppose that could be as offensive or as neutral as you want it to be, depending on what you're basing the association on, the significance you're reading into it, and how you express it. (By 'sexual harassment' I mean basically the spectrum from leering to groping--incidence of rape and other particularly violent forms of sexual assault often correlates more with overall violent crime rate than with reported sexual harassment rate.) Different cultures do have different gender systems, and sexual harassment often functions as a way of punishing and intimidating women (local and foreign alike) who are seen as flouting local gender customs, and therefore evoke a mix of titillation and contempt. It's not a matter of said group or its men being inherently more brutish or criminal or anything like that--this isn't necessarily fundamentally anti-social behavior, it's more like overly aggressive social policing behavior, though it's usually only a minority of men who are coarse enough to 'police' in this way. But at least in all my traveling experience, there's definitely a connection between how 'macho' the local culture is (for lack of a more incisive term) and the level of sexual harassment.

I've only been in the vicinity of Gare du Nord a couple times, once to visit an open-air market in a largely Algerian neighborhood--which was a great, really interesting market, however I do recall automatically going into my extra-alert, extra-emphatic-'don't-f*-with-me-stance' mode because there were almost no women, local or otherwise, around and I seemed to be getting quite a few What do you think you're doing here? looks. But no one actually bothered me. The area surrounding the station itself does have a reputation for pickpocketing and petty theft and is not what I'd call an inviting tourist locale, which is what I meant by "gritty," however I wasn't associating that particular spot with ethnic or cultural anything, just a somewhat higher crime rate.
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Old 02-20-2011, 11:22 PM   #227
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I can't help wondering if a successful nonviolent revolution isn't actually quite dependant on the army to stand by, or even side with the protestors, as they did in Egypt. It seems like when the government has the support of the military, it becomes much more difficulty to bring down a regime.
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Old 02-21-2011, 03:40 AM   #228
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Part of my response to you was going to be pointing out that, even as I expressed surprise at some of her experiences, I did also acknowledge that Paris is not a smart place for women to go around smiling at and making eye contact with male strangers. Paris does kind of have one foot in the north and one in the Mediterranean, and women travelers will definitely sense a difference in the social environment there compared to, say, London--a more macho vibe from the men, a more ritualized and conformist performance of gender roles (pardon the jargon) from both sexes in public. Still, I've never personally encountered harassment beyond the occasional leer or fleeting lewd comment there, so I was a bit surprised to hear that.

As for associating a higher local incidence of sexual harassment with the prevalence of some particular ethnocultural group in an area--I suppose that could be as offensive or as neutral as you want it to be, depending on what you're basing the association on, the significance you're reading into it, and how you express it. (By 'sexual harassment' I mean basically the spectrum from leering to groping--incidence of rape and other particularly violent forms of sexual assault often correlates more with overall violent crime rate than with reported sexual harassment rate.) Different cultures do have different gender systems, and sexual harassment often functions as a way of punishing and intimidating women (local and foreign alike) who are seen as flouting local gender customs, and therefore evoke a mix of titillation and contempt. It's not a matter of said group or its men being inherently more brutish or criminal or anything like that--this isn't necessarily fundamentally anti-social behavior, it's more like overly aggressive social policing behavior, though it's usually only a minority of men who are coarse enough to 'police' in this way. But at least in all my traveling experience, there's definitely a connection between how 'macho' the local culture is (for lack of a more incisive term) and the level of sexual harassment.

