20 February 2011

The Assault on Lara Logan Should Not Be Marginal to Our Reflections on the Flowering of Democracy

Photojournalism is a dangerous occupation. But as is typically the case, the dangers are not evenly distributed. There are two forthright essays at The New York Times on the dangers that beset women journalists. You can find them here and here. The women who've written these essays - Kim Barker and Sarina Tavernise - were prompted to do so by the vicious attack on correspondent Lara Logan by a mob of men in Tahrir Square last week. It goes without saying, I hope, that Logan has proven courageous in making public her own experience. In case it doesn't, I recommend this thoughtful comment. It is good news that she apparently is recovering from the physical harm she suffered.

Yet another response to Logan's experience appears here at npr. In it, Jane Arraf rightly holds up a mirror to those here in the west who are condemning the sorts of cultures that allegedly sustain attacks like the one Logan endured. Arraf's remarks are not, as conservatives will surely insist, about blaming the West; they are an invitation to learn something about ourselves instead of merely posing as cheerleaders. There is nothing wrong with celebrating the spread of democratic values. But there is nothing wrong either with acknowledging how partially and precariously they exist here at home.

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