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Lesson on the meaning of Civil Disobedience, as Poster Girl Mona Eltahawy leaves Jail

Mona Eltahawy leaves JailOne of the reasons that the term ‘poster girl’ has come into fashion is the appearance of Mona Eltahawy, a writer with the Guardian who spray-painted a NYC subway advertisement that depicted Semite views that Muslims are savages.

One may be asking who could ever have let the advertisements see the light of the day or rather murky light of a subway station but the fact is that the organizers, who incidentally have the word Freedom in their title had just won a legal right to do that. That is why Mona, an Egyptian-American sympathizer went one day, disfigured the writings on the wall, and in the act soiled the clothes of another woman who confronted her.

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Her rash action, according to her, was to express her rights in a climate of civil disobedience. However, after her booking that same day, she got charges of graffiti and disorderly misdemeanor, which may not have any association with civil disobedience.

Some analysts have said that for her act to qualify as such, she may have as well taken her own poster and pasted it next to the other without inflicting any disfigurement on it.

Moving on with the story, news are out Mona has finally got out of cell after almost an entire day and night in there. Though she is expected to make an appearance on the final day of November, she has already given signs that her protracted stay there was a violation. This sparked one newsman to describe her comments as almost too exaggerated to quantify her stay to the same standards as the twenty-plus years that Nelson Mandela stayed on Robben Island.

Echoes of her spirited fight against name-calling of religion by liberal groupings have already appeared in the guise of the almost unanimous agreement by the subway officials to stop the pasting of further such adverts. The reason for this is that they think it might end up causing more civil disobedience confusion than the actual term implies.

If a band of citizens convene into a place and starts demanding for a certain change, peacefully, then that term is applicable. But when physical violence against a non-entity takes place, then that amounts to hooliganism. This perhaps explains why, other than Mona, four other protesters who, in certain quarters barred the defamatory adverts in person for several times during the day also got bookings.

There are many other groups, other than the metropolitan subway staff, that have been smitten by this recent incident by the world-famous journalist. These include passenger coaches that are discouraging any use of posters on their hulls other than those that strictly relate to business.

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