Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Two Women

The Washington Post calls Hirsi Ali popular among middle-aged conservative white men but anathema to Muslim women who should be her "core audience" while the Times of London has a guest editorial entitled "How my eyes were opened to the barbarity of Islam" from professor Phyllis Chester, who lived as an Afghan bride to a Muslim husband. It paints a grim picture of the life of persons who should be the unresponsive "core audience" of Hirsi Ali. What is the truth about women and Islam?


Commentary

The answer, I believe is "more complicated than we think". Whatever else Islam may be, it is a religion with a huge number of adherents spanning every clime, culture and socio-economic category. Many people can probably recall Muslims who they would count as their best friends. Bluff, hearty, happy. Dignified. And the same people will remember Muslims who were the scum of the earth. So it is quite probable that as many women love Islam as hate it. Probably it depends on who you ask.

One commenter who challenged Phyllis Chester's article derided Western civilization as a drug-mad, sex-obsessed materialistic culture. Doubtless he would be right about some people, especially if as he is likely to have done, he hangs around with Leftists and liberals.

My guess is that we are all of us refugees from some aspect of our own culture. The Western Left and Right both love and hate different aspects of the same civilization. The Washington Post can note with irony how Hirsi Ali's message may fall flat before ordinary Muslim women but I wonder whether it would have the same take on Noam Chomsky's reception before a hypothetical Rotary Club meeting in Keene, New Hampshire. What would either prove? Probably nothing.

But where the comparison breaks down is that Noam Chomsky is free to walk the streets and get rich without hindrance, whereas Hirsi Ali can go nowhere without a bodyguard and that her collaborator, Theo Van Gogh was used as a tackboard to post a message to Hirsi Ali, with a knife through van Gogh's heart replacing the tack. That incident, properly construed, should have been a notice not so much to Hirsi Ali, whom you may judge as you like, but to Islam itself. Whose side are you on? And the question was addressed not only to Hirsi Ali but to Islam.

33 Comments:

Blogger Mike H. said...

I'm reminded of another older woman who, after having been given to some African shamans as a child, was offered her freedom along with the rest of her cohorts. She declined because she had learned how to comfortably exist in her state and would have experienced confusion and terror as a free woman. The young women would be Hirsi Ali's audience, the older ones have been lost.

3/07/2007 07:36:00 PM  
Blogger allen said...

While CPAC was up northeast, planning the action of the conservative wing of the Republican Party, many courageous secular Muslims converged in Florida to attend the 2007 Secular Islam Summit. Unlike the CPAC grew, for whom Ann Coulter might pose some psychological risk, the participants of the 2007 Secular Islam Summit do so with real risk of attack and injury by disgruntled fellow Muslims. Moreover, family and friends not in attendance risk, nonetheless, the same levels of violence and intimidation.

All this said, the international participants to the 2007 Secular Islamic Summit have learned hard won lessons, which it would behoove the West to hear: loud, clear, and unfiltered by an entourage of quasi-government handlers. Any number of these lessons might find some useful application in the recently launched Iraqi Surge.

Live Blogging From the 2007 Secular Islam Summit

Link

3/07/2007 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger dla said...

A good movie is "Not without my daughter" starring Sally Fields. It gives a pretty accurate description of how Islam treats women.

Westerners are usually quite shocked when they see how Muslim women must live.

3/07/2007 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Towering Barbarian said...

Wretchard,
The question of what Max Weber would call "legitimacy" that you bring up is an important one as is the inate (and often justified!) human fear of what change might bring that Mike H. reminds us of. But there is also a third point to consider and that is related to the facts that it was never hard for Plantation owners to get public praise of slavery out of slaves within reach of their whip to confound the Abolitionists with nor ever hard for Communist regimes to get 95% votes for their government in "democratic" elections: That which people will say or listen to within the earshot of their masters is quite different from what they will say to themselves. And basic survival in those conditions favors those slaves who overestimate the eavesdropping abilities of their masters.

The possibility that the Washington Post has got it wrong, either in part or in full, should not be overlooked. Meme conflicts are as subject to the "Fog of War" as any other variety.

