Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Until the Caged Bird Sings

Pic from Bastich blog

My problems with multiculturalism and Islam as it is practiced in the largest hunks of the world it predominates are wonderfully explicated here by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born woman in the Dutch parliament who lives under constant threat of assassination for what she dares to say. Her friend and collaborator in a short film about women's oppression under Islam, Theo Van Gogh, did not survive his opinions.

My arguments for the inferiority of current Islamic culture begin with the failure to use half its population's potential through consideration of them as chattel, through enforced ignorance, and through physical, sexual, social, political, and financial oppression. They spend more time policing religious conformance than developing anything beneficial for themselves, and, as I am also informed, this lack of progress in which they can take pride just makes them more rage-filled. Thanks goodness women are around to catch the blows otherwise how would they vent their righteous spleens? Is it really surprising that meaningful contributions and advancements have not come from those lands and people in centuries?

Children love their mothers. It twists little boys' psyches to learn that the price of manhood is contempt and abuse for the one they loved. It twists girls' psyches to discover their beloved mother will in turn beat them, betray them, and encourage their coerced marriage into similar abuse. A society that kills its women at will, and uses minor transgressions on the part of a family's men as a reason to sanction group rape of its women as the accepted receptacles of punishment and shame is not worth celebrating or preserving. On this point, I admit to being utterly closed-minded. All things are not relatively good. Both in morality and outcomes, some things are better than others.

There are Stockholmed women who claim to feel cherished as they swaddle in the heat like overcooked mummies lest the sight of their kneecaps cause some man adequate justification for rape and assault. They seem to agree that women's beauty is some cruel joke inflicted upon them out of hate by God to make them easier targets. Well, I say let's give them the freedom they say they don't want or need. Let's protect their rights to personal safety, property, and pursuit of happiness. Let's open the cage door wide, give it a minute, and see how many of the lovely budgies will choose to live inside.


April said...

All fundamentalist religions (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, whatever)have the opression of women at their cores. After all, when men can't opress women, they lose about 1/2 their power in their world. The great Gandhi said his wife/women reminded him of a cow or cows.

Fundamentalist christians are just as dangerous as Islamists, IMO. And more-so...the fundie christians are so much more subtle and insidious, in this country.

I'm "glad" we went to war with Iraq so they could install an Islamist government and Sharia law. It'll be pretty funny when America wakes up and realises the women were more free under Saddam than they are under their forced "democracy."

Here's hoping all the pretty birds can escape their cages and sing.

Henway Twingo said...

I believe the Iraqi women at risk for being picked up, at whim, by Uday's rape and torture squads would feel better about the current set up. The democracy isn't forced. Part of how we know that is the number of people (many women) who risked their own safety to vote as well as the fact that the resulting gov't, while democratic, won't resemble ours like a little clone. And its individual characteristics and sovreignty are fine and dandy with me as long as it's what the Iraqis want en masse and doesn't enshrine obvious injustices. I didn't force you to put your opinion here, yet you did. Is it impossible to believe people want to participate in the decisions that shape their lives? I've never believed otherwise.

As to the all religions....just as bad..."fundamentalist" line, I don't think using fundie as a blanket insult means much without discussing what the fundamental tenets of each are. I'm no religious scholar, but I know the faiths differ profoudly. To make the everybody's just as bad argument, one devolves to arguing that any deeply held belief, regardless of what it might be, is inherently destructive to others, and that's too silly to debate.

What I'm looking at is the tendency to widespread religious approval and institutionalization of violence against women and outsiders in modern Islamic nations. With Christianity's concerns for forgiveness and conversions, they'd rather save a soul than kill it- look at the activism against the death penalty. Also, though many Protestants think Catholics are going to Hell for idolatry, still we avoid bloody clashes of pompadours and cassocks in the street. There aren't forced clitoredectomies in Judaism. Where are the stonings and tongue and hand-cuttings from the modern pagans? Not even the Confucians have religious police tracking compliance and reporting lapses in faith to the government. The Buddhists, who've been horribly mistreated as a people, themselves butchered and tortured, aren't strapping bombs on to exact revenge.

Postmodern multiculturalism, itself ashamed to believe in anything concrete except the warm-fuzzy equality of every notion and practice no matter how stupid or pernicious, has this deficiency of logic to deal with in its own religion.

April said...

Buddhist extremists do exist, though they appear to be scarce, and they do kill people, and/or burn down churches. Makes one long for the old days when they'd just sit down in the town square and quietly immolate themselves.


The stated goal of some evangelical Christian groups is that America become a Theocracy, and they, a version of the Taliban, with the country using the Old Testament of the Bible as a basis for all laws,
Which includes such niceties as stoning women (but not the men)to death for adultery, execution of homosexuals and heretics, enslaving your neighbors, killing someone if they work on the Sabbath, or your children if they talk back, etc., etc. The old Testament is full of this killing and brutality. These nutbags call themselves “Dominionists.”



An old, but good article here:


A religious extremist nutbag is a nutbag is a nutbag. They are all very dangerous. Some of them work quietly to appoint other nutbags to the bench, some strap on bombs, some burn churches, some spit at or assault women whose dresses don’t cover their kneecaps, some consider menstruating women to be unclean, some kill doctors who provide abortions, some of them blow up office buildings, some of them fly planes into them. They all cause immense carnage.. physical, moral, mental and financial.

I still stand by my statement that fundamentalism of any stripe has the oppression of women at its core. You can’t do much damage if the women are against your jihad, so they just make it so that a mule has more rights. I cannot stand religious extremists of any kind, and I’m deeply suspicious of fundies…..fundamentalists and extremists being two different creatures, of course.