I've only been in the vicinity of Gare du Nord a couple times, once to visit an open-air market in a largely Algerian neighborhood--which was a great, really interesting market, however I do recall automatically going into my extra-alert, extra-emphatic-'don't-f*-with-me-stance' mode because there were almost no women, local or otherwise, around and I seemed to be getting quite a few What do you think you're doing here? looks. But no one actually bothered me. The area surrounding the station itself does have a reputation for pickpocketing and petty theft and is not what I'd call an inviting tourist locale, which is what I meant by "gritty," however I wasn't associating that particular spot with ethnic or cultural anything, just a somewhat higher crime rate.
i should point out that my experience was over quite a few years of living there though, not just a week or two... so it probably sounds a lot worse than it was...

i do love the area around Gare du Nord, La Chapelle, Barbes and Gare de l'Est, artistically there is lots going on, plus the shops are fantastic - you can find everything there (the main french supermarkets are still pretty much mostly "french" and offer little variety food-wise) - i used to do all my shopping there, and i still take an extra bag with me to stock up on things when i'm there for the day lol

i guess apart from arriving on Eurostar at Gare du Nord and the Sacre Coeur/Montmartre, it's not really a touristy spot... although the area around Gare de l'Est has been developed quite extensively in recent years and has gone more "upmarket" with some new fancy restaurants and bars... i did love the old cheap and cheerful, ok maybe dark and seedy bars/cafes in the past though, we would spend hours hanging out, just really laid back, and you could eat and drink really cheaply (great when you're a student with limited funds!) and there were some funny/interesting local characters... it felt like a glimpse of the old Paris you see in some of the paintings ha

and i agree, the harassment thing was a big shock to me, coming from the UK - i'd experienced nothing like it before... sadly you kind of get used to it, and i had to force myself to take my scowl off my face when i'd go back to the UK to visit lol!!!
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:07 AM   #229
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To me, it's the reaction of a regime that is in its last days.
Lets hope so
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:33 AM   #230
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my god, did you see gaddafi's son's speech?? that they'll continue fighting until the last man or woman standing!
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Old 02-21-2011, 11:44 AM   #231
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oh wow, just read this on the Guardian live blog...

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4.34 p.m. Egypt: It's one way to answer the question "What's on your mind?" ABC news reports that an Egyptian father has named his daughter Facebook, as a way of thanking the social networking site for its role in helping protesters organise the demonstrations that forced Hosni Muibarak to quit. The baby's full name is Facebook Jamal Ibrihim. (Thanks to fahimn on Twitter.)

and this too:

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4.30pm – Libya: Reuters has just sent this line: "British foreign minister [William] Hague: have seen some information to suggest Libya's Gaddafi on his way to Venezuela."
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Old 02-21-2011, 08:55 PM   #232
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The baby's full name is Facebook Jamal Ibrihim.
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:50 AM   #233
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I assume there are people named Woodstock around.

(or worse "Kent State")

(Attica?)


Kudos for the excitement, but for the kid's future.
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:30 AM   #234
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ok, i have to make a decision...

would you take your family on a holiday to Egypt (red sea) right now?? i seriously don't know what the fuck to do... i am worried mainly about being able to buy food and water, as we are staying in private accommodation and are travelling completely independently, so have no "tour operator" back up and will have to fend for ourselves if things don't go smoothly...

what are your thoughts??
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Old 02-22-2011, 04:34 PM   #235
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the benefit is not worth the risk.


A year ago, if the odds were 1 in a thousand something bad might happen.

What are the odds now? They have to be up by a factor of 10, at least.

Remember what happened to the reporter? Why take the risk?

Again weigh the risks vs. benefit.
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Old 02-23-2011, 08:38 AM   #236
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Do you mean 'right now' as in right now - sometime in the very immediate future, or is this a summer thing? And do you just mean around Sharm el-Sheikh, or are you traveling around?
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:43 AM   #237
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There are lots of places in the world that you can visit.

I wouldn't be going anywhere in the Middle East right now, nevermind bringing children there.

It isn't as if you can't go in a year or two when you can be more certain of the political situation.