3/07/2007 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I think many (most?) Muslim women have simply not known or understood that there was another way to live. After all, they've been told for ever and ever that "it's in the Koran", and have never known another existance, nor the possibility that there could even *be* another existance.

Satellite dishes and American movies into these backwards countries have been eye-opening experiences. As have female soldiers fighting alongside and equally with men in Western armies, which have handily kicked the butts of all-male Muslim defenders.

The religious cops in Saudi Arabia are having pretty much daily fights to maintain their perogatives, and all Arab news outlets are continuously featuring stories now about "women's rights" ... even if they're not quite sure yet what those rights should actually consist of.

The educated males of Muslim countries must surely be feeling the pangs of humiliation at the scorn being heaped upon their heads for being barbarians. And educated or uneducated, the females in these countries can now see with their own veiled eyes that life for a woman does not HAVE to consist of being raped, beaten, subjugated, kept ignorant and used as a brood mare.

Some women, of course, don't mind being brood mares, and they will fight to the death their right to continue the life of a tended-to pet. There are also a lot of women on the other hand who *do* want a better and different life, if not for themselves, at least for their daughters.

This is one avalanche that once it's started, won't be held back. And I think this one has a pretty good head of speed already built up, and at least part of that is due to the role models American and British female soldiers are providing in these heathen countries.

3/07/2007 10:46:00 PM  
Blogger Das said...

I live in a south Seattle neighborhood where Muslim women in full burkha can be seen on every block. Their clothing informs their fellow citizens "I am a Muslim." So they enter the common weal with a religous declaration first and foremost. Nothing wrong with that; a bit over the top perhaps but, still Americans do honor religious freedom. So far so good.

Would an enthusiastic Christian then be in his rights to try to convert bespoke dressed Muslim woman? Standing in the grocery line at Safeway: have you considered taking Jesus Chris into your heart? or What if one of the south Seattle evangelical congregations, fueled on the Holy Ghost, decided to embark on a targeted "witnessing" campaign to try to convert these women to the word of Christ? Why not? Once introduced into the public sphere all religions are pretty much up for grabs, right? Ah, but here is where it would get interesting. Muslim leadership would complain that this is harassment - or cultural harassment. Indignant Seattle liberals would chime in, yes this is downright cultural genocide (hey, this is Seattle after all).

In my imagined scenario I am trying to suggest that the intellectual left is permitting itself to opt out of any real analysis of modern Islam by declaring it a cultural issue. Culture, we all know, for the left, is inviolate and beyond critique.

Don't expect anything like real thought about Islam in America from our leftoid media establishment. They would have to surrender the condescending snicker sitting across from a valiant woman like Hirsi Ali.

3/07/2007 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger j willie said...

Well said, Das.

3/07/2007 11:50:00 PM  
Blogger Cedarford said...

Nahncee - Satellite dishes and American movies into these backwards countries have been eye-opening experiences. As have female soldiers fighting alongside and equally with men in Western armies, which have handily kicked the butts of all-male Muslim defenders.

I - Muslims generally find Western media full of purient filth, keeping in mind their religious beliefs and culture more aligns with Hollywood critic Joe Lieberman than with Paris Hilton. This was one of the reasons why bin Laden and others signed their 1998 Fatwah - the trash on Western media is coming in and degrading their culture. There is no reason to doubt the women agree.
Many, like the insipid Laura Bush, have this belief their are 100s of millions of Muslim females just waiting to "shed their Burquas" once America comes "to liberate them", or they get more MTV or violent movies...
Basically, it's 2001 era nonsense spouted by people that has no clue of Islamic culture.

II - Hate to spring it on you, but USA females do not "fight alongside and equally with men".

There have been 3200 soldiers killed in Iraq. 8 were female.

Of the 8, six were rear echelon types who just happened to be in the wrong vehicle when some kid paid 100 bucks pushed the "IED detonation switch".

Even if women were the "full military equals of men" as the media and feminists like to pretend them to be, why would that be attractive to Muslim women who have been the way they are for 1400 years? I fail to see how being shot at and blown up would have anymore Muslim women lining up for that opportunity than joining the line to become whores in Kolkuta, blubber chewers in Eskimo land, or African woman beasts of burden. The "inspiration level" seems lacking.

