Lara Logan, the chief foreign correspondent for CBS News, was sexually assaulted in Cairo after the news of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation broke. The joy and excitement turned to violence in Tahrir Square when Logan, who was working on a story for 60 Minutes, was surrounded by a mob and assaulted. Logan survived the attack and is in the hospital recovering, but the news has sent a chilling message to journalists, particularly women, everywhere.
Logan is no stranger to the peril of working abroad in dangerous places. She has covered floods in Mozambique, land invasions in Zimbabwe, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for CBS over the last decade. Just one week before the attack, Logan and her crew were detained by the Egyptian authorities and treated brutally.
Some might say Logan is very brave. Others might say she is very foolish. As the mother of two children who undoubtedly need their mommy, she puts her life on the line every day in order to get the news to us at their expense. Is it worth it? In an interview a few months ago, Logan said:
But basically it is in my blood to be there and be in the street to listen to people and make the best story I can. But at the same time, I am also aware that I can put my family in a very difficult situation.
She isn't the first female reporter to be in this position. British journalist Christiane Amanpour, who has made a name for herself reporting in some of the most dangerous places on Earth, is also a mother. In 2000, she gave the keynote address at the Murrow Awards Ceremony and she had this to say:
Before my son was born I used to joke about looking for bullet-proof Snugglies and Kevlar diapers. I was planning, I told everybody, to take him on the road with me. At the very least I fully expected to keep up my hectic pace, and my passion as a war correspondent. But now, like every working mother, when I think of my son, and having to leave him, and I imagine him fixing those large innocent eyes on me and asking me, Mummy, why are you going to those terrible places? What if they kill you? I wince. I know that I want to say, that it's because I have to, because it matters, because Mummy's going to tell the world about the bad guys and perhaps do a little good.
In a world where moms are told more times than not that we ought to stay in the kitchen, stick close to home, and keep ourselves safe, Amanpour and Logan are doing the opposite. They are purposely going into harm's way to serve a greater good and they are paying dearly.
Any mom who has had a career has to choose at times between her work and her child. It's the way the world is set up. Obviously, Amanpour and Logan are extremes, but the story is the same. We moms are expected to be super human and to do things that no one expects of fathers.
Television journalist Bob Woodruff is a father and no one questioned his decision to be in Iraq when he was critically wounded by a roadside bomb. Anderson Cooper was attacked in Egypt and though he isn't a father, no one mentioned the way he looked or suggested it as the reason he was targeted. The fact is, the pressure on moms -- and women in general -- is far greater than that on men. Men are supposed to be the ones reporting the news, while women need to guard their own safety. The judgment has been so severe, that NPR has been forced to remove comments on their site.
So what gives? Was she wrong to be there? As a mother, I cannot imagine being in her position. I am leaving my children for a trip to Europe soon and it's physically painful to do so. It's hard to imagine being able to do it if I knew I was going into something so dangerous. That is because I am scared. Plain and simple. I am too scared to do what she does and most of us are, in fact.
Fear is paralyzing and if someone doesn't have that holding them back, then more power to them. Logan has courage and strength, and in the end, if bad were to befall her, her son and daughter would know their mother was undaunted by fear, that she was willing to stand up to the naysayers and put her life on the line for the greater good. That isn't stupid. That is brave, so amazingly brave. She is so much braver than most of us, and rather than piling on her, we should be thanking god that there are people like her who are so willing to sacrifice in order to get information to us.
Lara Logan is a hero.
Do you think she was stupid?
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