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kskiska Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:09 PM
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WP: In Breaking Taboos, Photos Add Insult to Injury
CAIRO, May 6 -- As political cartoon or a metaphor for the U.S. role in the Middle East, the image of an Arab man naked on the floor and tethered by a leash held by a female American soldier would sting. But photographs of that scene and others, taken at a U.S. Army-run prison in Iraq, have deeply disturbed Arabs of all social, religious and political temperaments.

"I wonder what their definition is of civilization," said Yasmine Hagry, a college student left audibly upset after reviewing the pictures Thursday at the American University in Cairo.

If the prisoners had simply been beaten or subjected to the types of physical torture thought to be common in Arab jails, the reaction might have been less severe and the inmates would have been left with some dignity intact, said Sarah Sirgany, a writer with the youth-oriented Carnival monthly. But by stripping the prisoners naked and posing them in ways designed to insinuate homosexual behavior, the American guards at Abu Ghraib violated some of the oldest and most deeply held prohibitions in the Arab world.

Partly because of religion, partly because of culture, "people adhere to tradition like script, especially with regard to sexuality and the human body," Sirgany said. "It's like this is proof . . . of what has been speculated about the Western world."

"The idea is to humiliate people in ways . . . that really affect their manhood, their identity, their notions of shame," said Donald Cole, an anthropology professor at the American University in Cairo and a convert to Islam. "It is playing with people's minds, and there is an obvious sort of double standard: that the West and British present themselves as the good people who don't do these kinds of things and the rest of the world is somehow or other bad."

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PartyPooper Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 10:29 PM
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1. Persona non grata
As an American, I would love to visit Egypt again. But, not now. Not anytime in the near future. Maybe not even in my lifetime.

Bush and his evil regime has turned us all into the 'Ugly American'.

The Arab community has every justification to despise us all.

This is so sad for all of us.

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