Back in the days of complete ignorance about Islam, many "Go Girls" fans thought the Taliban would be absolutely thunderstruck and demoralized that a female pilot could be above them, pushing a button in perfect safety, to kill them. But when asked, they said it was not particularly honorable, and stupid to boot, because such American women were childless or made very few new warriors - while their women had scads of future Jihadis, ensuring that the infidel would never defeat them.....

3/08/2007 12:17:00 AM  
Blogger summignumi said...

Of all the intelligence well worded in this blog and its annunciation for truth it is seemingly profound to see the falsehood so cavalierly accepted that Islam is a religion and not spoken of for the truth of what it is! A cult, a gang or best yet a criminal enterprise (MAFIA? And maybe Clinton understood Islam better then most want to believe, thou his handling is/was all wrong) How can any that has researched the history and its cult founder say that Islam is a worshiper of god? At best it worships greed and murder, the only peace that is called on is a call to peace among thieves but not their pray. Islam’s spread is its deep down primal instincts draw of the Human male animal, the “law of the jungle” life style. Muslims can be saved but until the indoctrination cycle is broke and their children are not taught from birth to death to kill none believers it will never happen! The fact of what the “Taliban would be absolutely thunderstruck and demoralized that a female pilot could be above them, pushing a button in perfect safety, to kill them. But when asked, they said it was not particularly honorable, and stupid to boot, because such American women were childless or made very few new warriors” is true, just look at Europe and read how many 19th and 20th century countries have changed from non-Muslim to Muslim and the whole picture is clear, murder as many living non Muslim and then rape, enslave and convert their woman and children while out breeding the non converted.

3/08/2007 01:18:00 AM  
Blogger Anointiata Delenda Est said...

Commenters,

We over intellectualise.

What is the truth about women and Islam?

Stick to Anglo Saxon four-letter words.

They're fucked.

ADE

3/08/2007 03:23:00 AM  
Blogger patrick neid said...

we'll all be dead if we think islam will reform itself enough to live in the 21st century. they have been at this death cult for 1400 years. we are the rookies here. even today, with all the info available, millions convert to this pathetic excuse for a religion. muslims love being muslims. even a casual review of the koran and attendant traditions gives its adherents all the excuses they need to live dreams of grandeur at the expense of dhimmis and infidels everywhere. they long for sharia. nothing and i mean nothing we have to offer is viewed as being worthwhile. the koran expressly forbids practicing muslims from adopting anything from the infidels--even friendships. we are the unclean. to reform islam is to kill its very basis for existence.

this civilization war has been going on since 600AD in fits and starts. they usually don't end in compromise--they end in one disappearing. right now i think it is we who are going to disappear.

3/08/2007 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger The Wobbly Guy said...

Patrick-Do not worry. There's a billion indians(majority hindu) and a billion chinese who would be pretty pissed off once Islam starts gunning for them.

Hopefully though, the West won't fall in the first place.

3/08/2007 09:00:00 AM  
Blogger Darren Duvall said...

"But when asked, they said it was not particularly honorable, and stupid to boot, because such American women were childless or made very few new warriors - while their women had scads of future Jihadis, ensuring that the infidel would never defeat them....."

One lady like this might cause them to reassess their position.

Medieval concepts of personal honor and birth rates are fine as far as they go, but until the Islamists' Science Directorate perfects "cluster preganacies" delivering dozens of baby jihadis at once from a single mother, I'll put my money on cluster munitions.

3/08/2007 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Cedarford

Even if women were the "full military equals of men" as the media and feminists like to pretend them to be, why would that be attractive to Muslim women who have been the way they are for 1400 years? I fail to see how being shot at and blown up would have anymore Muslim women lining up for that opportunity than joining the line to become whores in Kolkuta, blubber chewers in Eskimo land, or African woman beasts of burden. The "inspiration level" seems lacking.

The women of the US/British military get to order around Iraqi men, tell them what to do and be obeyed. As for being shot at and blown up, there have been a few more than 8 Iraqi women killed since the invasion - there have been more than 3200 Iraqi women killed since the invasion. To be safer with more power would be rational inspirations.

3/08/2007 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3/08/2007 06:48:00 PM  
Blogger Robert said...


