I saw Bill Maher on The Arena tonight. He thought it was an ominous sign for democracy in Egypt that a thousand women attended the Million Woman March only to have the men deride them. It was obviously humiliating for the organizers, but I had a different take on it.
No one said how many men were there, but the ones I saw were very young and there were not very many of them. I thought it was interesting that although the mobs that attacked the political demonstrators were revealed to be hired thugs, everyone assumed these boys were legitimate. Women can be discredited so easily. I know this, although I’ve never been to Egypt. I learned it in America.
I could say that Maher grew up with a different crowd, but I don’t think it’s that easy to explain. It seems we all have an official picture of ourselves as Americans. I’ve often believed the official picture, although I’ve seen countless situations similar to what happened in Egypt. And yet we have democracy.
If the Egyptians are willing to fight and die for democracy, they must be ready for it. We can’t really say. People tend to be more conservative in conditions of political and economic hardship, and the Egyptians were having a difficult time even before the revolution. That, combined with religious attitudes about women could explain what those boys did, if they did act on their own.
However, if Maher was trying to say there is a correlation between respect for women and free societies, I think he’s right.