Monday, May 2, 2011

CBS war correspondent Lara Logan, stripped naked by a mob of crazed men in Egypt's Tahrir Square

Lara Logan put on a happy face at the White House Correspondents dinner on Saturday.

Lara Logan put on a happy face at the White House Correspondents dinner on Saturday.

CBS war correspondent Lara Logan, stripped naked by a mob of crazed men in Egypt's Tahrir Square, was rescued by a woman dressed head to toe in black religious robes.

"Just her eyes, I remember (I could see) just her eyes," Logan told "60 Minutes" in a dramatic and painful interview on Sunday.

"She put her arms around me. And oh my God, I can't tell you what that moment was like for me. I wasn't safe yet, because the mob was still trying to get at me. But now it wasn't just about me anymore.

"It was about their women and that was what saved me, I think. The women kind of closed ranks around me."

Sometimes tearfully, Logan revealed horrifying new details of her gang rape on Feb. 11, when she was covering the surging crowd celebrating the toppling of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

The South African mother of two - a former model turned death-defying combat reporter - said she was nearly scalped as well as stripped, beaten and assaulted by dozens of men.

She said she tried to hold on to her bodyguard, but he was swept away after someone yelled that Logan was an Israeli spy.

"The more I screamed, it turned them into a frenzy," she said.

As her clothes were torn off, she saw the repeated flashing of cell phone cameras.

"I didn't even know that they were beating me with flagpoles and sticks and things," she said. "Because the sexual assault was all I could feel, their hands raping me over and over and over again.

"They were trying to tear off chunks of my scalp . . . not trying to pull out my hair, holding big wads of it literally trying to tear my scalp off my skull."


Logan on February 11, the day she was assaulted by a mob in Eygpt (CBS News).

Logan said she didn't think she would live.

"I was in no doubt in my mind that I was in the process of dying," she said.

But she thought of her two toddlers, at home in Washington, D.C., and decided to stop fighting the sexual assault and concentrate instead on staying alive.

"The only thing to fight for, left to fight for, was my life," she said. "I have to just surrender to the sexual assault. What more can they do now? They're inside you everywhere."

Logan said after about 25 minutes she was dragged to an area where female protesters had been camping during the weeks of demonstrations against Mubarak.

That's when the women saved her, she said. Then Egyptian soldiers fought their way to her with batons.

"I grabbed the first soldier and I did not let him go," she said. "I'm like a wild thing at this point."

CBS Producer Max McClellan said she was as limp as a rag doll and he thought her legs had been broken. "It was like she had been through some sort of grinder," he said.

Logan flew back to Washington where she spent four days in a hospital being treated for cuts, bruises and and internal tearing.

She said seeing her son and daughter again was a revelation - and a guilt trip.

"I felt like I had been given a second chance that I didn't deserve," she said. "I came so close to leaving them, to abandoning them."

Logan told "60 Minutes" that she was speaking out to help end the code of silence surrounding sex assaults on female journalists.

Chicago Tribune reporter Kim Barker wrote in Pro-Publica about keeping quiet about her assault by a Pakistani mob in 2007.

"I would never tell my bosses for fear that they might keep me at home the next time something major happened," Barker wrote.

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