Phyllis Chesler (not Chester) wrote Women and Madness in the early 1970s
. She was one of the writers who defined feminism. The book held that psychiatrists used their art to control women who refused to fit into the patriarchy. It was a big hit and made her a feminist icon, like Susan Brownmiller, the rape theorist, and Gloria Steinem, first editor of Ms Magazine.

I don't think her backstory was well known then. After 9/11 she went one way and the rest of the Upper West Side Leftist Intellectuals went the other. Clearly her early experience with Islam made a difference.

Unfortunately, leftists are chronically unable to learn from the experiences of others. For reasons I do not understand, theory seems to overwhelm fact, and they seem to be unable to assimilate any fact that does not confirm their theory.

3/08/2007 06:52:00 PM  
Blogger Snake Oil Baron said...

we'll all be dead if we think islam will reform itself enough to live in the 21st century.

True, but we do not need to see the reform of Islam, just the Islamic world.

Shouldn't be too hard. Maybe I will do that next month.

3/08/2007 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger maryatexitzero said...

Even if women were the "full military equals of men" as the media and feminists like to pretend them to be, why would that be attractive to Muslim women who have been the way they are for 1400 years?

Afghanistan and much of the Muslim world went through a period of modernization in the early 20th century. Women weren't required to wear the veil, they were liberated in the style of the times - they wore skirts, pants, bikinis. The silly drunken housewife was a staple of Egyptian comedy in the '40s and '50s.

Many Arabs blame the influence of 'desert arab' (wahhabi) money for turning back the clock and forcing women to 'dress like nuns', but some women, especially in the poorer areas, preferred to wear sacks. If everyone has to wear a burkha, no one can see how shabby your clothes are. 'Conservative' muslim women have no power in the outside world, but women who enforce 'piety' in the home are often allowed to be very domineering.

Change and innovation are unappealling to much of the Muslim world, which is why much of it hasn't really changed in the past 1400 years. It doesn't want to reform - fighting terrorism military or economically is a much more practical solution than trying to 'reform' this static religion.

Of course, Phyllis Chesler and Hirsi Ali's message helps us appreciate our culture, which is something we need to do.

3/09/2007 07:25:00 AM  
Blogger RegretLeft said...

Cederford:

No - icasualties.org today shows 76 female fatalities among US forces in Iraq - causes not too different than male fatalies, tho almost no "small arms fire" among females.

Recall also, the first Silver Star for combat valor awarded to a female in Iraq - first since WWII -

3/09/2007 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Kaptaan said...

Wobbyly guy, Indians and chinese don't live in a vacuum. if westerners are converting, don't you think indians and chinese are likely to cnovert as well? where do you think all those indian muslims came from? they aren't all mughal offspring or converts of the sword...

3/09/2007 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Kaptaan said...

the indian elite is a dangerous animal, ready to sell out the people to ensure their own survival, as they did in times past under the tugluks, mughals, ghaznavids, etc... while i have no doubt that the chinese communists will also do anything to stay in power, i'm sure a sham conversion would be just as okay for them as the capitalism they are practicing today in china.

3/09/2007 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Wheeler's said...

morons.
you middle-aged white men need to understand that Hirsi Ali's experience to is EXACTLY as relevent to Islam as those poor teenaged girls recently forced into plural marriage is to Mormonism.
we are on any other side than Ali's.
you think of her as whistleblower.
we see her for what she is.
just another member of the angry estrogen posse.
the most important thing you need to get thru your thick thick middleaged white guy skulls, is that it is NONE OF YOUR FREAKING BUSINESS.
ntm, ur hysteric endless criticism is profoundly unhelpful.
step on, we'll handle it ourselves, shukran very much.

3/13/2007 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger Wheeler's said...

btw, i am ABSOLUTELY sure that maryatexitstupid is a middleaged white guy in drag.
As one cat said said to another, wretch, your commenters make me want to hurl.

3/13/2007 01:28:00 PM  
Blogger Wheeler's said...

Whose side are you on? And the question was addressed not only to Hirsi Ali but to Islam.

and step off my religion.
if not because it is the right thing to do, then because your position that Islam is teh Satan!!!!!!!!! is exactly as futile as Sir Richards position that Religion is teh Satan!!!!
when has anyone ever converted upon being told that their religion is the shits? one more time, because i have always respected you.
THE PROBLEM IS IN THE WIRING
its a homosapiens thing.