JMO.
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Old 02-23-2011, 12:03 PM   #238
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well, talk about timing!

the airline has now emailed to say the return flight has been cancelled and they've put us on another flight several days later which is just totally impossible for us (visas, accommodation, school, work commitments)! i phoned and they can't offer any other suitable dates, so they've offered us a full refund seeing as they're the ones who've changed the flights - we wouldn't have been entitled to a penny if we'd cancelled as the FO was still saying it was safe, and insurance doesn't cover civil unrest... i was so unsure and very worried as it was - i was absolutely dreading going to be honest but was worried about letting other family members down who we were meant to be meeting up with there, but it's totally out of my hands now... we were meant to be travelling at Easter so i had to decide this week whether or not to pay the balance on the accommodation, or whether to cut our losses and not go... we were hoping to visit Cairo and Luxor as well but doubt if we would've been able to... i was prepared to just cancel and forfeit the flights and go another time, so am really relieved it's worked out this way...

thanks so much guys for the input anyway...
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Old 03-24-2011, 01:39 PM   #239
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Egyptian women protesters forced to take ‘virginity tests’ | Amnesty International

23 March 2011

Amnesty International has today called on the Egyptian authorities to investigate serious allegations of torture, including forced ‘virginity tests’, inflicted by the army on women protesters arrested in Tahrir Square earlier this month.

After army officers violently cleared the square of protesters on 9 March, at least 18 women were held in military detention. Amnesty International has been told by women protesters that they were beaten, given electric shocks, subjected to strip searches while being photographed by male soldiers, then forced to submit to ‘virginity checks’ and threatened with prostitution charges.

‘Virginity tests’ are a form of torture when they are forced or coerced.

"Forcing women to have ‘virginity tests’ is utterly unacceptable. Its purpose is to degrade women because they are women," said Amnesty International. "All members of the medical profession must refuse to take part in such so-called 'tests'."

20-year-old Salwa Hosseini told Amnesty International that after she was arrested and taken to a military prison in Heikstep, she was made, with the other women, to take off all her clothes to be searched by a female prison guard, in a room with two open doors and a window. During the strip search, Salwa Hosseini said male soldiers were looking into the room and taking pictures of the naked women.

The women were then subjected to ‘virginity tests’ in a different room by a man in a white coat. They were threatened that “those not found to be virgins” would be charged with prostitution.

According to information received by Amnesty International, one woman who said she was a virgin but whose test supposedly proved otherwise was beaten and given electric shocks.

“Women and girls must be able to express their views on the future of Egypt and protest against the government without being detained, tortured, or subjected to profoundly degrading and discriminatory treatment,” said Amnesty International.

“The army officers tried to further humiliate the women by allowing men to watch and photograph what was happening, with the implicit threat that the women could be at further risk of harm if the photographs were made public.”

Journalist Rasha Azeb was also detained in Tahrir Square and told Amnesty International that she was handcuffed, beaten and insulted.

Following their arrest, the 18 women were initially taken to a Cairo Museum annex where they were reportedly handcuffed, beaten with sticks and hoses, given electric shocks in the chest and legs, and called “prostitutes”.

Rasha Azeb could see and hear the other detained women being tortured by being given electric shocks throughout their detention at the museum. She was released several hours later with four other men who were also journalists, but 17 other women were transferred to the military prison in Heikstep

Testimonies of other women detained at the same time collected by the El Nadeem Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence are consistent with Rasha Azeb and Salwa Hosseini’s accounts of beatings, electrocution and ‘virginity tests’.

“The Egyptian authorities must halt the shocking and degrading treatment of women protesters. Women fully participated in bringing change in Egypt and should not be punished for their activism,” said Amnesty International.

“All security and army forces must be clearly instructed that torture and other ill-treatment, including forced ‘virginity tests’, will no longer be tolerated, and will be fully investigated. Those found responsible for such acts must be brought to justice and the courageous women who denounced such abuses be protected from reprisals.”

All 17 women detained in the military prison were brought before a military court on 11 March and released on 13 March. Several received one-year suspended prison sentences.

Salwa Hosseini was convicted of disorderly conduct, destroying private and public property, obstructing traffic and carrying weapons.

Amnesty International opposes the trial of civilians before military courts in Egypt, which have a track record of unfair trials and where the right to appeal is severely restricted.
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:49 AM   #240
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Did anyone see Lara Logan's interview on 60 Minutes last night? That was so painful to watch. I truly admire her courage.
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