Logan is a consummate professional, whether interviewing elite special ops forces, or detailing what happened to her in Egypt, as she did on "60 Minutes" recently. I want to warn you, this video is most definitely not for the faint of heart. It is hard to watch, painful, intense, infuriating, powerful, and ultimately, inspiring. Lara Logan almost lost her life that fateful night in Tahrir Square. But for a group of women, and some soldiers pushed into action by her crew, she surely would have.
But I don't want to tell her story. She can do it for herself:
There are so many pieces to what she said, it is hard to know where to start. Having her muscles stretched, being raped by hand over and over, having her clothes torn off, her attackers trying to scalp her, just the frenzy of her attackers, and their complete and utter barbarism, are the things that stand out to me. The "banality of evil," as Lisa Gardner writes about in her 2008 novel, Say Goodbye. I was struck by this phrase when I read it, and the study on which this concept was founded, the Stanford Study. Likely, you are familiar with this study in which people recreate a prison, with some being chosen as guards, others as inmates, and the actions taken by both groups.
After this setup, the protagonist, Kimberly, explains "the banality of evil":
[snip] "Basically, even good people do really bad things if they think no one cares. The banality of evil..."
"...I'm talking about human nature. That everyone has inside him-or-herself the capacity for evil. Some people will never act on it, others will definitely act on it, and still others will act on it only if the right circumstances present themselves..." [snip] (p 318)
Clearly, for this frenzied mob of men, the "right circumstances" presented themselves.
But what else stood out to me was Logan's desire to fight, fight as hard as she could, to return to her children, to not give up on her life so she COULD return to them. The strength she found within herself is a true testament to the human spirit.
Along those lines, in opposition to the "banality of evil" is the "banality of heroism," which is what the group of women, and soldiers, did to save Logan's life. Again, from the Say Goodbye protagonist:
[snip] "I'm talking about the Everyday Average Joe that one day, when the right circumstances present themselves, suddenly saves the day. The stranger on the subway platform who jumps down to assist the fallen commuter. The woman shopping in the store who not only notices the sad little girl, but calls the police. For every act of cruelty, there is an equal and opposing act of courage. That's human nature, too." [snip] (p 319)
That is what the woman, the complete stranger, did when she embraced Lara Logan, this woman she did not know, but whom she could clearly see was in big trouble. She put herself at risk to hold onto this woman, this stranger, this foreigner, even as the men were still trying to carry her away. That brief reprieve was what Logan's crew needed to get the soldiers there to help her, to get her away from that murderous, sexually abusive, mob of men.
Hallelujah for the "banality of heroism." Thank heavens that Logan was returned home to her family, to her children. Thank the powers-that-be-in-the-universe that she feels able to return to work, that the physical attacks against her have healed. Thank heavens for all that is good.
But - I cannot leave this without pointing out the glaring issue that women journalists often have to endure, at the least, sexual harassment, and at worst, violent assaults, just for trying to do their jobs. That they feel they must stay SILENT about these assaults is the biggest concern. That these women fear they cannot speak out to their colleagues about what they are going through lest they be told women have no place doing that work is disturbing on so many levels. It isn't the women's fault for being women. It is the fault of those who think women can be treated as less than human who are at fault. THEY are the ones who should be held to account, not the women who have to add insult to injury by keeping the offenses perpetrated against them to themselves.
Lara Logan is my hero. But what she endured should not have happened. Decent people do not act like that - EVER. They do not succumb to "the banality of evil," taking advantage of circumstances that present themselves for evil. No - decent people rise above. In this case, the decent people became heroes.
I am grateful Logan was able to return home, to her family, and ultimately, to her job. But the way women are perceived, here and around the world, must change. This sort of thing should not happen ever again. And if that is "culturally insensitive," so be it. Women have had to take a backseat for too long whenever there is any kind of "movement" afoot.
These men, these barbarians, should be held to account. If they were taking photos of Logan, surely SOMEONE knows who they are. They need to stop protecting these men, these perpetrators of evil, and shine a bright light on those who think this kind of behavior is acceptable. It is not. Not ever.