3/13/2007 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Wheeler's said...

and mike h.
im a young woman and i think hirsi ali sux.
she had a bad experience, sho, but her Islam is nothing like mine.
she is irrelevent to us, dont u get it? like the teenagers' coherced into plural marriage with, yes, a buncha middleaged white guyz vituperative frothings against mormonism would be irrelvent to practicing mormons.
she is being paid sixfigures by AEI to tell u morons bad stuff about al-Islam that u want desperately to hear.
she is using a bad personal experience to define an entire religion.
We muslimahs dont want to hear it.

3/13/2007 03:56:00 PM  
Blogger maryatexitzero said...

she is irrelevent to us, dont u get it? like the teenagers' coherced into plural marriage with, yes, a buncha middleaged white guyz vituperative frothings against mormonism would be irrelvent to practicing mormons.
she is being paid sixfigures by AEI to tell u morons bad stuff about al-Islam that u want desperately to hear.
she is using a bad personal experience to define an entire religion.
We muslimahs dont want to hear it.


We like Hirsi Ali because she appreciates our culture more than we do. We need to hear that kind of thing, it helps us unite against the barbarians at the gate.

The proletarian masses of muslimahs are irrelevant to us. We don't care what you think because we have no reason to do so. Deal with it.

..of course your opinion might have relevance if you learned how to spell.

3/13/2007 05:44:00 PM  
Blogger maryatexitzero said...

btw, i am ABSOLUTELY sure that maryatexitstupid is a middleaged white guy in drag

hi matoko. love you too..

3/13/2007 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger maryatexitzero said...

"Wheeler's", if you're interested, here's an interesting and relevant Muslim voice.

Unlike "Wheelers/matoko", he knows how to write.

3/13/2007 07:29:00 PM  
Blogger Wheeler's said...

maryatexitstupid:
more of your moving target bullshit i see.
i was answering wretch's question, moron.

lol at ur link....yet another apostate flogging a book.
hilarious.
btw, i couldnt respond to ur lies after Dean banned me.....but u r a LIAR when u say i think Islam is the problem.....i have said a thousand times THAT RELIGI0N IS THE PR0BLEM.
Are u deaf or just profoundly deficient in reading skillz?

3/14/2007 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Wheeler's said...

and i dont luv u.
we've been over this before.
perhaps i'll send a burn ur way from the ghost blog.
u almost make me feel like writing again.

listen to urself, triumphalist bigot.
We like Hirsi Ali because she appreciates our culture more than we do. We need to hear that kind of thing, it helps us unite against the barbarians at the gate.

The proletarian masses of muslimahs are irrelevant to us. We don't care what you think


u r alienating the ppl u should be courting as ur allies in the WoT.
S0P for white middleaged guy morons like u.

3/14/2007 09:14:00 AM  
Blogger Wheeler's said...

u know mare, u just nailed it.
Ali is profoundly irrelevent to what should be her "core audience", young muslimahs.
She is truly relevent only to triumphalist bigots and middleaged white guyz like u and spencer.
to quote u, "we like Hirsi Ali bcuz"...
=)
lol

3/14/2007 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Wheeler's said...

to us, Ali, Darwish, Sultan and their ilk are just angry chicks bashing all of al-Islam for bad personal experiences and pimping their book contracts.

so wretch, the answer is 0UR SIDE, the side of the pious middle.
which does not include the angry estrogen posse and triumphalist bigots like maryatexitstupid.

3/14/2007 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Wheeler's said...

final note
the "scolding" attitude u promote here is emblematic of the whole fubar situ in Iraq.
granted, the goals were noble enuff....but the approach is informed with the same monstrous obscene hubris that western culture is oh so superior to primitive savage islamic culture.
Islam is a CSS, a culturally stable strategy. democracy is very weakly transformative against ANY religion, possibly because religion is hardwired and politics is not.
the west doesnt even see how infused with colonist superiority it is.

sv this whole experiment will fail iserably.
sry.

3/15/2007 06:19:00 AM  

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